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Rosie O'Donnell: Bully, Suck, Sore Loser

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rosie v  elisselbeck.JPGUnbelievable. Rosie O'Donnell actually quit The View, three weeks before her contract was up, like a big, blubbery baby. Seriously.

There are huge ironies here, but the first one that struck us was that she left after her showdown with Elisabeth Hasselbeck, aka the "Poor Little Elisabeth" O'Donnell claimed to have been forced to go easy on lest she be perceived as a bully.

Except, of course, that that is exactly what Rosie O'Donnell is: a huge bully. The exchange on The View was a stunning display of that, from beginning to end. For those who only caught the highlight clip (starting with Rosie saying in a soft, menacing tone: "Do you think I think the troops are terrorists, Elisabeth? Yes or no?" and then graduating to a "Paradise By The Dashboard Light"-style "YES...OR...NO?"), the entire clip is telling (we've got it below, courtesy of YouTube). It is incredible TV, no question — but, wow, is it ever revealing about Rosie, who starts off on the attack, eyes narrowed, trying to nail Hasselbeck on a semantic point and then feinting back into the victim pose, sulking that everyone paints her as "Big Fat Lesbian Loud Rosie Attacks Innocent Pure Christian Elisabeth," which, in point of fact, may not be entirely incorrect, but is one hell of a generalization to fall back on after failing to stick someone on a point. A more accurate depiction might be "Rosie Attacks" — because that's what Rosie does best, and she's done a great job of it on The View, but yeah, she's certainly done it loudly and she's certainly wielded her moderator's chair like a blunt cudgel, swung with force more than facts.

Bullies never like it when the tables are turned, and Rosie was no different; it is instructive, I think, to note that Rosie's pouting complaint about Elisabeth was that she didn't stick up for her or come to her defense — the exact same grievance she had against Barbara Walters in their feud. A careful watching of the argument reveals that it's not at all about the substance of Rosie's comments — and specifically, her implication that the U.S. and/or the troops in Iraq were akin to terrorists — instead it was about how Elisabeth failed to stand up for Rosie and how Rosie failed to clarify her statements at Elisabeth's suggestion. This fight was not about the war in Iraq (despite Joy Behar's best efforts) — it was 100% about Rosie's nose being out of joint, and about her ability to dish it out but not take it.

For those who are not fans of Hasselbeck — like Donald Trump — well, fair enough: She supports a stupid, terrible war and I don't agree with most of what she says, but one thing I will say about her is that I respect her willingness to engage on the issues, honestly, and pretty bravely considering the unpopularity of her viewpoint. But that is beside the point here, anyway: This fight was not about politics, it was about what Rosie thought Elisabeth should have said about her politics or something, but which really meant Rosie's ego.

It is ego that drove Rosie to quit three weeks before the expiration of her contract, ego that impelled her to pout in non-rhyming free verse on her blog, posting a self-pitying video and affecting a put-upon air. This is the same woman who took a week to apologize for the "ching chong" comment. And now she's walking three weeks early, because she picked a fight with an easy mark — and lost? Wow. From bully to baby in 0.5 seconds. But it's not an arc that should be surprising, really, because this seems to be how Rosie rolls — start out as the Queen of Nice, end up hurling accusations and parting bitterly. Even so, she's a professional, or should be — and with three weeks left to go, a professional stays in the hot seat she's been given the freedom all year to create, and sees it through — at the very least for the sake of the fans who have supported her through each controversy, not to mention the spirit behind the show that gave her yet another chance at the spotlight. Then again, it is called The View; I guess when that view stopped being Rosie's, it was time to go.