Monday, March 20, 2006

The ladies of the left may not agree with one another these days.

Susan Sarandon, longtime liberal maven and in talks to play peace activist Cindy Sheehan in a film, is irked by another liberal maven: Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton. The Hollywood actress doesn’t think the New York Democrat lives up to her expectations.

“I find Hillary Clinton to be a great disappointment,” Miss Sarandon told More magazine, for publication today.

“She seems to be a very bright woman. I’ve met her. But she’s lost her progressive following because of her caution and centrist approach. It bothers me when she voted for the war,” Miss Sarandon said.

Indeed, Mrs. Clinton voted in 2002 to authorize the Iraq war and is a member of the Senate Armed Forces Committee. The former first lady defended her vote in November, calling upon the U.S. to “finish what it started.” At times, Mrs. Clinton has categorized abortion as “tragic” and took a hard line against illegal immigration — all episodes in her ideological progress from far left to center, a transformation many political observers say is an effort to appear more presidential by 2008.

“We thought of her with Barbra Streisand, Barbara Boxer, Rob Reiner, Charles Schumer, even. Now I see her on a drift to the center,” MSNBC’s Chris Matthews noted last year.

Columnist Robert Novak also suggested that Mrs. Clinton had lost support of Hollywood glitterati because “they don’t particularly like what they’ve seen,” suggesting their attention had been drawn to former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner and Sen. Evan Bayh, Indiana Democrat.

Miss Sarandon considers Mrs. Clinton’s support for the war a damning decision.

“There were brave people who didn’t [vote]. She’s not worse than other politicians, but I hoped she would be better,” Miss Sarandon said. “What America is looking for is authentic people who want to go into public service because they believe strongly in something, not people who are trying to get elected.”

The actress has some company. George Clooney joined the anti-Clinton chorus three months ago, telling the Times of London that he was “frustrated and disappointed” with Mrs. Clinton’s newfound hawkishness. Peace activist Mrs. Sheehan also turned on Mrs. Clinton, publicly deeming her a “pro-war Democrat.”

Longtime Clinton administration ally Molly Ivins also blasted the senator in a January column.

Mrs. Sheehan, in the meantime, has appeared in recent peace rallies in Germany, the District, New Orleans and New York. She will breakfast in Manhattan with Miss Sarandon this week and appear in a Sundance Channel reality show, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. Her memoirs will be published in September.

Some of the film industry’s love for Mrs. Clinton may be migrating to outspoken environmentalist and Bush critic Al Gore. For example, an arm of Paramount Pictures has agreed to distribute in May the film version of his newest book, “An Inconvenient Truth,” in which the former vice president warns of the hazards of global warming.

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