David Letterman, John McCain and Willow Palin

Ok, so David Letterman may have crossed a line with his recent jokes regarding Sarah Palin and her daughter, with some people even calling for his termination from CBS.

I thought the jokes specifically about Governor Palin were pretty funny- and not the slightest bit out of line- though perhaps slightly off-color.

I did, however, cringe at his quip about Palin’s daughter.

The Governor had taken her 14 year old daughter to a Yankees game while recently visiting New York. Letterman joked on his show that during the Seventh Inning Stretch, Willow, the daughter, got “knocked up” by Alex Rodriguez.

Disgusting, for sure.

I’m not here to condone Letterman’s comments. Personally, I feel that for the most part, children of politicians should be off limits for all of us- late night comedians included. I do make an exception for people such as Megan McCain (John McCain’s daughter) and Bristol Palin (Sarah Palin’s oldest daughter) because A) they are not minors and B) they have chosen a life in the public eye- Megan as a popular blogger, Bristol as a public advocate for abstinence.

Personally, I’m not a fan of the double standard here.

Can you imagine, for example, had Conan O’Brien quipped, during Michelle Obama’s recent trip to London with her daughters, that Sasha (or Malia- pick a kid), had been knocked up by Hugh Grant?

Or worse, Boy George?

David Beckham?

I realize that politically incorrect, often distasteful humor, is par for the course in late night comedic television… but sometimes, as we all know, lines do get crossed, and feelings get hurt.

Unfortunately, and it pains me to say this- as I am a Letterman fan- his so-called apology on the matter was grossly inadequate. Letterman claims that his joke regarding Palin’s daughter was actually geared towards Bristol Palin, but I’m not buying it. Everyone knows Bristol was not the one who accompanied her mother to the Yankees game, and surely,  considering all of Letterman’s staff, if not the big man himself, someone would have picked up on this fact.

This, at best, was a terrible gaffe on the part of his research department. At worst, he knew exactly what he was saying and who he was saying it about.

Regardless, it was a completely inappropriate thing to say.

What enrages me, however, even more than Letterman’s false and disengenuous apology, is certain Republican politicians’ reactions to his comments.

John McCain, for example, when asked his opinion by news source Reuters, stated, “I don’t understand why Letterman would say that about a young woman… They deserve some kind of protection from being the butt of late-night hosts.”

Really?

Funny, considering McCain’s own comments about then-President Bill Clinton’s daughter, Chelsea, on the Letterman show back in 1998:

Why is Chelsea Clinton so ugly?  Because Janet Reno is her father.

It makes one wonder… are John McCain and friends truly against the idea of people attacking the children of politicians… or does it only become a no-no when said politician is a fellow conservative?

Letterman was wrong for saying the things he said about Willow Palin, and that family deserves a genuine apology.

… But as we all know, peoplewho live in glass houses should not throw stones.

Willow Palin deserves our outrage on her behalf. Unfortunately, when it comes from such sources as John McCain, the anger appears phony, crafted, politically motivated and most of all, horribly hypocritical.

Pedophilia, rape and teenage sex are not humorous topics- regardless of who is making the joke, or who the joke is about.

It is, after all, a national epidemic, as Sarah Palin and family know first hand.

Perhaps, instead of duking it out over which public figures’ children are and aren’t off limits, our time would be better spent advocating on behalf of the children who find themselves the butt of these most reprehensible jokes.

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22 thoughts on “David Letterman, John McCain and Willow Palin

    1. Hi Cubby-

      Interesting question… I couldn’t find a pic anywhere, after reading your comment.

      I’ll keep looking… it’s kinda odd that a “celebrity” like Palin can go to a Yankees game with her daughter, and there’s no photo evidence or documentation to show it.

      Hmmm…

  1. Sure, it is kinda funny to suggest the rape of a fourteen year old girl. Maybe she will commit suicide and Mr. Letterman and his cronies will have an even biffer laugh.

    If I was Mr. Steinbrenner, I would sue Mr. Letterman and his employer for damages to the Yankees franchise to show the world where the Yankees stand on the humerous value of suggesting his players are into child rape on national TV.

    No apologies – just a pound of flesh in compensation for destroying the life of a fourteen year old in retaliation for her Mom’s attendence at a Yankees game.

    1. Geez dave-

      Melodramatic much?

      No one’s life has been ruined.

      Was the joke a funny one? No it wasn’t- which I believe I made clear in my post.

      It was bad taste, but certainly nothing close to as damaging as your comment claims.

      I wonder- where were you when people were saying all those horrible things about Chelsea Clinton? Were you part of Chelsea’s lynch mob, or were you as outraged about the abuse she suffered at the hands of the media as you are about Letterman’s comments regarding Willow Palin?

      The comments were out of line, sure.

      Just make sure you aren’t being a hypocrite about it, k?

  2. I have teenage daughters. One was the victim of an attempted rape where two boys held her down and a third tried to rape her. She is not the same to this day. She was never able to get over the feeling that she was somehow damaged by the public knowledge of what had happened to her.

    For Willow Palin, to be nationally humiliated in this fashion, will leave psychological scars which she will likely carry for life. That is why they don’t broadcast the names of rape victims, especially children. Do you dismiss the psychological damage to child sex crime victims as melodrama? Maybe you feel that Willow should buck up and take the humiliation she will surely face for the rest of her like, kinda like Monica L.

    Mr. Letterman and the affiliates who carried the show belong in court facing steep fines, and perhaps a little time away from the public airwaves. It should be the FCC bringing the action – not the Yankees or the Palins.

    I am not real familiar with Chelsea’s case, but wonder if you think it was a good thing? Maybe you didn’t like it and you think destroying Willow would be good revenge against those who committed that offense. I am not buying it. Let’s find who said what and take them to task as well.

    Do you, or do you not, care if Willow is scarred for life… Do you really suggest that damaging Willow as payback for Chelsea is somehow a good thing? Do you believe that the jocular reference to a fictitious rape of a fourteen year old by a Yankees player somehow advances a legitimate thread of public discourse?

    I believe what happened to Willow is wrong and Mr Letterman should be made to compensate the Pailns for their pain and suffering. Mr. Letterman, his producers, and their network affiliates should be subjected to the same due process as anyone who uses the public airwaves in a manner which is counter the public benefit.

    1. @Dave-

      I am sorry for what happened to your daughter- and if you read my blog with any regularity (it’s obvious to me that you don’t)- you would realize that if I am anything, it is a very avid supporter of womens’ rights, and most especially victims’ rights.

      In fact, I was a victim of sexual assault myself. I know first-hand what you speak of, with regards to feeling like damaged goods. As women who have been sexually victimized, we may know on some logical level that it wasn’t our fault… but deep down we will never be fully convinced. It isn’t something that goes away with time, and if we are not careful, it can consume us.

      While Letterman’s joke was out of line, the humiliation Palin’s daughter feels, while real in its own right, is absolutely nothing compared to what your daughter- or even Monica Lewinsky, as you reference- went through.

      The fact that you compare your daughter’s horrific victimization to the inappropriate joke told by a late night talk show host shows that you understand the full impact of your daughter’s traumatizing experience far less than you claim to.

      In a few days no one- with the exception of a leftover rabid conservative or two- is even going to remember any of this nonsense.

      Willow’s life is far from ruined.

      Personally, if I were any of Palin’s kids, I’d be far more “scarred” and embarrassed by my own mother’s public shenanigans than by any stupid joke a late night talk show host could tell.

      As for your Chelsea Clinton comment, of course I don’t think this is “revenge”, nor do I find Letterman’s joke acceptable in any way- if I did approve of what Letterman said about Willow, I never would have bothered to write a post chastising him for saying it.

      I’m not one to shy away from my opinions. I wouldn’t claim to take issue with something David Letterman said if I truly didn’t take issue with what he’d said. It’s that simple.

      Read the post again- if you even read it the first time- as I am quite clear: I believe the children of public figures should be off limits unless they are adults, and have chosen a life in the public eye.

      Speaking of tit-for-tat, where was your outrage when Jay Leno, during the election, said almost the exact same joke about (then 17) year old Bristol Palin? It was during the John Edwards fiasco… and Leno tied Edwards’ infidelity into Bristol’s teen pregnancy, suggesting that John Edwards had actually gotten Bristol pregnant.

      Was that hilarious to you, sir?

      Were you nearly as offended then?

      Probably not.

      I figure, since Leno is the beloved one of conservatives everywhere, you probably gave him a free pass, figuring at least his heart was in the right place.

      I’m sure he didn’t mean any harm, right?

      *Cough*

      Sarah Palin, unfortunately for her kids, is a trainwreck, and her own actions/words/etc. will ultimately have a far more damaging effect on them than this particular event ever will.

      As for the rest of us, we need to take the higher road, and regardless of the crap some parents are willing to put their kids through, refuse to stoop low enough to take the bait.

      Letterman, unfortunately, took the bait, and was wrong for doing so.

      But please Dave- stop with the phony outrage. Letterman was not the first talk show host to stick his foot in his mouth, nor will he be the last.

      I hope next time, you have the courage to be just as fired up when a conservative’s the one who does it.

  3. DAVID LETTERMAN’S HATE, ETC. !

    David Letterman’s hate is as old as some ancient Hebrew prophets.
    Speaking of anti-Semitism, it’s Jerry Falwell and other fundy leaders who’ve gleefully predicted that in the future EVERY nation will be against Israel (an international first?) and that TWO-THIRDS of all Jews will be killed, right?
    Wrong! It’s the ancient Hebrew prophet Zechariah who predicted all this in the 13th and 14th chapters of his book! The last prophet, Malachi, explains the reason for this future Holocaust that’ll outdo even Hitler’s by stating that “Judah hath dealt treacherously” and “the Lord will cut off the man that doeth this” and asks “Why do we deal treacherously every man against his brother?”
    Haven’t evangelicals generally been the best friends of Israel and Jewish persons? Then please explain the recent filthy, hate-filled, back-stabbing tirades by David Letterman (and Sandra Bernhard) against a leading evangelical named Sarah Palin, and explain why most Jewish leaders have seemingly condoned Palin’s continuing “crucifixion”!
    While David and Sandra are tragically turning comedy into tragedy, they are also helping to speed up and fulfill the Final Holocaust a la Zechariah and Malachi, thus helping to make the Bible even more believable!
    (For even more stunning information, visit MSN and type in “Separation of Raunch and State” and “Bible Verses Obama Avoids.”)

  4. Just about anyone who saw Letterman’s lame joke about Bristol Palin and Alex Rodriguez knew it was Bristol Palin he was referring to. Otherwise, it wouldn’t make any sense. Willow Palin hadn’t been “knocked up,” Bristol Palin had. And, Bristol Palin has become a public figure by being on a preaching-abstinence tour (sponsored by Candie’s, no less), providing a mixed message by communicating “Do as I say, not as I do.”

    The joke was lame, but the person who is to blame for thrusting Willow Palin into the spotlight was Sarah Palin herself.

    1. Hi Rod-

      Thanks for the comment.

      I wholeheartedly agree with you about Palin. This isn’t the first time she’s attempted to pimp out her kids to make a point.

      Letterman, unfortunately, made a joke in poor taste… and in doing so, ultimately stepped in it big time.

      The “damage” Letterman may have caused Willow- or Bristol, for that matter- is minimal at worst.

      What Palin herself has done to her kids is a hundred times worse. They will spend their lives trying to overcome this woman’s drama.

      Hope they have good therapists up there in Alaska.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  5. Letterman is a deranged slob- and his stale schtick’s about as funny as a train wreck. I say give Todd Palin five minutes alone with this creep- maybe then he’d get the hard education in moral clarity that he so severely lacks.

    If Sarah Palin is SO silly and irrelevant, why the obsession? Clearly the Left noted her appeal, and are out to eliminate the threat- it’s not like it’s not obvious.

    And she’s been highly successful in life while ignoring the left-wing feminist model… this helps to explain the extra dose of venom in the attacks.

    Go get em, Sarah- and don’t mind the press, nobody will be listening to them anymore after the pending Obamamania implosion-

    1. Hi reaganiterepublican-

      Sarah Palin IS silly, but I don’t believe I ever accused her of being irrelevant.

      Dangerous? Definitely.

      Irrelevant? Unfortunately not.

      The fact that she is relevant is extremely scary, but neither here nor there for the purpose of this post.

      Regardless of my dislike of Palin’s politics, we do agree on one thing, and that is the fact that Letterman’s comments regarding Willow Palin were out of line. Her minor-age children should definitely be off-limits… Period.

      If one (such as myself) wants to take issue with the Governor’s politics, she is fair game, as that is the life she has chosen for herself. Her babies, however, have no say in their mother’s profession or political views, and therefore have no place in the public forum… especially as the butt of someone else’s jokes.

      Take care!

  6. Well… I see your point.

    Mr. Letterman did wrong, but when Willow’s buddies keep asking her for A-Rod’s autograph, when the baby is due, etc she should explain to them that Mr. Letterman was ridiculing her older sister. I can hear it now…“A-Rod, A-Rod, Willow was doing it with A-Rod…” She should further explain that her older sister was fair game for Mr Letterman’s humor because she is promiscuous and advocates abstinence, is an adult, is kinda like Megan McCain, and has appeared on the campaign trail with her unsophisticated Mom.

    Young girls all over should adopt this strategy and get over their psychological scars. Others have endured far worse than them with less public support. It was only a joke and most people who don’t go to school with Willow have already forgotten about it. And the people who go to school with Willow probably aren’t bright enough or mean enough to remember it very long.

    The Yankees should accept the concept that most people consider them to be the moral equivalent of animals, completely amoral in their actions. That Alex Rodriguez is sufficiently likely to take advantage of a fourteen year old that he has no moral high ground from which to complain appears to be your bottom line.

    Does that sum it up?

    You said:
    Letterman was wrong for saying the things he said about Willow Palin, and that family deserves a genuine apology.
    I said:
    If I was Mr. Steinbrenner, I would sue Mr. Letterman and his employer for damages to the Yankees franchise to show the world where the Yankees stand on the humerous value of suggesting his players are into child rape on national TV.

    I see no place in your original post where you express outrage at the other victims of this “joke”.

    You said:
    Willow Palin deserves our outrage on her behalf.

    I said:
    No apologies – just a pound of flesh in compensation for destroying the life of a fourteen year old in retaliation for her Mom’s attendence at a Yankees game.

    I guess you and I sorta agree that she deserves our outrage. Where we diverge is that I actually am outraged and you appear to deny your outrage because of something John McCain said eleven years earlier about 18yo Chelsea Clinton. You think a second, better apology to one of the aggrieved parties would do, I say it should be adjudicated as an infraction of well established law and penalties and damages should be calculated and levied.

    In my opinion, Mr. Letterman has gone over the line and those who went after Don Imus, Janet Jackson, et al. seem to be giving Mr. Letterman a pass and you seem to be one of them. Pedophilia, rape and teenage sex are not humorous topics and when applied by Mr. Letterman to real 14 year old girl and a professional baseball player on national tv should cause the initiation of a real investigation backed by real prosecutors who neither live in glass houses nor are afraid to throw the appropriate stones.

    Because you cannot justify letting Mr. Letterman, with his “grossly inadequate” apology, off the hook, you accuse me of being hypocritical for not being outraged at other incidents. Of course you offer no evidence to back that up, only a prejudicial stereotype you feel comfortable with slinging. I can hear it now… “Dave is just a conservative, so I don’t actually explain why Mr. Letterman shouldn’t face real legal action…”

    But, I accuse you of agreeing that outrage is deserved in this case, but of denying Willow and the Yankees the benefit of your outrage because you dislike her mother, her running mate, and their political party. Politics trumps outrage for you, and your words in this thread are my evidence.

    1. Hello again dave-

      This will be the last word on the topic of Letterman and his stupid joke- as I think we’ve pretty much hashed this out at this point- nothing productive is going to come from the continuing back and forth.

      With that being said, I feel you are grossly over-reacting to Letterman’s joke. It was a joke, dude. Lighten up. It was in poor taste, and Willow Palin deserves a bona fide heartfelt apology.

      Her world, however, has not come to an end. Her life is not ruined. The Yankees have not been victimized, and quite frankly, your complete and total outrage to the exclusion of all else is completely over the top.

      When looked at in comparison to what is occuring in the rest of this country- right wing extremists resorting to domestic acts of terrorism and killing people, the death of the GOP and the party’s insistence on trying to take everyone in this nation down with them, the hatred, the closed-minded hate mongering, the very real epidemic of teenage pregnancy, the two wars we’re struggling to wage in the middle east , the dying economy(just to name a few)…

      … this Letterman nonsense pales in comparison to those much more pressing issues.

      The point of my post was simply hypocrisy. How it’s ok for some people, provided their political beliefs are “right” to disparage others, but not ok for someone who doesn’t fit that mold to do the same.

      Period.

      If you don’t like the point I was making, perhaps you should make some personal changes and make certain it is not YOU I was describing when I wrote it.

      Otherwise, if that’s not something you’re interested in doing, feel free to take your vitriol elsewhere.

      Take care, and thanks again for weighing in.

  7. “The fact that you compare your daughter’s horrific victimization to the inappropriate joke told by a late night talk show host shows that you understand the full impact of your daughter’s traumatizing experience far less than you claim to. “

    I would assume that you sided with Lori Drew in the Megan Meier suicide case. Meier’s humiliation was neither an actual assault nor public – far less than what either you, Willow, or my daughter experienced – but had tragic results. There was the Jesse Logan tragedy – no assault, just humiliation within her peer group. There are many cases like this, and I am outraged at all of them.

    As a first hand victim, you should know better than to assume a crude joke pairing a 14 year old girl and a nationally recognized baseball player in a sex act during the seventh inning stretch of a Major League Baseball game at Yankees stadium will die down soon in a small Alaska town.

    You don’t get a second chance at a good first impression and Willow will forever have the Letterman stain upon her national reputation which should be as pure as the driven snow. People are mean and for her, it will never die.

    A-Rod and the Yankees too, although tougher and infinitely more jaded than Willow, have acquired through no fault of their own a rap for being potential pedophiles. This is wrong on many levels. The Yankees have a responsibility to denounce Mr. Letterman on behalf of their players and those who are their invited guests to watch them play.

    Mr. Steinbrenner should personally take Mr. Letterman to task and demand he and all the affiliates who aired the segment forfeit the advertising revenue they derived.

    1. @dave-

      I want to address your comments about my experience with sexual assault, and as it pertains to Letterman’s stupid joke:

      You state, “As a first hand victim, you should know better than to assume a crude joke pairing a 14 year old girl and a nationally recognized baseball player in a sex act during the seventh inning stretch of a Major League Baseball game at Yankees stadium will die down soon in a small Alaska town. ”

      I assert that it is precisely BECAUSE I was victimized (I am no one’s victim) that I feel the way I feel.

      After what I went through- being raped, fighting the judicial system when I pressed charges (and ultimately won a conviction), and dealing with the press- as I was raped by a big-wig football player in a small college town- it was big news- I would rather live through a MILLION off-color David Letterman jokes at my expense than go through that process again.

      The experience itself was bad enough. The stigma I will personally carry for the rest of my life is a hundred times worse.

      It is because I am a survivor of both sexual assault and the judicial system that I can say, unequivically, that David Letterman’s joke pales in comparison to what both your daughter and myself experienced.

      I never claimed to support Letterman or his joke. I simply wish to put it all in perspective. There are worse things that could have happened to Willow Palin, and there are worse things that are currently happening in this world today.

      There are varying degrees of tragedy, and in the big scheme of things, this is small potatoes.

      With regards to the Meghan Meier situation, I sided then, as I do now, with Meghan Meier. I do believe Lori Drew was criminally negligent, and ultimately contributed to the suicide of a minor.

      Her constant barrage of abuse, aimed at Meghan Meier was the ultimate straw that broke the camel’s back, causing that poor child to make the decision to end her life.

      To compare Letterman’s stupid comments to such a tragic situation is like comparing apples to oranges.

      At this point, what is causing the majority of the damage in Willow Palin’s life is not the joke David Letterman made, but Sarah Palin’s unwillingness to let it go, for the sake of her daughter’s privacy and sanity.

      She seems to require having the last word… even at her own child’s expense.

      People recognize that Letterman made an unfair statement about Willow, so your statement about people only getting one chance to make a good first impression is nonsense.

      There is not a single person in this country (at least not one that possesses a modicum of intelligence) that assumes that because of David Letterman’s off-color joke, Willow Palin is therefore some kind of tainted whore.

      Her reputation is not ruined. On the contrary, she has the support of an entire nation. Something Meghan Meier, Jesse Logan, your daughter and myself lack.

      Your daughter and I have survived something that in some ways is worse than death.

      Willow Palin will be just fine.

  8. I don’t see where Willow has been harmed. The joke was clearly targeted against her older sister. Who cares anyway?

    1. Hi Yankee-

      I think, as evidenced by the media coverage of this David Letterman stuff, that a lot of people care.

      Whether they should or not is questionable, but regardless, it is what it is.

      In my most recent post, I make mention of the fact that I got hundreds of hits on this particular post… and people seem to be way more outraged about David Letterman’s stupid joke than they are about countless other tragedies occuring under our very eyes.

      It’s pretty sad, but there you have it.

      Thanks for stopping by.

  9. “Can you imagine, for example, had Conan O’Brien quipped, during Michelle Obama’s recent trip to London with her daughters, that Sasha (or Malia- pick a kid), had been knocked up by Hugh Grant?”

    But that joke would make no sense. Sasha or Malia are like 8 years old, neither of them having pre-marital sex and pregnant by their boyfriends while their father preaches ‘abstinence only’.

    1. Hi angela-

      You are absolutely correct. My statement about Sasha and Malia was a lame attempt on my part to be fair- but I agree with you.

      Sarah Palin exposed her own hypocrisy on the campaign trail by pimping out her teenage, unwed, pregnant daughter… and then somehow trying to convince the world that in spite of what befell her own family, abstinence is still a realistic means of avoiding teenage pregnancy.

      Talk about convoluted.

      She touted her own version of “do as I say, not as I do”, and managed to fall flat on her face in the process.

      I’m with you on this one!

      Thanks for weighing in!

    1. @angela-

      If our country’s situation weren’t so dire, wouldn’t this mess be humorous?

      To imagine that a moose-huntin’, backwoods hypocrite like Palin is a threat to people like Barack Obama is laughable.

      Unfortunately for the conservs, that’s exactly what we’re doing right now- laughing.

      What makes me feel threatened isn’t Sarah Palin… it’s the nut jobs people like Palin are successfully inciting to violence throughout our nation.

      It’s a shame, and it should be criminal, what some of these folks are attempting to do.

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