Gary Bauer at Human Events wrote a fantastic article covering this subject. It's a great read and he shows how remarkable it is that Palin came out on top after Letterman's insults. Here is an excerpt of his article published today, along with my comments.
Letterman has enjoyed a temporary ratings boost, but there’s deeper meaning in the incident. The cultural left lampoons Palin because her values and life are completely foreign to them. They find it bizarre that she hunts, prays and says things like “you betcha.’” They can’t fathom that she brought a child with Down syndrome to term and that she didn’t pressure her daughter into aborting an unexpected pregnancy.
Letterman may not know anyone who would vote for Palin or a family that looks like hers. But his Palin joke backfired in part because scores of millions of Americans are living lives that more closely resemble Palin’s life than Letterman’s. Like Palin, they pray in churches, hunt and fish and raise imperfect families with unconditional love. They are more than uneasy about the culture’s sexualization of children and its infantilization of adults.
The cultural left mocks Palin’s values, but its taunts often fail to gain traction, because Palin’s politics and principles are much more main-stream than those of her critics. Sarah Palin is a false target for the popular culture. It can’t resist the temptation to ridicule and lampoon her, but she offers too much common sense and inspiration to make for good jokes.
"Sarah Palin is a false target for popular culture." So true. This could be the beginning of a huge cultural shift.
Before there was always a divide between the politicians and the regular citizens. The politicians were the men and women in suits who did the "arduous" task of representing the citizens in government, creating policy and voting on it. These politicians on both the right and left were largely very wealthy career politicians who placed themselves above the public. Two types of people - either you're in politics or you're one of the regular people, and never the twain shall meet. The liberal media could make jokes at politicians and get laughs because there was so much distance between politicians and regular folks. Even jokes made at the expense of Republicans could get big laughs from mainstream America because they couldn't really identify with them on a personal level either.
Bill Clinton in my memory was probably one of the first to break down the wall between politics and pop culture. Before Lewinsky, he integrated himself into pop culture by showing his personal side - playing the saxophone, going on comedy shows, joking, smiling, laughing, being sociable, showing a laid-back and at ease personality. There was very little compartmentalization with him. He was considered very "cool" but his life circumstances and extreme Leftist politics still separated him from mainstream Americans.
With Palin we have a completely different scenario. We have someone who the majority of Americans can instantly identify with. Now when the largely liberal media makes "jokes" about her, the public instantly feels like the joke is on them because she is just like them. She therefore empowers people to say no, I don't need to watch Letterman tell tasteless jokes. With her, the liberal media can't make "jokes" about politicians anymore because there is no more divide between politician and a real person - here is one who is both. What happens next is that what's popular and what makes money for comedians, movie makers, musicians and others in pop culture starts to slowly shift right. When more people feel empowered by that, more "real" politicians like Sarah Palin will start to emerge. Then we could potentially be in a place where our forefathers wanted us to be, with real everyday citizens running the country. The pop culture shift reinforces the political shift to the right and vice versa, and Sarah Palin is at the heart of it.