Palin Uses Letterman to Try to Reignite the Culture War

Much of the debate surrounding Sarah Palin’s feud with David Letterman this week has been based around questions over whether Palin overplayed her hand, or if it is wise for someone who wants to be president to be spending their time feuding with a late night host, but there is deeper motive at work here. Palin is trying to use Letterman to motivate the GOP base, and reignite the culture wars.

Here was Palin’s response to Letterman’s apology for some jokes he told about her daughters this week, “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 mirrors by older men who use and abuse others.”

The message she sent to her fellow Republicans was clear. She is the only pure Republican that can do battle with the liberal elites in New York and Hollywood. On NBC’s Today show on Friday, Palin kept hammering this point home. When Matt Lauer asked her, “Are you suggesting that David Letterman can’t be trusted around a 14-year-old girl?”

She answered, “Hey, take it however you want to take it. It is a comment that came from the heart that Willow, no doubt, would want to stay away from David Letterman after he made such a comment. And you can interpret that however you want to interpret it.” (Palin was trying to convey that she is the values conservative who isn’t going to be pushed around by the media.)

The political motivation of Palin and her advisors is that they want to revive the culture wars. Now that Bristol Palin has had her baby they see no reason why they can’t reframe her 2012 candidacy as that of the family values conservative. (However, I think it is very fair to question the values of a potential candidate that keeps willingly using her children as political props).

Palin is using Letterman to stake out her claim to the same Republican primary voters that Mike Huckabee courted in 2008, and is still wooing for his 2012 run. The intention is to make it seem like Palin is defending her daughters from an attack by Letterman, but this is all about Palin trying to appeal to culturally conservative voters.

I think Palin would be better served by talking about healthcare instead of feuding with Letterman. This tit for tat exchange does nothing to convince voters she has the policy knowledge and experience to be president. What this strategy does tell me is that Palin is as strategically and intellectually empty as the rest of her party.

Gov. Palin is looking backwards by trying to revive old disputes in our political landscape. Many conservatives have acknowledged that the culture wars are over. This isn’t the 1990s anymore. Palin’s usage of Letterman to frame herself as a culture war is destined to resonate with some Republicans, but it will fail mightily with Independents and conservative Democrats.

11 Replies to “Palin Uses Letterman to Try to Reignite the Culture War”

  1. Dear Jason Easely:

    This has to be the most absolutely stupid anti-Palin piece I have ever seen! You are either very young, a homosexual, unmarried to a woman, or without children of your own fathering. If you do have children I would hope that you might find enough testicular fortitude to stick up for them were they so maligned by a 62-year-old so-called comedian who, by the way, “knocked up” his ‘woman’ 6 years ago and only married her and his 5-year old son this last March. Or didn’t upu know that?

    So now who is the cheap slut Mr Easley?

    If testicular fortitude and the ability to father children are indeed beyond you, then you have no right to question a parent’s motives when it comes to protecting her children. Perhaps that concept too is beyond you.

  2. Did you know that Letterman fathered a bastard? Like father, like son, I guess.

    Letterman’s wife tried being a slut, but she is so ugly only Dave would “knock her up”!

    Then she tried being a whore, but she is so ugly that Eliot Spitzer demanded that she pay him $4,000 an hour!


  3. Mr. Easley — how is Governor Palin using her children as props? It was the Left who smeared her saying that Trig was Bristol’s baby and not Palin’s, and it was Letterman who crudely joked about a 14-year-old. What, Palin is not allowed to defend her family? She’s supposed to bend over and accept it like all the rest of the gutless Republicans? See, this is what the Left is afraid of. Palin can see the lies and hypocrisy of elitist leftists and will call them out on it. You can’t handle this, so you have your talking points of trying to make it seem like Palin is milking the issue. And you say that Palin is strategically and intellectually empty? She just shepherded the biggest natural gas pipeline deal in U.S. history ya doorknob.

  4. Letterman’s joke wasn’t about the 14 year old. That is a Palin creation. You stupid Palin supporters are proving my point. THIS IS NOT ABOUT PALIN DEFENDING HER KID!!!! I was trying to discussing the politics behind her statements, and yes morons, there are politics at work here. Palin was trying to exploit Letterman’s joke to gain momentum with values voters. This story isn’t about his joke. It is about politics.

    In case you clowns didn’t notice this is a politics site, a LIBERAL politics site. My point is Sarah isn’t going to get any mileage out of this, and she is probably hurting her own 2012 cause, by attacking David Letterman instead of proving that she is smart enough to be president. I am pretty certain that David Letterman won’t be one of the issues in 2012.

  5. I find it puzzling that anyone would think that Governor Palin would deliberately ignite and prolong a ‘spat’ with David Lettermann just to garner publicity, or for any of the other reasons you mentioned. She already had a major story to talk about. She had just secured the agreement of the world’s largest company XXON and the world’s best pipelaying company, Transcanada, to move forward on the construction of the biggest energy project in North America’s history! Anyone who knows the background realises that this is a major triumph for Palin. Does anyone with an ounce of intelligence really really believe that she wanted to have deal with the likes of Davis Letterman at this moment. Get a life and do some real research.

  6. Too many people are caught in the headlights by Sarah Palin’s sporadically nurturing Mama-Bear act.

    It’s so strange that she wants HER highly public family protected but thinks real mama-bears should fend for themselves…

    … but that aside; yes, Letterman followed in a questionable tradition of teasing politicians via their children. Alas, while Palin attempts to present her family as some kind of Rockwell painting come to life — the truth makes it unspeakably easy for the boundaries of good taste and edgy social commentary to blur.

    With the proper mentoring, I think Palin could have Been Something, but she’s so focused on her fecundity and using it to break the glass ceiling that she’s rapidly devolved into a mockery of her own values. It’s true that any family can have drama and bittersweet, but Sarah Palin has shown time and again that while she may represent an aspect of the working class Everyman, it’s not necessarily an aspect that can we want to encourage.

  7. I feel sorry for conservatives. They know they are wrong which is the reason they attack, attack, attack any and everything. How many fights has Palin had the with media, McCain’s campaign and others? She has no ideas so she attacks. Why does the GOP say ‘no’ to any and everything? They have no ideas and no solutions so they just say no! Pathetic and sad!

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