COMBATIVE COMEDY

The Right-Wing War on Letterman

Sarah Palin’s week-long back-and-forth with David Letterman has given the right a highly visible and easily attacked target. After making a reference about Palin’s “slutty flight attendant look” and the now oft-repeated joke about Palin’s daughter and Alex Rodriguez, Letterman has met the wrath of RNC Chairman Michael Steele, who released a statement saying, “when Letterman starts making tasteless jokes about kinds, it’s time to turn the channel.” Not all conservatives agree with an attack: “If the right goes after Letterman they make him look big and themselves small," says Mark McKinnon, a Daily Beast contributor and campaign advisor to George W. Bush and Sen. John McCain. "It's win-win for Letterman." The late-night talker has a history of tiffs with conservatives—when John McCain abruptly cancelled on appearance on his show last September, Letterman blasted the politician for weeks before McCain apologized on air.