Like most, I was appalled by the now infamous non-joke made by Late Show host David Letterman regarding the daughter(s) of Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin. And also like most, I just wanted Dave to go away. The last thing I wanted to see was the press covering it endlessly for two reasons:
- This may have been a calculated “No such thing as bad publicity” attempt to trump NBC’s re-vamped “Tonight Show” with Conan O’brien who, after a solid start, is slipping badly. Why give Letterman free promotion?
- There are two hot spots in the world (The Middle East and North Korea) that deserve to have the spotlight on them because they pose a far greater threat to us.
As last week unfolded, Letterman acted as most of us expected: Defensive, refusing to give a full-on (and richly deserved) apology. Instead, he posed himself as victim. We just weren’t getting the joke, he told us. That was the problem. Not him.
Millions lapped it up. After all, this was “just Sara Palin, right?”
But something no-so-funny happened on the way to Letterman’s victory party: Governor Palin defined perfectly the conservative approach to problem-solving. And much of the public, greatly to Letterman’s surprise, was, on her side.
As Letterman learned this week, Sarah Palin is no joke. She’s no pushover and she’s not stupid. The stupid one was the loudmouth who thought his joke was funny and (initially) worth defending by pulling the liberal trick of claiming we all just misunderstood.
And therein lies the deeper significance of Sara Palin’s “beat-down” of David Letterman:
Palin stood up, not just for her daughters, but also for what is simply right and decent.And she did so in an intelligent, direct manner. She didn’t take it personally, but responded to it globally by pointing out that this was inappropriate for anyone’s daughter to face this kind of treatment from a 62 year-old man.
The target of her legitimate anger knew he was being dressed down in no uncertain terms, as he deserved to be. There was no worry about political correctness here. Palin stayed on point. In doing so, she exposed Letterman for what he truly is. But beyond that, she showed she has the character of a leader. One who stands up and defends what’s right. Her words resounded with a truth and wisdom that was straight to the point:
“Concerning Letterman’s comments about my young daughter (and I doubt he’d ever dare make such comments about anyone else’s daughter): ‘Laughter incited by sexually-perverted comments made by a 62-year-old male celebrity aimed at a 14-year-old girl is not only disgusting, but it reminds us some Hollywood/NY entertainers have a long way to go in understanding what the rest of America understands — that acceptance of inappropriate sexual comments about an underage girl, who could be anyone’s daughter, contributes to the atrociously high rate of sexual exploitation of minors by older men who use and abuse others.’”
This is the kind of comment a true leader makes. It would have sounded perfectly normal coming out of Ronald Reagan’s mouth. Palin showed us she, like Reagan, is not the kind of person to travel around the world apologizing for what’s right with America. In short, she has what Barack Obama doesn’t have: my confidence in her leadership to defend the Constitution of the United States, not to apologize for it.
There are those in the public who still want their pound of flesh, however, and are still planning to protest Letterman’s show. As for me, I’m like the policeman at the scene of an of an accident: “Move along, folks… there’s nothing more to see here…”