Outrage for the sake of outrage

LETTERMAN-775520I have a confession to make. I watched David Letterman last night. Actually, on most nights at about 11:35 p.m., you’ll find my TV tuned to CBS. If that means I have to relinquish my conservative credentials for committing apostasy, so be it. I’m not so self-absorbed, thin-skinned and uptight to allow a stupid joke to change my viewing habits.

For the past two weeks conservative media — radio, TV and on the Internets — has been screaming about the crack Letterman made about Gov. Sarah Palin’s daughter getting “knocked up” by Yankee third-baseman Alex Rodriguez during the seventh inning stretch at a baseball game. The late-night talk show host took another shot at Palin during his “Top Ten” list, comparing her wardrobe to that of a “slutty flight attendant” (why didn’t he just say “stewardess?”).

Mayhem ensued. Conservative media folk called for a boycott, demanded apologies, pressured Dave’s advertisers to drop their ads on Dave’s show, picketed outside the Ed Sullivan Theatre, and, of course, they called him a pervert.

When I heard the joke, I admit, I let out a little chuckle. I don’t buy the conservative line that Letterman was attacking Palin’s under-age daughter, Willow. It was clear he was talking about Bristol Palin, who in fact did get knocked up by an Alaskan douchebag during the lead up to the 2004 campaign.

In a classic “gotcha” moment, the right-wing bloggers and blowhards pointed out that Bristol wasn’t at the Yankee game, but Willow was. It’s just stupid to think Letterman was talking about Willow. The joke would be even less funny if he was.

The Letterman incident came on the heels of the now-infamous Playboy “hate f*ck” list of conservative hotties, which was treated with equal amounts of shock, outrage and disdain by conservative media.

The most surprising part of both incidents (other than that apparently some people actually do read Playboy), is that conservatives showed they seem to be just as thin-skinned as their liberal counterparts. Just as the left takes anyone to task for mocking race, the poor, gays or any other special interest, there’s a conservative thought police out there ready to pounce when idiotic comments are made.

I’m a big fan of Sarah Palin, but we really need to chill out. Letterman and Playboy aren’t worth getting your grannie panties in a bunch. Besides, isn’t this the game the left plays? Is it not ridiculous that comedians who make racial comments have to go groveling to Jesse Jackson to apologize? Was it not ludicrous that Trent Lott had to step down from his leadership position for complementing Strom Thurmond? Then how is it not just as absurd for conservatives to demand the same?

Yes, as many have pointed out, there’s a double standard. Liberal leaders and celebrities get a free pass when they say something stupid. But that’s nothing new, and frankly, we should be proud that conservatives are held to a higher standard — because, hopefully, we hold ourselves to a higher standard.

And aren’t there more important things to occupy two weeks worth of our time on radio, TV and online? During the same week that Letterman told his jokes, an abortion clinic in Philadelphia was giving out free abortions in “honor” of Dr. George Tiller, the gunned-down Kansas baby-killer. If you’re looking for something to channel your outrage — something that actually matters — get angry about that.

So I’ll continue to watch Letterman, at least until the thought police of the right forces me into rehab. And I’ll keep eating at The Olive Garden (I mean, c’mon, the never-ending pasta bowl promotion is awesome). I’ve got more important things to do than worry about what a comic says at midnight.

Let’s leave the feigned outrage for the sake of being outraged to the liberals.

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Battle cry: ‘Do not tell me it can’t be done’

Newt Gingrich’s speech last night to the GOP Congressional Dinner in D.C. was excellent. While most of the media is focusing on the complete non-story about whether Sarah Palin would appear, the speech is definitely worth watching.

It’s got red meat, a call for party unity, a scathing indictment of Barack Obama and even highlights areas that Republicans can work with the administration.

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From one liberal tool to another

Recalled California Gov. Gray Davis didn’t waste time in sending a message to Democrats cheering about Sen. Arlen Specter doing the ol’ party swap.

“That’s excellent,” he told the San Francisco Chornicle’s Spin Cycle Blog, and then he offered some advice from a politician who knows first hand about “the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.”

Yes, Democrats, heed the advice of Gray Davis. It’s not that the people will overwhelmingly reject your incompetence, it’s just that the “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune” will hit you.

Only a self-absorbed, delusional fool would think that it was mere “fortune” that put the nail in Davis’ political coffin. And only such a fool would think the GOP’s challenge to Specter and the conservative backlash against the Obama economic agenda is anything similar.

Let’s recall (pun intended) that Gray Davis created his own misfortune — by passing bogus state budgets (with the help of Democrats in the state Legislature), calling them balanced, skating to re-election, and then crying “crisis” when the books didn’t balance.

When he took office, the state of California was running a budget surplus of $15 billion. Instead of giving that money back to the people, investing in one-time projects such as new roads or schools or simply stashing it away for a rainy day, Davis oversaw an alarming expansion of the state government. Ultimately, he was the father of a $38 billion budget deficit in 2003, and voters justifiably fired him.

All of that could have been avoided. During his last four years in office, California’s combined rate of inflation and population growth was 21 percent and state revenues increased by 28 percent. All should have been good — the state was taking in money at a greater rate than it was growing. But no, government spending ballooned by 36 percent; eight points ahead of revenue and 15 points ahead of growth. Davis lacked the fortitude to look out for the state’s long-term, financial interests (this is not say the goon we replaced Davis with has done any better).

But, according to Davis, it was “outrageous fortune” that did him in.

I’m always conscious that we live in a cyclical world. You’re up one day, and you’re down another. So people shouldn’t get carried away thinking about their good fortune.

The tide goes in, the tide goes out. Times change, attitudes change. …

It’s great news for now — but no one should get complacent.

One would think Davis would know by now that you can’t spend taxpayer money like crazy, bankrupt the government and get away with it. One could guess that Davis would warn the party against exploding the size of government, especially during a recession.

But no. His advice is to not get too excited.

Specter himself admitted that his vote for the stimulus package was the tipping point, prompting a conservative to offer a serious challenge in the Republican primary that Specter would likely have lost.

Specter, like Davis, hasn’t learned that you can only run-up the taxpayers’ tab for so long before they start to notice.

Assuming Al Franken takes the Minnesota seat, Specter gives the Democrats the filibuster-proof 60 seats in the Senate (62 if you count Sens. Collins and Snowe) — so it’s all on them. As Obama pushes through his government expanding plans in the arenas of education, health care and energy, they won’t be able to shift the blame onto anyone else.

And as taxpayers begin to realize the bill for those programs is one we can’t afford, perhaps Specter can sit down with Gray Davis and ask him whom they will hold accountable.

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One down, two to go

I’m not going to on and on about Arlen Specter becoming a Democrat (wasn’t he always one?) except to say he should take his colleagues from Maine with him.

It doesn’t matter with which party they caucus if they consistently vote with the other party. That magic number of 60 was being given to the Democrats anyway.

It’s interesting that it took poll numbers — not actual conviction — that prompted Specter to switch. Unfortunately, that will make it more difficult for a conservative to take the seat, but that’s fine.

Collins and Snowe should be next, we just gotta find conservatives to run against them. Runners-up on the list of senators to give the boot: Lindsay Graham, John McCain (though I admit they were good on the stimulus).

If you want a full rundown with updates, Allahpundit’s got it at Hot Air.

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Prefer to laugh at the politicians than be the laughing stock

Fourteen-year-old Jonathan Krohn — who made a big splash at CPAC — was on the “Today Show” this morning.

This kid’s pretty articulate, and did it sound like there might be a “Meet The Press” appearance in the works? David Gregory’s reactions are pretty entertaining.

As Meaningful Distraction notes, Krohn may just be the new face of the GOP. But the teen says he’d “prefer to laugh at the politicians than be the laughingstock.”

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