Sarah Palin Should Move On from Letterman Feud

David Letterman has apologized for the joke he made about Sarah Palin's daughter. According to the Reuters transcript, the late-night comedian explained, "I told a joke that was beyond flawed, and my intent is completely meaningless compared to the perception of the joke...I feel I need to the right thing here and apologize." Whether or not David Letterman's apology for the joke was motivated by sincere remorse, network pressure, outcry from NOW, or the Fire David Letterman movement is up for debate. Hopefully the parties involved will have learned something and be able to move on from this.

Although I am in complete agreement with Sarah Palin and believe that her grievances were completely justified, I think it's time for her to let it go. It's not in her political interests to turn this into a moral crusade.

Sarah Palin's Response: Apology Accepted, Backhandedly

As posted on her Facebook page, Sarah Palin responded to David Letterman's apology on behalf of young women like her daughters. "Letterman certainly has the right to ‘joke' about whatever he wants to, and thankfully we have the right to express our reaction. And this is all thanks to our U.S. Military women and men putting their lives on the line for us to secure America's Right to Free Speech - in this case, may that right be used to promote equality and respect."

Given the wording of this response, it seems Sarah Palin is still trying to turn this into a feminist crusade. Expressing outrage as a parent is completely justified, as children of politicians should be off-limits. If the media is willing to extend that courtesy to Obama's children, then they should do likewise for Sarah Palin's family. Still, it is a bit overblown for her to accept Letterman's apology on behalf of "all" young women.

It's a slippery slope when public figures (on either side of the aisle) continue to engage in identity politics. When Lucile Kim sued Miley Cyrus for slanting her eyes in a party photo, Kim, according to The Inquisitr, claimed to be representing "over 1 million people of Asian Pacific Islander descent." Yet what gave her the right to speak for other Asian Americans? While the photo was not in the best taste, I did not find it terribly offensive, especially after Miley Cyrus apologized for it. At most, this was a private matter for her parents to handle, not for vigilante activists looking to cash in on victim politics.

Sarah Palin: To Everything There is a Season

The book of Ecclesiastes writes that "to everything there is a season." One could argue that there is a time to speak up and a time to be quiet. During the first week of the Letterman/Palin controversy, supporters were right to point out the hypocrisies in the mainstream media and the unacceptability of Letterman's conduct. There would have been much more public outcry had the "slutty flight attendant" joke been aimed at Michelle Obama and the A-Rod joke at Mallia or Sasha. And for Don Imus to be fired over racially offensive comments while Letterman receives a proverbial slap on the wrist and a ratings boost speaks of a glaring double standard.

Still, if Sarah Palin seeks to be accepted as a serious politician, it's in her best interests not to continue this feud. Sarah Palin is a bright and capable public figure who needs to gain experience and depth of knowledge in areas of public policy. While she has the charisma to mobilize the base, the level of her interviews is nowhere near that of more pragmatic policy-oriented figures such as Mitt Romney. While he may not have the likeability, he has the preparedness and intellectual prowess to tackle Obama in any national debate. When Mitt Romney spoke with George Stephanopoulos on This Week, the discussion on health care was detailed, nuanced, and thoughtful. Yet when McCain or Palin interview, I'm often struck with the urge to hand them cue cards.

Instead of becoming a young women's cultural crusader, the Alaska governor is better off perfecting her craft, reading up and focusing on issues of public policy, and improving her performances at debates and interviews. When she is seasoned and ready, her legislative accomplishments will speak for themselves.

Sarah Palin runs the risk of turning into Dan Quayle, an inexperienced senator who compensated for his seeming lack of intellectual prowess by hyper-focusing on family values issues, thus becoming a one-trick pony. Instead of being remembered for any legislative accomplishments, the public only remembers him for a sensationalized feud with single-mother Murphy Brown. I would hate to see that happen to Sarah Palin.

As for Letterman, sometimes free markets are more powerful than social activism. Those who found Miley Cyrus' photo offensive can simply choose not to listen to her music. Since Letterman has apologized, hopefully he will be more careful in the future. Those who want him off the air can simply stop watching his show. For CBS, ratings will speak more powerfully than picket lines.
David Letterman has apologized for the joke he made about Sarah Palin's daughter. According to the Reuters transcript, the late-night comedian explained, "I told a joke that was beyond flawed, and my intent is completely meaningless compared to the perception of the joke...I feel I need to the right thing here and apologize." Whether or not David Letterman's apology for the joke was motivated by sincere remorse, network pressure, outcry from NOW, or the Fire David Letterman movement is up for debate. Hopefully the parties involved will have learned something and be able to move on from this.

Although I am in complete agreement with Sarah Palin and believe that her grievances were completely justified, I think it's time for her to let it go. It's not in her political interests to turn this into a moral crusade.

Sarah Palin's Response: Apology Accepted, Backhandedly

As posted on her Facebook page, Sarah Palin responded to David Letterman's apology on behalf of young women like her daughters. "Letterman certainly has the right to ‘joke' about whatever he wants to, and thankfully we have the right to express our reaction. And this is all thanks to our U.S. Military women and men putting their lives on the line for us to secure America's Right to Free Speech - in this case, may that right be used to promote equality and respect."

Given the wording of this response, it seems Sarah Palin is still trying to turn this into a feminist crusade. Expressing outrage as a parent is completely justified, as children of politicians should be off-limits. If the media is willing to extend that courtesy to Obama's children, then they should do likewise for Sarah Palin's family. Still, it is a bit overblown for her to accept Letterman's apology on behalf of "all" young women.

It's a slippery slope when public figures (on either side of the aisle) continue to engage in identity politics. When Lucile Kim sued Miley Cyrus for slanting her eyes in a party photo, Kim, according to The Inquisitr, claimed to be representing "over 1 million people of Asian Pacific Islander descent." Yet what gave her the right to speak for other Asian Americans? While the photo was not in the best taste, I did not find it terribly offensive, especially after Miley Cyrus apologized for it. At most, this was a private matter for her parents to handle, not for vigilante activists looking to cash in on victim politics.

Sarah Palin: To Everything There is a Season

The book of Ecclesiastes writes that "to everything there is a season." One could argue that there is a time to speak up and a time to be quiet. During the first week of the Letterman/Palin controversy, supporters were right to point out the hypocrisies in the mainstream media and the unacceptability of Letterman's conduct. There would have been much more public outcry had the "slutty flight attendant" joke been aimed at Michelle Obama and the A-Rod joke at Mallia or Sasha. And for Don Imus to be fired over racially offensive comments while Letterman receives a proverbial slap on the wrist and a ratings boost speaks of a glaring double standard.

Still, if Sarah Palin seeks to be accepted as a serious politician, it's in her best interests not to continue this feud. Sarah Palin is a bright and capable public figure who needs to gain experience and depth of knowledge in areas of public policy. While she has the charisma to mobilize the base, the level of her interviews is nowhere near that of more pragmatic policy-oriented figures such as Mitt Romney. While he may not have the likeability, he has the preparedness and intellectual prowess to tackle Obama in any national debate. When Mitt Romney spoke with George Stephanopoulos on This Week, the discussion on health care was detailed, nuanced, and thoughtful. Yet when McCain or Palin interview, I'm often struck with the urge to hand them cue cards.

Instead of becoming a young women's cultural crusader, the Alaska governor is better off perfecting her craft, reading up and focusing on issues of public policy, and improving her performances at debates and interviews. When she is seasoned and ready, her legislative accomplishments will speak for themselves.

Sarah Palin runs the risk of turning into Dan Quayle, an inexperienced senator who compensated for his seeming lack of intellectual prowess by hyper-focusing on family values issues, thus becoming a one-trick pony. Instead of being remembered for any legislative accomplishments, the public only remembers him for a sensationalized feud with single-mother Murphy Brown. I would hate to see that happen to Sarah Palin.

As for Letterman, sometimes free markets are more powerful than social activism. Those who found Miley Cyrus' photo offensive can simply choose not to listen to her music. Since Letterman has apologized, hopefully he will be more careful in the future. Those who want him off the air can simply stop watching his show. For CBS, ratings will speak more powerfully than picket lines.