Levi Johnston Running For Mayor of Wasilla

Levi Johnston is running for mayor of the methamphetamine capital of Alaska to follow in the footsteps of his almost mother-in-law. This is for a planned reality television show, but Levi does say he will fulfill the duties of mayor if elected mayor of Wasilla. Variety reports:

Levi Johnston is setting his sights on the dysfunctional family business.

Johnston will run for mayor of Wasilla, Alaska — yes, the same job that propelled Sarah Palin to governor of that state (and later, the vice presidential nomination) — in a new reality project being pitched by Stone and Co.

“Loving Levi: The Road to the Mayor’s Office” will center on Johnston’s newfound fame as the baby daddy to Palin’s grandson, Tripp.

Johnston will trade on that notoriety to make his run for Wasilla City Hall — when he’s not pursuing a career in Hollywood, of course.

Stone and Co. are already shooting the show’s pilot and have started pitching the show to networks.

Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston Have Reunited

We now know why Levi Johnston recently apologized to Sarah Palin and her family. He apparently wanted to patch things up with his future mother-in-law before the news came out that he was marrying Bristol. Even Levi and Bristol aren’t sure how she will take the news that the two secretly got back together:

Now comes the hard part: Getting the blessing of Sarah Palin, who has made no secret of her feelings for Levi. He provoked her fury last fall when he claimed that she had called her infant son Trig (who has Down syndrome) “retarded.” She fired back, telling reporters that anyone who posed for Playgirl would “say and do anything for even more attention.” Later, during an interview with Oprah Winfrey, she dubbed him “Ricky Hollywood” and called his “aspiring porn” career “heartbreaking.”

Says Bristol, “It is intimidating and scary just to think about what her reaction is going to be. Hopefully she will jump on board.”

We might never know what she is saying in private, but the political part of her has to be happy, or at least desire to act happy:

The Palins released a statement on the Today show Wednesday morning: “Bristol at 19 is now a young adult. We obviously want what’s best for our children. Bristol believes in redemption and forgiveness to a degree most of us struggle to put in practice in our daily lives.”

After all, having Bristol and Levi married ends any political difficulties which might arise from having had an unwed teenage mother as a daughter (not that this was ever the real reason for opposing Sarah Palin). By 2012 it is doubtful that Levi’s criticism of Sarah will make much of a difference.

Oh, and good luck to the young couple. Our beef has always been with what Sarah Palin stands for–not with Bristol. However, if the urge to make fun of them becomes irresistible, check out the wedding invitation at FrumForum.

Update: It didn’t last, with rumors that Levi knocked up another girl.

Republican Fight Double Feature: Palin v. Limbaugh and Gingrich v. Club for Growth

As a general rule of thumb Republicans are totally inept at governing, but are a highly effective opposition party. On the other hand, Democrats do a far better (even if not perfect) job of governing, but cannot match the Republicans in a dirty political fight. It is great to see the Republicans occasionally battle each other. We have two such battles at present with Sarah Palin vs. Rush Limbaugh and Newt Gingrich vs. The Club For Growth.

At least Sarah Palin is showing some degree of consistency in attacking Rush Limbaugh for a “retard” comment after calling on Rahm Emanuel to be fired after he called strategy of some liberals on health care reform “f–king retarded.”

The cases aren’t entirely analogous.  Palin responded on her own to Emanuel’s comment but only showed this consistency in criticizing Limbaugh through a spokesperson when asked about this. Still, it is good to see the two fighting in this manner. There is also a difference between Emanuel using an insult such as this against fellow Democrats in the heat of an argument and Limbaugh calling a meeting of advocates for the mentally handicapped  a “retard summit at the White House.”

Of course, if we can believe Levi Johnston, Sarah Palin also joked about her “retarded baby.” I guess she’ll have to demand that she resign. Oh wait…

Meanwhile the Club For Growth is attacking Newt Gingrich for supporting Republicans who are not as extreme as they are. Gingrich was campaigning for Utah Senator Bob Bennett while the Club for Growth is working to defeat him:

“I wish the Club for Growth would spend as much time and energy to defeat liberal Democrats as they do dividing Republicans,” Gingrich told a crowd at Bennett’s formal campaign launch, according to the Deseret News. “I try to defeat liberal Democrats. I don’t spend much time trying to defeat Republicans.”

That prompted the influential conservative group to take a shot at Gingrich for backing “ultra-liberal” Dede Scozzafava in last year’s special election in New York’s 23rd district. The moderate Scozzafava quit the race after being harangued by conservative activists who supported Doug Hoffman. Democrat Bill Owens eventually won the race.

“Newt has proven time and again that he will support any Republican, regardless of policies and principles,” said Club president Chris Chocola in a statement. “That’s his right, but the Club for Growth PAC puts principles over party,”

“Newt was wrong about New York-23, and he’s wrong about Utah,” Chocola continued. “And pretty soon, Bennett will wish Newt never gave him the kiss of Dede.”

Actually Gingrich was right about New York-23 as the Club for Growth’s strategy led to the Republicans losing a Congressional seat which they had held for a century. See, good things do happen when the Republicans fight among themselves.

Book Provides More Stories About Palin

Scott Conroy and Shushannah Walshe followed Sarah Palin during the 2008 election campaign and have published their account in an upcoming book, Sarah from Alaska. CNN has described some of the items in the book, such as this report about Palin on election night:

According to a copy of the book obtained by CNN, Palin’s speechwriter Matthew Scully had prepared a brief speech for the then-Alaska governor to deliver while introducing McCain, before he gave his concession speech at the Arizona Biltmore Hotel in Phoenix. But after conferring in his suite with senior advisers Mark Salter, Rick Davis and Steve Schmidt, McCain nixed the idea of having Palin speak before him.


Schmidt then broke the news to Palin. But she told no one on her staff, the authors write, setting off a series of staff miscommunications that went unresolved until moments before McCain took the stage to concede the election.

Palin did not inform her adviser Jason Recher, who was planning out Palin’s movements that night, about Schmidt’s directive.

“I’m speaking,” Palin told him, according to the book. “I’ve got the remarks. Figure it out.”

Palin’s deputy chief of staff Chris Edwards, meanwhile, was also unaware that Palin had been told she was not to speak. Edwards, ready to load the speech into teleprompter, bumped into Schmidt, who told him McCain would be speaking alone. Edwards relayed Schmidt’s order to Palin, but she once again did not let on that Schmidt had already spoken to her.

The governor could not understand why she was not being allowed to speak. “This speech is great,” she said, according to the authors. “It’s all about how John McCain’s an American hero.”

The confusion continued until the final minutes before the concession speech, when Palin – still shuffling through her speech notes – gathered with McCain, family members and senior staff outside McCain’s villa at the resort.

Sensing uncertainty, Salter finally put his foot down. “You’re not speaking,” the longtime McCain adviser told Palin. “John has decided it’s unprecedented.”

Other incidents mentioned include how the McCain team used flash cards to bring Palin “up to speed on foreign affairs and major national issues.” This included a card to teach her that the Prime Minister of Great Britain is Gordon Brown. During the campaign she wanted to bring up Jeremiah Wright, believing it would help prevent the defeat which had become inevitable the day McCain chose Palin. Apparently Palin wanted very badly to win, on one occasion being quoted as saying, “I just don’t want to go back to Alaska.” Perhaps that foreshadowed her eventual resignation as governor.

November 3, 2009
Posted: November 3rd, 2009 08:03 AM ET

Palin was concerned about the cost of the wardrobe that was purchased for her during the campaign, according to the new book.

Palin was concerned about the cost of the wardrobe that was purchased for her during the campaign, according to the new book.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Tensions within John McCain’s presidential campaign boiled over on Election Night last November when Sarah Palin, McCain’s running mate, repeatedly ignored directions from senior staffers who told her she would not be delivering her own concession speech.

Those fresh details on the conflict between Palin and members of the McCain team come in a new book – “Sarah from Alaska” – by Scott Conroy and Shushannah Walshe, two members of the press corps that traveled with Palin during the 2008 presidential race. The pair spent much of the following year reporting on the campaign turmoil and the vice presidential nominee’s difficult return to Alaska after the election.

According to a copy of the book obtained by CNN, Palin’s speechwriter Matthew Scully had prepared a brief speech for the then-Alaska governor to deliver while introducing McCain, before he gave his concession speech at the Arizona Biltmore Hotel in Phoenix. But after conferring in his suite with senior advisers Mark Salter, Rick Davis and Steve Schmidt, McCain nixed the idea of having Palin speak before him.

Schmidt then broke the news to Palin. But she told no one on her staff, the authors write, setting off a series of staff miscommunications that went unresolved until moments before McCain took the stage to concede the election.

Palin did not inform her adviser Jason Recher, who was planning out Palin’s movements that night, about Schmidt’s directive.

“I’m speaking,” Palin told him, according to the book. “I’ve got the remarks. Figure it out.”


Levi Johnston To Pose For Playgirl

If Sarah Palin does run for president there will be plenty of valid reasons for voting against her, and she will also have to deal with a lot of other nuisance matters. The latest out of the Palin Place soap opera is that Levi Johnston is planning to pose for Playgirl. To prepare for this he is “training three hours a day, six nights a week at an Anchorage gym with a local body builder.”

This follows multiple  magazine and television interviews of Johnston. Have we ever had another case of someone so lacking in real abilities becoming such a celebrity for accomplishing nothing other than knocking up a teenage girl?

Update: Since posting I’ve heard from a few readers that Playgirl ceased publication around January and is now a web-only magazine. His “achievement” now sounds even less significant as it amounts to posing nude on line. There is also some question as to what percentage of viewers are female.

Levi Johnston’s News From Palin Place

Vanity Fair has some excerpts an upcoming story in which Levi Johnston discussed living in Palin Place:

The Palin house was much different from what many people expect of a normal family, even before she was nominated for vice president. There wasn’t much parenting in that house. Sarah doesn’t cook, Todd doesn’t cook—the kids would do it all themselves: cook, clean, do the laundry, and get ready for school. Most of the time Bristol would help her youngest sister with her homework, and I’d barbecue chicken or steak on the grill…

Sarah told me she had a great idea: we would keep it a secret—nobody would know that Bristol was pregnant. She told me that once Bristol had the baby she and Todd would adopt him. That way, she said, Bristol and I didn’t have to worry about anything. Sarah kept mentioning this plan. She was nagging—she wouldn’t give up. She would say, “So, are you gonna let me adopt him?” We both kept telling her we were definitely not going to let her adopt the baby. I think Sarah wanted to make Bristol look good, and she didn’t want people to know that her 17-year-old daughter was going to have a kid.

The Daily Dish is excited over the second paragraph:

So, according to Levi, Governor Palin was very, very interested in avoiding embarrassment for her daughter – and a political problem – by passing off someone else’s child as her own and adopting him. This kid’s name was Tripp. But this exercise is called “proof of principle.” If anyone believed that Palin wasn’t nutty enough to try to pass off her own daughter’s baby as her own, they need to reassess.

I could see where Andrew Sullivan’s blog would see some vindication in this. It supports his theory but still doesn’t prove anything. It is even possible that Johnston got some ideas from Sullivan. Besides, the question was never whether it was possible that Sullivan was right but that he seemed overly preoccupied with the issue. After all, if Palin had adopted a daughter’s child to avoid family scandal, this would be the least of all the reasons to vote against her.

Johnston also had some comments related to Palin’s decision to step down as governor:

Sarah was sad for a while. She walked around the house pouting. I had assumed she was going to go back to her job as governor, but a week or two after she got back she started talking about how nice it would be to quit and write a book or do a show and make “triple the money.” It was, to her, “not as hard.” She would blatantly say, “I want to just take this money and quit being governor.” She started to say it frequently, but she didn’t know how to do it. When she came home from work, it seemed like she was more and more stressed out.

Levi Johnston Cites Marital Problems As Reason For Palin Resignation

In the latest installment in the Palin Place soap opera, Levi Johnston has told Radar Online that he believes that martial problems were behind Palin’s resignation but he does not believe that having affairs was a factor as was recently rumored:

Sarah Palin’s marriage has been in trouble from the beginning, says Levi Johnston, the father of their grandson Tripp and ex-fiance of daughter Bristol.

What’s more Levi told RadarOnline.com in an exclusive video interview that he believes marital problems were behind Palin’s decision to resign as governor of Alaska.

When we asked if the couple had marital problems, Levi responded: “Oh yeah. There have been from day one.”

RadarOnline.com then asked if Levi thought marital problems were the reason she stepped down from political office. Levi answered, “Oh yeah I do.”

He didn’t stop there. He also told RadarOnline.com that he thinks Palin will be chasing an even bigger paycheck now that she’s out of public office and on the speaker circuit.  “She took the money,” he said. “That’s what she’s talked about, that’s what I’m gathering and I think that’s what she’s doing.”

He did add that he did not believe cheating was a factor in Sarah and Todd’s marriage.

Top 10 Reasons Sarah Palin’s “Outrage” is Misplaced and A Little Late…

It took only a few moments with Google to demonstrate that David Letterman was hardly alone in making jokes about Bristol Palin’s pregnancy. I didn’t even think of searching for jokes about the younger daughter, but it turns out there have been some by other comedians. As all of these jokes are in poor taste I didn’t really want to be the first to post such a collection, but Shannyn Moore has now posted such a compilation at Huffington Post:

Top 10 Reasons Sarah Palin’s “Outrage” is Misplaced and A Little Late…

10) Last September, a skit on Saturday Night Live suggested incest in the Palin family. “What about the husband?” asked a mock Times reporter. “You know he’s doing those daughters. I mean, come on. It’s Alaska!” No outrage. Sarah Palin appeared on the show one month later in late October.

9) Days after the announcement of Bristol’s pregnancy, Conan O’Brien joked, “It’s true, John McCain’s running mate, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, has revealed that her 17-year-old daughter is pregnant. Palin said, ‘We should never have introduced her to John Edwards.'” Where was the outrage? Was Conan promoting infidelity with an underage girl?

8 ) From two different Tonight Shows: “Governor Palin announced over the weekend that her 17-year-old unmarried daughter is five months pregnant. Oh, boy, you thought John Edwards was in trouble before, now he’s really done it!” AND…”All the Republicans are heaping praise on Governor Palin. Fred Thompson said, as an actor, he could see them making a movie about Sarah Palin and her family. Didn’t they already make that movie? I think it was called ‘Knocked Up!'”–Jay Leno

7) Craig Ferguson’s skit of “Larry King vs Levi Johnston” asks about “kinky sex” with the drapes open. Craig Ferguson’s honorary Alaska citizenship, granted by Governor Palin wasn’t rescinded.

6) “According to expense reports, Sarah Palin charged the state of Alaska over $21,000 for her children to travel with her on official business. In fairness to Gov. Palin, when she leaves them home alone they get pregnant.” –Seth Meyers (SNL). Sarah Palin was in a sketch with Meyers a week earlier.

5) On October 8, 2008, Sarah Palin walked out on the ice with six year old Piper and 13 year old Willow, before the game, Conan O’Brien said, “Saturday night, Sarah Palin is going to drop the first puck at the Philadelphia Flyers’ hockey game. Then Palin will spend the rest of the game trying to keep the hockey players out of her daughter’s penalty box.”
Oh, yes he did. You get the outrage…but not a peep then. According to the new “logic”, O’Brien was advocating for some really sick stuff.

4) Rush Limbaugh: “Everyone knows the Clintons have a cat. Socks is the White House cat. But did you know there is a White House dog?” Limbaugh put up a picture of Chelsea Clinton. At the time, Chelsea Clinton was 13 years old. Rush also said, “In last year’s campaign, the most prominent, articulate voice for standard run-of-the-mill good old-fashioned American conservatism was Sarah Palin.” Calling a young teenager a “dog” can’t be helpful to her “self-esteem.” Where is the apology from the leader of the GOP?

3) “Why is Chelsea Clinton so ugly? Because her father is Janet Reno.”–John McCain, Sarah Palin’s running mate. Should McCain apologize to every young woman in America?

2) Palin’s friend, political defender and informer of the David Letterman comments, John Ziegler, was fired from his radio show for using the “n-word” online and on air in 1997. In 2000, he was fired for spelling the “n-word” on the air. How much does that word affect the psychological health of America’s youth, regardless of their race? Now he is pimping his film about how mean the “liberal media” was to Sarah Palin.

AND…The NUMBER 1 REASON Sarah Palin’s Outrage is Misplaced and A Little Late…

1) The “candidate who must be obeyed” was talking about Palin’s family when he said, “Kids are off limits.” Jake Tapper of ABC News interviewed then Candidate Obama, and asked, “Governor Palin and her husband issued a statement today saying their 17-year-old daughter Bristol, who is unmarried, is five months pregnant. Do you have any reaction?”

OBAMA: “I have said before and I will repeat again, I think people’s families are off-limits. And people’s children are especially off-limits. This shouldn’t be part of our politics. It has no relevance to Governor Palin’s performance as a governor or her potential performance as a vice president. And so I would strongly urge people to back off these kinds of stories. You know, my mother had me when she was 18. And, you know, how family deals with issues and — and, you know, teenaged children, that shouldn’t be the topic of — of our politics.”

The Palin children have been fodder for comedians since they were brought to the national stage. Incest isn’t funny. Ugly kid jokes aren’t funny. Many of the things said about public figures are just flat wrong. Being “knocked up” isn’t much fun. Racist comments hurt all of us. I exhausted the top 10 list before I ran out of outrageous instances ignored by the Palins.

The National Organization for Women named David Letterman to their Hall of Shame. Will Letterman be joining Jay Leno? Conan O’Brien? Craig Ferguson? Seth Myers? Rush Limbaugh? Or John McCain? Of course not! I guess N.O.W. didn’t bother checking Sarah Palin’s “feminist” credentials. All across America, right wing radio and television talk show hosts feigned outrage in perfect synchronicity. The same people who back up Palin’s high drama assertions against Letterman ignored the connections between Bill O’Reilly’s irresponsible incitement and the murder of Dr. George Tiller. David Letterman, a late night entertainer, apologized. Fox New’s Bill O’Reilly has not.

As a parent, I understand being defensive. I just wonder what took so long. Why now?

Why now? The answer is simple. The right wing “outrage” has nothing to do with feminism and certainly nothing to do with jokes about Palin’s children. The right wing blogs were attacking Letterman over a Sarah Palin joke after Monday’s show before they realized they could attract more attention by falsely claiming Letterman was joking about Palin’s minor daughter as opposed to Bristol Palin. While Letterman’s joke was clearly about Bristol, other jokes above were not. While Letterman’s latest joke was about Bristol Palin after turning 18, and after she has been appearing in public speaking about her pregnancy, it is also notable that the above jokes were at the time about Palin’s 17-year-old daughter.

While the jokes were in poor taste, as even David Letterman admitted, they hardly deserved the attention they received–unless the attackers have other motives for their attacks. This controversy is just another in a long string of examples of how the authoritarian right opposes freedom of speech and desires to silence anyone who disagrees with their reactionary agenda, and lying about what others have said is a frequent tactic which they employ.

Sarah Palin Continues To Drag Daughter Through Mud For Political Gain


The controversy over the poor taste of a few of David Letterman’s recent jokes continues to receive attention in the media and blogosphere, but the actual jokes have become overshadowed by the manner in which Sarah Palin has decided to sacrifice the good of her children for political gain, along with the mob mentality expressed by many on the right wing.

In the most benign reaction from the right, ditto heads repeat endlessly how Letterman’s jokes were in poor taste. True, but this is hardly worth spending any more time on. Everyone agrees that the jokes were in poor taste. Even Letterman agrees that he should not have told the ones about Bristol Palin (but he sticks by the reference to Sarah Palin as looking like a slutty flight attendant).

The controversy began over the slutty flight attendant joke and it wasn’t until later in the night that some dishonest right wing bloggers realized they could get millage from a joke about Bristol Palin’s pregnancy.  They realized the benefit from whining about a joke about Bristol was limited. While it might not be in good taste, tasteless jokes are commonplace on late night television. Jay Leno, Conan O’Brian, Jimmy Kimmel and Craig Ferguson have all told jokes about Sarah Palin and about Bristol Palin’s pregnancy. With Bristol Palin now appearing in public, including at a recent public event in New York, right or wrong she will be considered fair game by the late night comics. The bloggers came up with a way to smear Letterman over this with blatantly untrue claims that the joke about a daughter getting knocked up was not about the daughter who had actually been pregnant but about Palin’s 14 year old daughter Willow.

The right wing bloggers who started this smear campaign have no interest in either feminism or in defending a child such as Willow Palin. In actuality they are doing the opposite as it is the right wing bloggers, not David Letterman, who are responsible for dragging Willow Palin through the mud. Letterman did not mention Willow Palin, did not tell a joke about a 14 year old, and did not tell a joke about rape as the right wingers are claiming. If it is wrong to tell a joke about a 14 year old being raped, it is also wrong to make false accusations that Letterman did this.

The whole issue could have died when Letterman explained the jokes and invited Sarah and Todd Palin onto the show. Instead Sarah Palin decided to sacrifice the good of her children by continuing to drag Willow Palin through the mud in order to gain politically. While David Letterman never told a joke about raping a fourteen year old, Sarah Palin told such a joke about raping her own daughter.

Perhaps Palin’s initial bizarre reaction could be overlooked as the reaction of a mother who was mislead by the right wing bloggers into thinking that her daughter was under attack. Her behavior is even harder to justify after she went on television today to continue to both attack Letterman and repeat the false claims about what he said, again showing that she places her political gain over the best interests of her children (video above). I would think that Willow would prefer that her own mother stopped talking about her being raped on national television.

This is no longer a matter of the inappropriateness of Letterman’s jokes. It has become a prime example of the mob mentality of the authoritarian right as they attempt to shout down anyone who attempts to criticize or joke about their reactionary views.

Sarah Palin has no qualms about spreading lies which keep her 14 year old daughter in the news, or even joking about her, if she thinks it will help her politically. We know that relations between Palin and the McCain camp were not very good by election day, but perhaps she should listen to the advice of  a couple of McCain advisers:

“If the right goes after Letterman they make him look big and themselves small,” says Mark McKinnon, a campaign advisor to George W. Bush and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.). “It’s win-win for Letterman.”

Republican media consultant Fred Davis, a chief ad-maker for the McCain campaign, added: “I think it’s a mistake too many conservatives are making right now. They are trying to find anything to attack.”

Davis sought to downplay the egregiousness of the offending Letterman cracks, saying, “David apologized. He said it was over the line. He is a funny guy and his job is to do sarcastic humor. That’s his thing.”

James Walcott puts the reaction of the right into perspective:

Here it is Friday and outraged conservatives are hanging on to their outrage against David Letterman’s Palin mockery as if it were a mountain-climbing rope, hoping to get as much traction and leverage out of it as possible while the rest of the media, perversely, refuses to join in and ramp this up into another Imus pillorying. As mentioned before, I didn’t think much of Letterman’s (writers’) jokes about Sarah Palin and her daughter visiting Yankee Stadium, but I take Letterman at his word that the “knocked up” line about Alex Rodriguez and the daughter didn’t refer to 14-year-old Willow, and the followup crack was clearly directed at Elliot Spitzer’s libido, not the Palin girl’s wanton attractions. I agree with Margaret Carlson, even though it gives me an itchy sensation, that Sarah Palin is badly misplaying this by refusing to accept Letterman’s apology and invitation to appear on the show, instead calling for a torch-carrying peasant uprising to besiege Frankenstein’s castle (with Paul Shaffer lurching to one side in the role of Igor). Unless Obama appoints a Comedy Czar to reprimand and restrict Inappropriate Punchlines, humor is going slop over into bad taste or cheap stereotype, and making an immoderate to-do over this is comes across as opportunistic grandstanding–reveling in your own ire. There are comments sections in righty blogs where the posters vent their fantasies on how Todd Palin ought to violently handle this to defend Willow and Bristol’s honor–variations on smashing Letterman’s teeth down his throat or all over sidewalk, or busting him in the ‘nads–and pound home the word “rape” in their indictment of Letterman, accusing the host of condoning/promoting/making light of statutory rape, hitting the word hard over and over again as if hammering their fist into their palm. It’s clear they get off on the mental impact of what they insist their denouncing, like anti-porn advocates who wallow in every detail to make their case.

He does have some reasonable advice for Sarah Palin:

If I were Sarah Palin I’d get myself booked on Conan O’Brien’s marionette show, giving his ratings a surefire jolt at Dave’s expense, and then behave like Graciousness Itself, all smiles and tight-skirted sexpot dignity, not even deigning to mention Letterman by name. If Palin wants to be Madame Prez someday, she’s got to get out of that comfort zone known as the Fox News ghetto anywho.

Steve Benen points out that Palin gets into too many feuds:

Palin is in a feud with Letterman. She was in a feud with the organizers of the fundraising dinner for the Senate and House Republican campaign committees. When beauty pageant contestant Carrie Prejean made headlines, Palin decided to jump into the argument. The governor has been in a feud with her teenage daughter’s ex-fiance. Palin has even been in a feud with actress Ashley Judd.

Far be it for me to offer Sarah Palin advice, but I have a radical idea: maybe the governor can try an “above the fray” approach for a while?

Margaret Carlson also advises Palin against getting into a feud with Letterman:

Palin has spent much of her public life in feuds with the state legislature, with her ex-brother-in-law, with John McCain’s staff, with Levi Johnston’s family. An early fight with the chairman of Alaska’s Oil & Gas Commission paved the way to the governor’s office. She mostly wins, especially when the target is as easy, say, as a high-school dropout whose mother is under federal indictment. The Johnstons make the Palins look like Rockefellers.

But picking a fight with a trained comedian, refusing to accept his apology, and continuing to battle after the white flag is shown reveals a complete lack of political sophistication.

Letterman apologized at unprecedented length for a comment about Palin’s recent trip to New York. There was, he said, “One awkward moment for Sarah Palin at the Yankees, during the seventh-inning stretch, her daughter was knocked up by Alex Rodriguez.” To which the Palins shot back: “Laughter incited by sexually perverted comments made by a 62-year-old male celebrity aimed at a 14-year-old girl is… disgusting.”

Who said anything about a 14-year-old girl? Not Letterman. That would be… the Palins. It turns out it was Willow, not Bristol, who went to the baseball game. But who knew that until the Palins brought this “disgusting” comment so painful to their younger daughter to the attention of the 300 million people not tuned into David Letterman?

Letterman’s joke was indeed tasteless—he even owed A-Rod an apology. But I doubt there was another soul in the world who didn’t understand the joke to be about the older Palin daughter, who lapped Jamie Lynn Spears as the most famous pregnant teen in the world once she was trotted out at the Republican National Convention in August. Not that Bristol should have been left at home in the dark, but if you want a “zone of privacy” around your daughter, do you have her appear on stage with her then-fiancé hinting at prospects of a White House wedding waving to the crowd like Charles and Diana of the Klondike?

And exploiting Bristol as an unwed teen mother didn’t stop with the campaign. Back in Wasilla, where Bristol could have been sheltered and given space to rebuild her life, the Palins arranged to send her out like a vaudeville act, traveling the country to talk about teenage pregnancy under the sponsorship of Candie’s, a clothing company known for sexually provocative outfits for tweens…

Palin appears to be squandering her leftover fame from the campaign on staying famous, settling scores, making headlines over petty concerns, securing the cover of People magazine for Bristol. She could have been the keynoter at the Republicans’ biggest fundraiser of the year on Monday night but instead played a coy, will-she-or-won’t-she game for weeks.

So in the end, Palin spent a week when she could have given a substantive speech, laid out a political philosophy, or choosing the issues she wants to run on, deliberately misinterpreting a bad joke, in the process dragging yet another child into the celebrity scrum.

And by the way, isn’t making a federal case out of a tasteless joke exactly what the right wing loves to ridicule feminists for doing?

Michelle Renee saw the irony in Palin’s overreaction:

I sat back in my chair after reading this and thought, “Isn’t part of the problem 16 year olds getting pregnant?” Comedians joke around. They make fun. They find a hot button and push it. That is what they do and I personally love that they can take almost any topic, serious or not, and make me laugh about it.

Palin, on the other hand, is a comedian of a whole other kind. She doesn’t even know that what she is saying about Letterman while she herself is the one needing to apologize to young girls for her and her daughter’s example has many of us in stitches.

If anyone needs to look at what they have said that is a problem and has been a poor example to young girls, how about “I can see Russia from my house” or “My 16 year old daughter is pregnant”. I am not perfect and have made some really stupid choices in my lifetime. But to sit back, film an interview while a turkey is being slaughtered behind you, throw a baby shower for your teen daughter, babble on television trying to pretend you know anything about foreign policy like a badly operated puppet and then point fingers at Letterman and say he is the problem and needs to apologize…wow.

That is ignorance and denial I can’t help but laugh at while scratching my head wondering how the hell this women ever got on the McCain ticket in the first place.

We are still waiting for you to apologize, Ms. Palin. But we are not holding our breath.

While the primary motivation of the right wingers is to silence opposition to their views, as usual their arguments only resonate in the echo chamber of the far right. There is the danger that Letterman could suffer if those who are unaware of the facts believe the false claims being made about him. Fortunately the 2006 and 2008 elections showed that most Americans are no longer fooled by the endless string of distortions from the right wing. While conservatives are waging a fatwa and calling for the firing of Letterman (if not for more violent solutions), Letterman is beating The Tonight Show in the ratings for the first time in eight months. His unusual response of talking about the controversy demonstrated that, even if his act includes jokes which sometimes cross the line, he is basically a class act and the king of late night. The Scoop summarized why Letterman is on top and ended with a comment on his response to Sarah Palin:

Without going into laborious detail, regardless of your stance on his original inflammatory remarks, Letterman’s response to Palin can be categorized as deft and well-executed. It won’t hurt him. If nothing else, the summit just came into clearer view. The race to the top is really on, and in the end, the competition will be good for all involved.

The right wing smear campaigns are likely to “hurt” David Letterman about as much as repeated smears from the right hurt Barack Obama.

If John McCain Had Won The Election

What would things be like if John McCain had won the 2008 election? Walter Shapiro takes a look back at the imaginary first 100 days of the McCain presidency:

Asked about his testy relations with Congress during his lone prime-time press conference (which scored near-record low ratings) in late February, McCain retrieved one of his musty jokes from mothballs as he cracked, “To quote Chairman Mao, `It’s always darkest before it’s totally black.'” The beleaguered McCain congressional relations team printed up T-shirts, which they still periodically display on trips to Capitol Hill, with the inscription, “Is it totally black yet?” It is ironic that McCain, the first president elected directly from the Senate in 48 years and a legislator known for his willingness to work with Democrats in the quest for compromise, is well on his way to becoming the most veto-prone president since Harry Truman, casting 13 during his first 14 weeks in office.

Even if McCain had won the White House with a clear majority –– instead of becoming the second successive Republican president to take office after losing the popular vote –– he probably would have been hard-pressed to find common ground with congressional Democrats on the economy. The ideological fault lines have been deep, from the size of the economic stimulus package (McCain’s original $420 billion proposal prompted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to brand him “President McCheap”) to the administration’s laissez-faire attitude toward a looming General Motors bankruptcy and the almost certain dismemberment of Chrysler (the Detroit Free Press headlined, “McCain to City: Drop Dead”).

There’s a lot more, including what became of Sarah Palin and Meghan McCain:

Sarah Palin was, in theory, supposed to be McCain’s emissary to the Republican right. Instead, the Tina Fey lookalike spent most of her time negotiating with the tabloids, as the breakup of Bristol Palin’s engagement to Levi Johnston made OctoMom seem publicity-shy. In contrast, Meghan McCain has played against type, avoiding any unplanned appearances in the gossip columns, limiting herself to tweeting about visiting Girl Scout troops at the White House and announcing plans to write a book (all the proceeds will go to charity) about how young voters naturally gravitate toward grandfatherly presidents.