No R-E-S-P-E-C-T for R-E-N-O as Songstress
Late last week, former Attorney General Janet Reno took the stage at a Miami fundraiser for the Human Services Coalition, where she sang Aretha Franklin's 1967 hit, "Respect." And the results, dear readers, weren't pretty.
Watch the video -- if you dare. Seeing our nation's former top law enforcement official flap her forearms out of time, while listening to her croak out lyrics like "What you need, baby I got it," is the karaoke equivalent of Waco.
Looking back on her time in the Clinton Administration, you couldn't help but admire Janet Reno as Attorney General. Regardless of what you thought of her handling of Waco or Elian Gonzalez, you had to admit: that woman was bad-ass. With her Amazonian proportions and high-powered resume, Janet Reno was a force to be reckoned with -- as David Koresh learned the hard way.
And being a bad-ass is perhaps the most important trait for an AG to possess. Alberto Gonzales may be torturing detainees left and right, in between eavesdropping on our conversations with the Home Shopping Network; but no one would ever describe that roly-poly Latino as "bad-ass."
So this video footage of Janet Reno mangling "Respect" pains us on a non-auditory level as well: it shatters our image of the former AG as bad-ass. We would have expected Janet to belt this soul classic out of the park. Instead, she offers up a vocal performance worthy of an American Idol audition outtake.
It's a sad day in politics, fellow Reno-gades.
Update: We are aware that Janet Reno suffers from Parkinson's Disease, and we did not intend to make light of her illness. Nevertheless, it was her decision to take the stage (as well as to move her arms about, instead of simply holding the microphone).
Of course, Reno's willingness to sing karaoke in public despite her illness can be cited as evidence of her continued toughness. In the words of one reader, "The woman still is bad ass. It's just sad that her shows of courage are limited to shows of karaoke. So welcome to Washington."