David Letterman’s Next Move

June 18, 2009

Thanks to the recent flap between David Letterman and Sarah Palin over the joke he made about one of her daughters, some moms and/or dads may be having second thoughts about making a run for office. To his credit, Letterman has apologized, but it’s unfortunate that he made the remarks in the first place. Children of public figures should be off limits, and it’s a shame that they aren’t. Both Chelsea Clinton and Meghan McCain, for example, have been subjected to media commentary about their appearance.

In the Palin case, Letterman’s apology has been accepted, but the buzz continues. Should Letterman lose his job? Now that he has extended the olive branch, is he off the hook with women?

I’m as interested as the next person in healthy debate; however, my bigger concern centers on how this situation will affect tomorrow’s candidates, especially women and girls. For some insight, I turned to Susannah Wellford Shakow, of Running Start, which encourages young women to think of themselves as political leaders. Despite making up 51 percent of the U.S. population, women account for less than 20 percent of governors and members of Congress. (Incidentally, AAUW, Running Start, and the American University Women and Politics Institute have joined forces on Campaign College, a pilot program to encourage college women to run for student government.)

In her conversations with politically leaning women who either have children or want to have children, Shakow says they must stress to their families that mom is working for the greater public good. “The more your children believe in what they do, the more impervious they are to the attacks of the media. It shields the family,” Shakow says.

Fortunately, we know women are preparing for a life in politics in spite of the mudslinging. Some of them have been featured in She’s Out There, a collection of essays from next generation of female political leaders. Perhaps that book should be required reading for David Letterman.

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Lisa Goodnight By:   |   June 18, 2009


  1. B. E. says:

    I really don’t see the harm in Letterman’s joke. I don’t think he meant any harm. We as women want to be seen as equal and we want to be treated like were tough and despite this being a “man’s world,” we can compete with any man! Well, I believe there is a double standard that some of us take, on one hand its okay when so called slander happens to other groups, but when women, particularly white women are attacked, it’s “stop the press time.” It was a joke! If anything it should fuel women to keep going and work even harder. I don’t see how this deters women from pursuing political careers. Harping on this, in my opinion makes this worse. Come on, David Letterman shouldn’t lose his job. The over exposing of the Letterman joke plays into this idea that we as women are bitter because of Sarah Palin’s (and Hillary Clinton’s) personal, political, and campaign mistakes and perhaps the flaws of the Republican Party. She’s one woman who does not represent us all. As quiet as it is kept, it seems as if there is this Far Right/Women’s movement to somehow vindicate Sarah Palin. Personally, I’m not for it, neither am I buying it! I personally think this debacle is her way if getting press attention; she should be concerned with subscribing to more magazines and newspapers so the next time Katie Couric asks her what she subscribes to, she can answer this question a little more intelligently. Let’s get a backbone ladies.

  2. Sierra says:

    Why should only the children of the public figures be off limits? Every one is the same, and it doesn’t matter what kind of things are said or even done for that matter, no one can stop rude comments from being spoken.

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