Thirty years after Michael Cimino's "The Deer Hunter" won five Oscars, including Best Picture of 1978, Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign has finally gotten around to remaking the classic film of Vietnam ennui in its own revisionist image.
The Clintons are calling the updated version of the film "The Duck Hunter." Naturally, it includes enough culture war posturing to fill a spittoon in a Clairton beauty salon.
The movie's first scene opens at a bar festooned with all of the trappings of Western Pennsylvania working-class life, according to the Clintons' egalitarian view of the world.
Several out-of-work steelworkers, not yet retrained for the high-tech challenges of the 21st century, sit at a bar eating pierogi and kielbasa and washing it down with Iron City in a socially responsible way. "Flashdance" flickers on the TV screen.
Among these proud men and women of Western Pennsylvania, no one is "bitter" about having been dealt a bad hand by the indifference of several generations of politicians and presidents. They dump as many french fries on their salads and sandwiches as possible.
Hillary Clinton reprises Robert De Niro's role as sullen hunter-turned-soldier Mike Vronsky.
Hillary sits at the bar chugging shots of Crown Royal, followed by mugs of Old Styles and declaring to anyone who will listen that "elitism" is the biggest problem affecting the lives of the working stiffs of Clairton.
Suddenly, Hillary notices a soldier in full uniform sitting by himself at the end of the bar. The hollow-eyed soldier, played with a taciturn grumpiness by John McCain, refuses to tell her what it was like to serve three deployments in a row in Iraq.
Crumpled in his hands are orders to report for duty in Afghanistan the next day and a possible invasion of Iran the day after that.
Hillary tells the soldier how much she appreciates his service to the country and offers to buy him a drink. Still silent, the soldier glares at her, as if to insinuate that she bears more responsibility than she's letting on for his predicament.
The next morning, Hillary grabs her gun and heads down to the Monongahela to shoot innocent baby ducks. She shoots wildly to prove she's one of the guys. Only the Democratic Party, a useless animal, is killed in the melee.
She is soon joined in the duck blinds by Stosh (Gov. Ed Rendell reprising John Cazale's role as the sycophantic buddy), Steven Pushkov (Vice President Dick Cheney) and Barack Obama as Nick in the role made famous by Christopher Walken.
Hillary mounts the carcasses of several Democratic presidential candidates on the hood of her Prius while muttering "We're not bitter, we're not bitter" to no one in particular.
Fast forward to the days before the Pennsylvania primary. Hillary is covered in the greasepaint of Democratic primary warfare.
Behind in delegates, states won and the popular vote, Hillary remains a stubborn cuss. She senses victory around the corner and imagines a scenario that includes Michigan and Florida in which she easily wins the nomination.
Suddenly, Hillary, who has managed to survive sniper fire exaggerations by the skin of her teeth, spots Nick (Obama) aiming a gun at his own foot. The bullets narrowly miss Nick's big toe each time he squeezes the trigger. It is the weirdest game of Russian Roulette she's ever seen.
Seemingly in a trance, Nick mutters something about small-town Americans "clinging to guns and religion" while pulling the trigger at his wiggling toes. He misses -- again. Hillary is incensed.
"You elitist nincompoop," she shouts. "That isn't how you incite class warfare for cynical political gain." Taking the gun and aiming it at her own foot, she shouts: "Bill and I made $109 million in eight years, but I'm more in touch with commoners than my opponent, who only recently paid off his student loans."
She fires, blowing off her right big toe. Grimacing, she sneers, "My opponent bowls like a girl, too." Bang! She blows off her left big toe. Limping, she hands the smoking gun back to Nick, who is smiling like he just won the lottery.
"OK, now it's your turn," she says.
"Nah," he says with characteristic nonchalance. "I think I should start off shooting ducks like you, and then work my way up to killing my credibility with the Democratic base." Nick whistles the theme song from "The Andy Griffith Show" and walks off.
"If I hurry," he says, "I can still make it to church with Dan Rooney."
Fast forward to primary day in Pennsylvania. With her feet heavily bandaged, Hillary limps toward the finishing line with Nick Obama in hot pursuit.
Standing at the bar, the hapless folks of Pennsylvania sing "God Bless America."
Tony Norman can be reached at email@example.com or 412-263-1631.