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Tea Partiers, Hawks and Jane Fonda

Tea Partiers, Hawks and Jane Fonda
In our military community, few Americans have been hated as passionately and for as long as Jane Fonda. During the Vietnam War, the actress traveled to communist North Vietnam and criticized U.S. troops. Many veterans never forgave her. To them, she's a Hollywood liberal who gave aid and comfort to the enemy.

The war ended long ago but the jeering of "Hanoi Jane" didn't. The Daily News still receives letters saying she should've been tried for treason (July 2008), should be expelled from the country (November 2009) and is one of America's "most hideously despised individuals" (November 2012).

So it was interesting last week when John McCain came to her defense.

Yes, that John McCain. Republican senator from Arizona. Former Republican presidential candidate. Former prisoner of war.

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, a tea party favorite, had filibustered President Obama's pick for CIA chief, demanding that the administration explain its drone program.
During his 13-hour talkfest, Paul suggested that if U.S. officials had thought like Obama during Vietnam, they would've fired missiles at Fonda.

McCain pounced.

"I must say that ... she is not my favorite American, but I also believe that, as odious as it was, Ms. Fonda acted within her constitutional rights," he said. He dismissed the idea that she would qualify as an enemy combatant.

The McCain-Paul dust-up highlighted an ideological split within the GOP. Libertarian-leaning tea partiers favor defense cuts and are leery of using drones to hunt terror suspects. More hawkish Republicans, such as Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, see things differently.

"People are astonished that President Obama is doing many of the things that President Bush did," Graham said. "I'm not astonished. I congratulate him for having the good judgment to understand we're at war. And to my party, I'm a bit disappointed that you no longer apparently think we're at war."

Republicans have long been known as the go-to guys for national defense. Such infighting spells only trouble for the GOP.




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Newspaper ContributorsUpdated 17 Apr 2014
Jackie Gingrich Cushman
Jackie Gingrich CushmanUpdated 17 Apr 2014
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