Jewish World Review July 10, 2002 / 1 Menachem-Av, 5762
Rosie takes a shine to Republicans
Rosie O'Donnell recently told an audience she's feeling the heat for fighting to legalize homosexual adoption in Florida. She referred to a medical association's decision to uninvite her to speak at its convention. "They were afraid of protesters," O'Donnell told her audience. "I'm not used to being considered controversial."
Surely, she jests. The comic and erstwhile talk-show diva has hardly built a tidy show-biz empire on the retiring-violet routine. Even as O'Donnell has joined a campaign to push family law and cultural boundaries to include Florida among the 47 states that have legalized homosexual adoption, it's also true that her political outlook is no longer completely locked on magnetic Left. And that, in the end, may bring her even more controversy.
O'Donnell made headlines recently for "coming out" as a lesbian, but more noteworthy were the revelations she made this spring on "The O'Reilly Factor." There, she described the impact Sept. 11 has had on her thinking. "I would say that I have had a blind allegiance to Democrats in the past," she said, explaining her pre-Sept 11 agenda as being "if you were a Democrat you were probably right, and if you were a Republican you were probably wrong." Elaborating, she added: "If you would have told me on September 9 that I would have been at the World Series filming George Bush throwing out the first pitch with my 6-year-old son, crying, I never would have believed you, but I was."
The shift she describes may be more emotional than ideological, but it remains unique on the Hollywood Left of the Streisands and the Spielbergs, which is where the chat-show celebrity has traditionally made a political home. Take her new regard for Rudy Giuliani. Like most New York Democrats, as she put is, she considered him a fascist. "And that's a very strong word," she adds. "After the 11th, ... I have found a tremendous solace and strength in him and his leadership, and I have looked to him as a child would a father, and it astounded me." It's not surprising to hear her sum up her politics this way: "Every time you've heard me speak about anything politically, it's as a mother."
Mothers, of course, are a moral force to reckon with. Describing the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal as having offended her "terrifically," O'Donnell said it also "profoundly changed my die-hard Democratic stance." Her attitudes toward Hillary Clinton remain more, as they say, conflicted. She agreed with Bill O'Reilly's assessment that Mrs. Clinton's "ambition and her lust for power overrode her dignity"; denied the host's declaration that the New York senator is "not a truthful person"; and pleaded ignorance to a rundown of the record (abridged) against Mrs. Clinton's claim on veracity. Still, her indignation over Bill Clinton's behavior burns. Last month, she even incorporated the former president into her first stand-up gig since shutting down the talk show.
"This is how weird the guy is," the New York Daily News reports O'Donnell telling a resort crowd in Connecticut where Mr. Clinton had been honored by the Mohegan tribe. "He's here last night, and his security guy comes over and says, `Bill Clinton would like to speak with you.' I said, `I'm real busy.' Because I don't want to speak with him. If I [did], I'd say, `You really p---ed me off. Because you said to my face, `I did not have sex with that woman.' She's 22 years old. You put the scarlet letter on her soul for the rest of her life. And you want to make nice?"
It's blunt, it's extremely crude, but the passion is refreshing. "I know that if you're a Democrat," she continued, "you're not supposed to say bad things about Democrats -- like in the Catholic Church? Well, telling the truth is better." She's right.
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JWR contributor Diana West is a columnist and editorial writer for the Washington Times. Comment by clicking here.
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© 2001, Diana West