Friday, October 02, 2009


A Top 10 Day For Sarah Palin

Sarah Palin must live a blessed life -- and not just because her new book is already #1 on the bestseller list, before it's even been released.

Thursday evening, her erstwhile nemesis David Letterman confesses that he's been the Horndog King of Late Night all these years: "I have had sex with women who worked for me on this show."

Dave? Our Dave with the toothy boyish grin? The guy who always joked about never getting girls? The one who -- when announcing that he was going to be a father with his long-time girlfriend -- said that, "I know what you're thinking -- Dave's had sex?" To make things sound even creepier, he used almost the exact same joke on Thursday: "I know what you're saying. I'll be darned, Dave had sex."

Well, after Thursday's show, all of Dave's viewers know that, not only has he had sex -- the 60-something guy has had a lot of sex and with not just one woman who works for him. How many? We don't know yet, but anything more than one or two opens Letterman up to accusations that he was taking advantage of his job as the Big Boss to prey on his female employees.

Right now, Letterman has presented himself as the victim: He was allegedly being extorted by a CBS employee who threatened to publicize all these activities if Letterman didn't pay him $2 million. He may well be the victim. But if even one of these other women suggests that she felt pressured to enter a relationship with Letterman because he was her boss, well, it's all over. He will look like a serial harasser -- even if he only "harassed" one woman.

But, now let's bring it back to Sarah Palin. The two engaged in a heated war of words this summer when he made jokes about Eliot Spitzer "hitting" on a Palin daughter, during a visit to New York. He followed that up with another joke about Alex Rodriguez "knocking up" a Palin daughter. As it happened, Letterman ended up having to apologize twice because he first tried to pass it off as if Palin was just confused as to what the joke was about. Then, it became very clear that there was real ambiguity as to which daughter he was referring to. The one who got pregnant was Bristol; the one who had accompanied her on a New York trip was the 14-year old Willow.

In fact, after Letterman gave his initial apology, we addressed a troubling underlying issue:

It's understandable that they could think he was making a joke about the daughter who did make the trip to New York or that Willow would think Letterman was talking about her. And Sarah Palin could be excused for feeling Letterman had it in for her, after Monday's "Top Ten" segment on the "Highlights of Sarah Palin's trip to New York City" included this line: "Bought make-up at Bloomingdale's to update her slutty flight attendant look."
Out of context, Letterman's "slutty flight attendant" look was, at the very least, tacky. Added to the other jokes at the Palins' expense and it begins to look like Letterman -- or his writers -- have some issues when it comes to women in general.
After finally giving a full apology, Letterman was given the benefit of the doubt because there had been no history of "issues with women in general" with him. But now there, arguably, does seem to be a real history. Sarah Palin's comment on the "Today" show that she might want to keep her 14-year old daughter away from Letterman -- and that he "should apologize to young women across the country" -- doesn't seem like such a cheap shot anymore.

Regardless of what people think about Palin ideologically, Letterman's confession last night suddenly puts their summer exchange in a completely different light. Just as her memoir is about to come out -- and this issue is likely to be a topic of whatever interviews she has to promote the book.

Life is blessed.

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