Sarah Palin and family struck back at David Letterman Thursday after he apologized for several minutes on Wednesday night’s show about a joke he’d told about A-Rod knocking up Sarah Palin’s daughter while they were at a Yankees ballgame. The joke didn’t go over well with many in the media and especially those in the conservative punditry business. Todd Palin railed on Facebook: “Any ‘jokes’ about raping my 14-year-old are despicable.”
And he’s right. Except David Letterman never said anything about rape. And he was talking about the less-than-abstinent Bristol Palin, who is 18 and has already had a child due to not adhering to her mother’s abstinence regimen. Of course, Letterman and his writers probably didn’t bother to check that the Palin child that accompanied the Governor to the Yankees game was 14-year-old Willow Palin. Thus, the feigned outrage and misconstruing of words by the First Dude of Alaska. (Still, in their defense, they probably would have been just as outraged by the reference to their daughter Bristol… but they want to make an issue out of a liberal comedian condoning the rape of an underage girl, not an issue out the child that disappointed them by dragging their name into the media like some castoff from a Jerry Springer episode.)
Letterman had attempted to lamely make things right Wednesday. “Am I guilty of poor taste? Yes. Did I suggest that it was OK for her 14-year-old daughter to be having promiscuous sex? No.” He went on to explain that the joke was about Bristol, then said that the Palins were always welcome to come on the “Late Show.”
Family spokeswoman Meg Stapleton answered for the clan: “The Palins have no intention of providing a ratings boost for David Letterman by appearing on his show.”
That is no doubt a politically astute move, especially if Palin wishes to run for president in 2012. Look what David Letterman did to John McCain. And Joaquin Phoenix. Sarah Palin wouldn’t stand a chance…
As has become the case with most things Republican these days, since they cannot find anything of substance to talk about or have found themselves marginalized by their own lack of relevancy, most of their dialogue has become ad hominem attacks and distracting asides about non-existent tax hikes and Ronald Reagan. At least Sarah Palin has a legitimate excuse to hurl insults Letterman’s way. She just needs to keep the First Dude from distorting what was said.
But where would be the political advantage in that?
(And didn’t Palin say — on John Ziegler’s radio program — that Letterman had picked up on “a distortion that again is based on a slow news day…” when he made the joke the same night about her shopping at Bloomingdale’s for makeup to “update her ‘slutty flight attendant’ look.” Now who is distorting what on a slow news day?)
Letterman spoke of knocking up (or making pregnant) Palin’s daughter, not raping her. Todd Palin used the term “rape” (which it legally would be if the target had been his 14-year-old daughter Willow, which it was not). So Letterman’s ham-handed ‘joke’ about Alex Rodriguez’ promiscuity and Bristol Palin’s lack of abstinence has turned into a public relations nightmare for the talk show host and another ridiculous distraction pushed by conservatives. At the same time, where Letterman made the ‘joke’ A-Rod promiscuous, Todd Palin labels the ‘joke’ A-Rod a rapist.
See how distortion works? Letterman did not joke about a rape. Todd Palin extrapolated the term to hopefully capitalize on outrage and sympathy for his wife’s future political ambitions.
And she needs all the sympathy she can get. Even her own party snubbed her this past week at a Washington fundraiser, scheduling Newt Gingrich to speak in her stead. When it was later learned that Sarah Palin could actually attend and speak at the function, the organizers, instead of offering her a place to speak before the former Speaker of the House, offered her nothing.
Taking out her frustrations on David Letterman has no doubt helped relieve some of the disappointment. Her and Letterman’s story has certainly overshadowed anything that went on at the fundraiser, which turned out to be nothing more than talk of glory days and borrowing a catchphrase from a movie about Franklin Delano Roosevelt (which only proves Republicans have truly lost their direction).
The winner in all this is Sarah Palin, of course. She’s back in the national spotlight and championing her family. David Letterman loses out, but, then, he shouldn’t have told that terrible joke. But the ones caught up in the middle of it are Alex Rodriguez, Bristol and Willow Palin, none of which it can be assumed asked to be involved.
Still, distorted or not, Letterman deserves to catch some family and media flak for such a poorly thought out and distasteful “joke.” And having to explain a joke, no matter how poorly constructed, makes it far less amusing anyway…
“Late Night with David Letterman,” CBS Television
“The John Ziegler Show,” KGIL