Democracy Soup

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Sarah Palin Is the One Who Is Subjecting Her Children to Public Scrutiny, Not David Letterman

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Originally published on on Fri, 06/12/2009 – 1:31pm

The Palin theory that Willow could not be mistaken for Bristol might be disproved when you see their family Christmas photo from 2007.

If you don’t think Sarah Palin is dangerous — and chances are, you are already do — what she and her husband Todd pulled off this week is just the latest chapter in “Which Palin family member will be sacrificed to make Sarah Palin look like a martyr.”

She got a significant percentage of the population to think David Letterman was actually making a sex joke about a 14-year-old girl and got Letterman to apologize profusely for something he never did.

Margaret Carlson of Bloomberg News put it best when talking to Keith Olbermann last night on “Countdown.”

“David Letterman did not drag the 14-year-old daughter into this. The Palins dragged the 14-year-old daughter into it. And it was absolutely egregious. And they obviously hunger for this kind of melodrama.”

Just about anybody — literally — understood that when Letterman made the jokes about Alex Rodriguez and Eliot Spitzer, he was talking about Bristol, not Willow. If by some chance you believe Willow was the target, the jokes don’t make sense, and Rodriguez and Spitzer would have excellent libel suits ready and willing to file against the late-night comedian.

But we haven’t heard from the Yankees 3rd baseman or the former New York governor. Why? Because they know who the joke was about, and it wasn’t about a 14-year-old girl.

The Palins claim that Willow was the target because she was the daughter who accompanied the Palins on the trip. If you believe Letterman had malice, let’s start with this theory of Willow vs. Bristol.

Gov. Palin and her husband Todd assumed that Letterman was paying great attention to the specifics of their visit. Even if Letterman did see a picture, which isn’t likely, but if he did, to be blunt, Willow looks like Bristol. If you remember the now-famous Christmas picture from late 2007, in looking at that picture, the two older sisters look very similar. Sisters often, but not always, look similar — the beauty of genetics.

This isn’t the first time Palin has held up one of her children for public ridicule when it wasn’t necessary. The governor dragged around Trig, the baby, despite the rigors of the odd hours and the TV lights on such a child. Her first major public act after it was announced that she was John McCain’s running mate was to throw her eldest daughter, Bristol, underneath the bus by announcing that she couldn’t be the mother of Trig because she was currently pregnant.

Again, who introduced Bristol to the limelight? Sarah Palin. Most politicians would have had the sense to tell the media that the underage children were none of their damn business, and should be off-limits. But again, Palin put Bristol into the spotlight, dragged her then-boyfriend from Alaska to show him off in St. Paul.

And Bristol was later thrust into the spotlight once again to preach about abstinence, something which she did not completely follow in her own path.

Let’s not forget the story of Track, the oldest child who was set at a hockey career, playing hockey in Western Michigan his senior year before a shoulder injury ended his season and he was flown back to Alaska. Shortly thereafter, Track was set to go off to Iraq via his National Guard unit. Now politicians do pump up the fact that their children are serving in war time, but the examples of McCain and Joe Biden are sharply more understated and more like what we are used to in terms of politicians and their kids in war.

Palin also threw in young Piper, the youngest daughter, trotting her out to a Philadelphia Flyers game during the school year, and implied that the boos aimed at the governor were actually aimed at a 7-year-old.

Oh, the subsequent therapy bills.

We can agree that jokes made about children of politicians, especially those underage kids, goes beyond decorum and taste. The reasoning is that they aren’t public figures and shouldn’t be subject to ridicule. Of course, this didn’t stop McCain in 1998 from making a tasteless joke about Chelsea Clinton.

And you might think that Letterman’s jokes about Bristol also fall in this category. Letterman does point out that Bristol is of age (18), and while that is legal, the jokes could still be in poor taste.

In Letterman’s defense, Bristol has become a public figure on her own, whether that was being prodded by her mother or on her own free will, in support for abstinence. If she had stayed in the background, and worked hard not to make waves, especially in a hypocritical fashion such as promoting a behavior (abstinence) she herself did not do, the jokes would have been seen as being much worse.

This isn’t to say that misogyny should rule by any means, and that Letterman shouldn’t take some flak from his joke about the governor herself: “Bought makeup from Bloomingdale’s to update her “slutty flight attendant” look.”

But comedians make jokes about politicians, and politicians should develop thicker skin about themselves. The Alaskan governor could have learned a few tricks from her running mate, someone who is self-deprecating enough to know jokes come with the territory.

Contrary to Gov. Palin’s views on the subject, comedians don’t instinctively go after children of politicians. But no politician in modern memory has done more to unnecessarily expose their children to public scrutiny more than Sarah Palin, and this disturbing pattern sadly continues. If Sarah Palin is really concerned about the way the media treats her children — and there are serious doubts as to whether that is true — then she should address the person responsible for starting this mess. That person isn’t David Letterman, it’s Sarah Palin.


Written by democracysoup

June 12, 2009 at 1:31 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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