It was great television.
Kingmaking in real time.
The pivotal moment occurred during the recent Letterman show featuring the indefatigable Hillary Clinton. During a pregnant pause, Hillary Clinton suddenly started to look like a President of the United States of America.
And to kick it into the stratosphere, Letterman hosted the mighty Bill Clinton a few nights later.
David Letterman did it.
He ever so subtly endorsed the Clintons before the Democratic primaries.
Thus, clever Dave doesn't have to allot equal air time to lame and entertainment-challenged candidates -- unless he wants to.
What is the pivotal moment to which I refer.
It occurred just after Hillary asked, "Dave, why don't you join us on the campaign trail?"
A relaxed smiling Hillary.
Instead of answering Hillary's question, Dave went into neutral. He froze. There was a pregnant pause. (We Dave fans know the meaning of every move of every finger on each of the man's hands. He's that much fun.)
So, anyway this time Dave freezes, then inhales and looks down and to his right toward Hillary with a positive look in his eye.
For Dave this is a shout of assent.
He was silently shouting something along the lines of: DUH, HILLARY, I AM ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL AS WE SPEAK.
I believe that Dave's silent shout of assent is the turning point in Hillary's campaign. He made Hillary look presidential.
Let me explain.
First, Hillary's invitation to Dave had to be scripted -- I bet Dave approved it -- hey maybe he suggested it. He's a bright man -- perhaps the brightest and most influential man in public life -- certainly in TV broadcasting.
Thus it came to pass that David Letterman -- arguably the most influential man in America -- was seen by millions of people in the act of throwing his substantial weight behind Hillary Clinton.
This means Dave will do his best to put the dynamic duo back in the White House.
And why not. Somebody had to do something!
Mazel tov Dave.
David Letterman is coming out after years of assiduous broadcasting non-partisanship -- Republican-rich guy-nonpartisanship -- to stump for the most competent duo running for president in memory.
Okay, Dave's makes us laugh at poor President Bush's malapropisms in "Moments In Presidential History".
But that ain't enough.
Laughter isn't the only thing Letterman does better than just about anybody. He has to be a political genius to balance year after year at the tippy-top of a soul-deadening tv bureaucracy.
A rumination on Dave-power -- the man has changed the way we look at the American male.
* Dave brought us Everybody Loves Raymond and we're still laughing with recognition as we watch an average housewife getting angrier and angrier in prime time TV -- because her likable average husband's a selfish hog.
* Dave's changing what we call male sexuality by bringing us tingly and adorable Craig Ferguson on the Late Late Show -- Craig calls Orlando Bloom dreamy and says, "Hey I'm not gay, I'm European."
Long live Letterman.
A Caveat about our Dave.
*Why does Dave thinks it's funny (and here's where I flip to Leno for a breather) when he fails to remember so much as the first name of a good sport in the studio audience who's playing "Guess Your Cuts of Meat."
Dave must be hell on earth to work for.
He's mostly heaven to watch.
I worry when Dave mumbled he'd stopped drinking because he'd grab a bottle and get soused by himself.
My first response -- of course, the poor guy's stuck chatting as though he means it with hundreds of icky celebs a month -- so pleasure for him is drinking and thinking alone.
Of course, we writers enjoy solitude. Should Dave write?
No. Dave's expressing himself night after night -- in the monologue and the sitdown talk before the guests traipse out, and even in the interviews.
But, Dave,what about getting a little buzz on with a loved one?
Or next time you feel blue, grab a beer, pull the baseball cap down lower and pick out some stranger relaxing on a bench in Central Park.. Of course they know who you are -- but that's a good thing. You are loved.
Dave, few people are as snakey and self-serving as the celebrities you fence with night after night.
But wait, here's an easier antidote.
Just go out of your way to be nice to the average guy in your studio audience who's playing "Name Your Cuts of Meat".
Start by remembering his first name -- hey it's a baby step.
You'll feel better. We'll feel better.