Okay, first things first.
Letterman apologised for going over the top. Some may not have liked the apology, the palin's obviously didn't, but this guy is a seasoned professional with over 30 years in the entertainment industry taking shots at everyone. Palin was at the Yankee game with her daughter.
Did Letterman name the daughter?
Did he know which daughter was with her?
He (or his writers) SHOULD HAVE DONE. But they didn't.
So here's the thing:
In the first 30 seconds of Letterman's comments about the joke he actually names Sarah Palin and her daughter BRISTOL. He uses her name. He reads out the statements of both the palins and agrees with them. At five minutes in he states again that the jokes were NOT about her 14 year old daughter. Some of what he did in the segment was self depreciating. At the start he says, "I just stepped into traffic the other day", and when he said "if your thinking about getting your own talk show" he meant it as a warning of the pitfalls you could have when it doesn't go right.
So what is the problem with the continued response of palin, and the outrage expressed by the poster? Well it's that it goes directly to the heart of the echo chamber of the right wing. As the poster himself says:
How is a 14 year old fair game in the rough and tumble of the political world? For that matter, how is an 18 year old who has had to go through the trauma of an unintended pregnancy a legitimate political target? I’m well aware that Rush Limbaugh called Chelsea Clinton "the White House Dog", and that should also be condemned. But the Letterman apologists like Arianna Huffington and one or two on this blog are as culpable as Rush Limbaugh. Trying to blame Sarah Palin for Letterman’s comment is ridiculous and outrageous. This tabloid fodder level of political debate distracts from real issues, debases politics and it is impossible to take someone like Arianna Huffington seriously after an incident like this. She is as useless as Limbaugh, Hannity or O’Reilly.
It's agreed by most that a 14 year old is not fair game in the political world. I would say that was true of those on the left. Those on the right can ask Tucker Eskew or rush limbaugh. Unlike political operative eskew, or de facto head of the republican party and it's top rated conservative media commentator limbaugh, Letterman is the host of a late night entertainment talkshow, and has been for decades. He may comment on the politics of the day and have politicians on but can it REALLY be said that he is part of the political framework in the US? While it was condemmed by some on the right in 1993 do you really think that there would be the same level of outrage today by conservatives if limbaugh had made a similar comment? Al Franken pointed out this exchange he had with hannity over the limbaugh/Chelsea Clinton comment, an excuse that l have read posted by many defenders of limbaugh since then. Trying to compare Arianna Huffington and others to that is in no way similar. Letterman isn't Andrew Dice Clay or Doug Stanhope and trying to make him out to be at their level of comedy, or insinuating that Letterman is some sort of paedophile sits wrong with a lot of people which is why they are defending him.
For that matter, how is an 18 year old who has had to go through the trauma of an unintended pregnancy a legitimate political target?
The idea of sending Bristol Palin out as an advocate against teen pregnancy was a great one, but the problem is two fold in my opinion.
Just like it's a great idea to have a recovering alcoholic or drug addict being a spokesperson for groups against alcohol and drug abuse, the problem is not everyone is going to listen. The unmarried teen daughter of the former republican vice president candidate (whose mother was an advocate for abstinence only education when running for election in 2006 to get support from the base) who got pregnant at 17 WILL raise eyebrows and generate blowback when she is part of a panel at a townhall meeting on Teen Pregnancy. Expecially when she is on record as saying that absinence only education is "unrealistic". It also provides fodder for those on the opposite side who for years have watched and listened while right wingers have anointed themselves as "the party of family values", while events and actions by politicians and commentators show just how much of that statement is crap.
What is amazing is the insistence of the echo chamber that if the Obama's had an underage teen daughter impregnated by a young man who on his facebook page called himself a "thug" or a "gangster" (Levi Johnson called himself a "Redneck who didn't give a fuck") they would have been completely off limits during the campaign season. Personally l call bullshit to that idea. As a defence for my view l offer exibits (a) Chelsea Clinton, and expecially (b) Bridget McCain.
Trying to blame Sarah Palin for Letterman’s comment is ridiculous and outrageous. This tabloid fodder level of political debate distracts from real issues, debases politics and it is impossible to take someone like Arianna Huffington seriously after an incident like this. She is as useless as Limbaugh, Hannity or O’Reilly.
Letterman can look after himself. The problem for me is the statement that " this tabloid fodder level of political debate distracts from real issues, debases politics and it is impossible to take someone like Arianna Huffington seriously after an incident like this." comes from a supporter of the side of US politics that brought us haircut stories, murder conspiracies, pigs in lipstick, freedom fries, terrorist fist jabs, and bloody condiment on burgers. Something that hannity talked about FOR DAYS. The only thing missing is the comments from the author of "Those Who Trespass".
There were more comments about John Edward's haircut than his response to the Supreme Court decision on Partial Birth Abortions. How does any of the above improve the level of political debate and help discuss real issues allowing us to take the commentators who bring them up again and again seriously?
The last problem l have with the post is with the palin's themselves. We know that with people the palin's consider enemies she has previous (as the South London police like to say about repeat offenders). Troopergate tells us more than they may have wished us to know about how the palins deal with some family and political issues, and the less than subtle attack of Letterman by her on The Today Show shows someone who is well versed in the arts of stirring up the base. She hit all her talking points well but this isn't 2002 or 2004. The actions which led to stunning sucesses during the heights of the culture war do not have the impact of those times. Her call for people to "start really rising up." isn't the best thought out. We know now what happens when supporters of right wingers rise up in action and we know the way right wingers like beck and o'reilly treat their culpablity in dealing with the results.
Sarah Palin defending her daughter is the right thing to do. A prolonged attack on Letterman, in my view, will not lead to him being fired. If that is what the wished for end result of the continuation of this arguement is the desire of the palin's l really don't think it will happen. While it may stoke up the heart of the decreasing republican base those others who do not share the ideology or the outrage will not jump on board for this, in fact, just like with the Schiavo tragedy l can see a lot of people moving further away from the right if it's played up in the old ways of demonisation.
The republican party is in trouble with 30% dissatisfied with the party direction and no clear leader. In the last few weeks palin has been eclipsed by gingrich in the media and this could cynically be seen as a way to get her back in the spotlight she has no intention of leaving. The only problem is, moving forward and looking at things differently is a PROGRESSIVE idea.
Digging out stuff from the infinite void to try to browbeat people with from behind the curtain may seem like a great idea to palin and others with her viewpoint (like this idiot) . The problem they have is that far too many people have noticed the small man behind the curtain passing out the info. That is where the blowback for them will start.
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