The Clintons are the gift that keeps on giving, but only in small ways these days. He and She are always out there, grabbing a few column inches on page 1 or page 3, jostling lesser beings out of the line-of-sight between the lens and their mugs. It’s all small, incremental stuff now, gradually removing the liberal tarnish from her moderate pose in preparation for the ‘08 campaign. Much rarer, and consequently much more treasured, is the return of an old gift — or in this case, an old affliction — after a very long time. Jane Fonda’s return to politics opens too many old wounds.
Seems like just yesterday when she posed on a North Vietnamese anti-aircraft gun, looking so serious, so concerned and so sensitive as the NVA jollied her along on her first “Damn the U.S. Fighting Man” tour. Was it just before — no, as I remember it was a bit after — that she and the recently-returned-from-Paris Vichy John Kerry were pitching a fit back here. She’d disappeared after she gained her wish: we withdrew from Vietnam, leaving our allies to be murdered, and the rest of Southeast Asia to come under the sway of those such as Pol Pot. She kinda sorta apologized for her trip to North Vietnam, but the enormity of what she and her ilk — including Sen. Kerry — caused in that part of the world is beyond her ken.
Now, the worst has happened. Or is it the best? It may have been inevitable, but now it’s true: Hanoi Jane is launching the most awful comeback since Burt Reynolds decided to play Boss Hogg. And where once stood the svelte Hanoi Jane, we shall now gaze upon the nipped-and-tucked Baghdad Barbarella.
According to the press coverage yesterday, Baghdad Barbarella is going on a cross-country bus tour next March to call for withdrawal — i.e., retreat — from Iraq. She of course claims to be responding to the calls for action she’s heard from Iraq vets on her current book tour (no, she couldn’t be doing this just to hawk a book, could she?) and promises that vets will accompany her on the tour. Too bad her bus tour won’t reprise the North Vietnam trip. If she visited the terrorist camps in Syria, she’d surely be welcomed. It would be an event worth targeting, er, covering.
It’s perfectly wonderful that she should choose to do this in the early part of a campaign year. How many congressmen and senators will be eager to step up to her microphone and chant, “Hey, hey Dick Chay-nay, how many kids have you killed today” or “Hell no, we won’t go” with BB? Other than Dennis Kucinich and Cynthia McKinney, there’s nary a one who will cock an arm to pitch someone else’s medals over the Capitol fence. Not even John Kerry will do that this time. I’d bet even Howlin’ Howie won’t give her a shout.
Republicans can make this a wonderful campaign tool if they have the stomach for it. How many R’s will take the microphone in a debate, and demand their opponent join them in condemning Fonda? How many new campaign ads for 2008 will come out of the bus tour? (Note to Messrs. Mehlman and Rove: this time, youse guys have surpassed yourselves. I always suspected that Kerry was taking your shilling, but to get Fonda back in the game you must have come up with an offer she couldn’t refuse, such as a lifetime supply of Botox. Geniuses, both of you.)
And for Mizz Fonda, how much fun will she have when she’s met by a picket line of Vietnam Vets — joined by Afghanistan and Iraq vets — everywhere she goes? You’ll see them everywhere: walking on canes, in wheel chairs, on their feet by the hundreds and thousands. Fonda is a symbol of everything that was wrong with America in the 1960s. Self-absorbed, fearful, convinced America is an evil influence on the world and consequently eager to help defeat America, she and those who marched with her lost a war that should have been won, and could have.
We lost Vietnam, but losing it didn’t cost us our way of life. We suffered, or at least those who served and the families of those who didn’t come back did. But America recovered and became itself again. There’s a difference today: if we lose this war — in Iraq or anywhere else — we lose America. Fonda will have little effect on this war. In fact, the only thing she will accomplish is to bring another round of scorn upon herself. It will be both awful and an awful lot of fun to watch her latest anti-American campaign unfold. We should hang on her every word, because each will be one more round in our ammo box to be fired back at the Kerrys and Kennedys, Deans and Durbins and Clintons who want to pretend they can be trusted with our nation’s security. Fonda will be the albatross hanging around every Democratic neck in 2006 and, I pray, in 2008.
The only thing that could possibly be better than this is to find that she’s run off with Dick Durbin.
TAS contributing editor Jed Babbin is the author of Inside the Asylum: Why the UN and Old Europe Are Worse Than You Think (Regnery, 2004).
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