Thursday, February 16, 2012

David Letterman Signs Up Republicans

In an overwrought book review reeking of paranoia, the editors of Human Events wrote

They did it to Dan Quayle, they did it to George W. Bush, and they've done it to numerous other conservative politicians: liberal media talking heads and late-night comedians chortle repeatedly and relentlessly over their flubs, their gaffes, their errors -- and their alleged scandals, incompetence, and stupidity. The plan is to get the whole country laughing at the victim of this tactic, so that his effectiveness on the national stage is ended, and his political career in ruins. It worked with Quayle, and severely damaged Bush. But every now and then a conservative politician emerges who is courageous and intelligent enough to defeat this nasty and brutal assault.

The (alleged) victim to whom they were referring was not Mitt Romney, but Sarah Palin, who deserved, oh, about 150% of the criticism and ridicule she received.

Mitt Romney is another conservative, not subject to as much ridicule as was the governor of Alaska, who was plucked out of virtual obscurity to stand for election to an office to which the American people realized she was not qualified.     But Romney has been ridiculed, and not at all helpfully to those of us eager to see a liberal working majority in the nation's capital.

The culprit- and this word is far milder than deserved- is David Letterman.        I get it- Obama is cool, Romney is not; Obama can sing, Romney cannot.        But making the point by showing (video below) just how much a rube Mitt Romney is because he sings 'America the Beautiful' (a little off-key) in public is flat-out wrong.     And it smacks of the elitism conservatives, such as the editors of Human Events, delight in accusing liberals of.  

Romney wasn't moved to a spontaneous display of heartfelt patriotism.      He was currying favor with the crowd in a manner in which he would be inoculated from criticism, not unlike Barack Obama ending every speech with "and God Bless the United States of America."    (God will do so if and when He chooses.)     Or Senator Obama wearing on his lapel in 2008 an American flag pin, while John McCain, whom no one would ever accuse of a lack of patriotism (or African birth or Muslim preferences), found unnecessary.

Ridicule, however, is a no-lose proposition for Letterman.    He is guaranteed a few laughs and, if it indirectly advances the cause of congressional conservatives, he would suffer nothing worse than even bigger tax cuts from the Party of the 1%.  

A few days ago, Politico observed "as the president gears up for a reelection run that's going to struggle with independents and moderates, his team is looking to revive the cool appeal." Video of the President covering an Al Green hit works up to a point- until such time as it is contrasted with his likely opponent singing  (heaven forbid)  "America the Beautiful."      It reinforces in voters the myth that Hollywood (or Manhattan, in this case) is in bed with the Democratic Party and opposed to the values of ordinary Americans.       And that cannot end well.

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