Based on the ratings from last evening, David Letterman appears to be building a clear and steady ratings lead over Conan O'Brien as the Sarah Palin controversy along with some big name stars has helped Letterman cement his recent ratings gains. At the same time, Sarah Palin appears to be using the Letterman controversy to create some sort of values campaign issue. The reality is that both have emerged as gaining something from the controversy.
The truth is that comics tell many jokes, many of which may not always be in the best of taste. Sometimes cheap jokes get cheap laughs. And comedy cannot always be so concerned about hurt feelings. However, Palin's fight with Letterman doesn't appear as real genuine here, and certainly seems more contrived than anything. Palin also hoped to get some political mileage out of another David Letterman joke about her buying makeup at Bloomingdales to get that "slutty stewardess" look, but Palin failed to rally a mob of pitchfork carrying slutty stewardess types with this phony victim's rant as much as her phony victim's rant about the mild Alex Rodriguez joke garnered.
Palin's complaints about the Letterman joke appear to be more of the same old right wing culture smear politics that attempt to falsely blame popular culture for causing crimes such as rape just as much as those old 1930's smears by the old Ku Klux Klan against minorities, claiming that just the very presence of minorities contributes to rape. Whenever the far right wants to obfuscate an issue, they holler rape, much as some lunatic would holler fire in a crowded theatre hoping to create some havoc.
The fact of the matter is that Sarah Palin is a pretty insignificant politician that only speaks for a small fringe of supporters. And it is unclear whether she will even run for re-election for Alaska governor in 2010. However, odds are that she is putting together a presidential bid to nowhere for 2012. But at least David Letterman is laughing. His ratings are way up. And he is cementing a position as the new king of late night TV once again, which he lost a few years ago to Jay Leno as Conan O'Brien struggles to build a new audience for his 11:35 version of the TONIGHT SHOW.