Thursday, March 4, 2010

Letterman And Palin-Dave Still Doesn't Get It

I wrote in January that given Letterman had stopped running his "Things more fun than reading Sarah Palin's book" nightly slot and had toned down his anti-Palin remarks in his monologue that perhaps it was time for Palin to consider appearing on his show. He had apologized three times for the particularly offensive remarks about her daughter and, given Palin's forgiving Christian nature, perhaps the time had come for a new start between them.

There would be considerable advantages to both as well I posited. The audience for Palin’s guest spot would break all records and both would benefit from the exposure.

Since the article was written Leno has replaced Conan in the late night slot and has, with much wisdom, had Sarah as an opening week guest. All that would have happened for Letterman has happened for Leno with the resulting massive audience uptake. Palin, on top of bringing eyeballs, gave an outstanding bravura performance mixing self deprecating humor with common sense politics. Her spot left arch critics like Behar flailing and more cerebral critics like Jon Stewart being positive-even the mad anti-Palinites struggled to find anything deprecating to say.

Letterman chose to have Romney as his guest at the same time Palin was on Leno-with the, as expected, ratings result being hugely in Leno's favor. Jon Stewart mercilessly compared the two Republicans and his analysis was not kind to Mitt. You would think that someone of Letterman's intelligence and years of experience would look at the situation (if not him then at least is advisors) and surmise that if he made an heartfelt outreach, on a personal level, to Palin that a genuine, person to person dialogue might smooth things over and bring her to his show.

But no, his response on his next show was to go straight back into the attack mode ( and on such a petty level) "New York Gov. David Paterson said he will not run for election but he will serve his full term. He's going to finish his term. He's going to keep being governor till the very end. Did you hear that, Sarah? Till the end. He's going to continue to be the governor till the very end." As if the two situations are remotely comparable-Paterson did not have a bunch of Democratic operatives doing all they could to bankrupt him and disrupt the legislative process in New York.

It seems that Letterman has let his ego get the better of him and he can't admit to himself that he was wrong about Palin. He is not used to someone getting the better of him (did his beating down McCain after McCain stood him up during the election campaign make Letterman believe no one will cross him again?).This short-sightedness has made him blow a fantastic opportunity to get massive ratings and show a better character. He can go all anti-Palin he wants but it will have no effect as the public recognises the reason for his comments and have seen the true side of her character on Leno's show.

There is only one winner in this situation and it isn't Letterman-how's that attack Palin thing working out for ya ratings wise Dave?

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