Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Should Alan Colmes be fired?

I, thank God, have never lost a child. I can imagine nothing worse. I can imagine nothing worse, in part, because I have one (and three grandsons) and because I am married to someone who did lose two children - one a stillborn and one at six months. Her pain is not mine, but I have learned from it.

So I feel quite comfortable in saying that Alan Colmes' shot at Rick and Karen Santorum's behavior in the wake of the death of their son, Gabriel,at  two hours after birth is one of the most reprehensible and insensitive things I have ever seen a "responsible" public commentator do.

I hope that it is more insensitive than reprehensible. I hope that Alan Colmes is just too insensate, too stupid and too wrapped up in his little Manhattan cocoon to know how awful his remarks were. I hope his problem is that his head is empty and not that his heart is poisoned.

But I'm skeptical. His statement that the Santorums brought the child home to "play with" suggests an intentional mean spiritedness. The description suggests a frivolity and denial that is not a fair characterization of what happened.

I'm skeptical because Rich Lowry tried to set him straight and Colmes persisted.

It is not hard to understand why the Santorums did what they did (even if many of us think we would have chosen differently.) One of the ongoing hurts for those who have lost a child in infancy is the way in which the child is forgotten - someone who is there but was not. Senator Santorum and his family were trying to avert that. They were trying to create a sense that Gabriel was part of their family, albeit one who would not be with them n the years to come.

But beyond that, the way in which someone deals with the unbearable is private and not to be cheaply questioned by those who were not there. Colmes has profoundly insulted those who have been there.

So here's a thought experiment. If you lose your job by coming too close to making a remark that might be interpreted as insensitive to a racial or ethnic group, why shouldn't Colmes lose his job over this?  My own sense is that Colmes' remarks reflect a certain disdain for the conventionally religious.

I'm not calling for that because 1) who cares what I think and 2) I dislike firing people because they made one stupid remark. But this is as bad as I've seen.

Colmes thinks the episode bears on Santorum's qualification to be President. It doesn't. But it did, it would cut in his favor. It would show that Santorum has a respect for life and for his family that speaks well of his character.

Colmes has apparently apologized to Santorum who has accepted his apology. I think this should end the matter.

So to answer the question at the beginning, my answer is "no." But it was, as they say, a teaching moment.

29 comments:

Anonymous said...

Of course Colmes is an idiot, but so is Santorum. Not for this episode, but because of what he thinks (or what he says he thinks).

A state should be able to ban birth control?!?

This is a world-class fruitcake. He and Colmes deserve each other!

Anonymous said...

I agree that the comments were an insult to anyone who has been there. I do, however, think that if a comment is hurtful enough that it does warrant termination or something more than merely a private apology - and as you say - those comments were as bad as they come. I agree that they were horribly in bad taste, lacked any decency, and were based on nothing short of ignorance. What a loss and to think there's a right way to deal with it. outrageous. I am hurt by his comments and cannot help but wish that he deals with the consequences of these comments for an extended period of time (measured in years)

Anonymous said...

Both are degenerates.

Anonymous said...

Rick: Do you think the state should ban birth control? If so, why is that not government intrusion into our private lives?

Rick Esenberg said...

This post wasn't about Santorum but, no, I don't think states can ban birth control. Please show me where Santorum has called for banning birth control.

John Foust said...

Tell me you googled "Santorum birth control" before you asked that.

Dad29 said...

Gee. A guy who actually believes in the 10th Amendment!

Unlike California, Wisconsin bans "medical marijuana." I guess that makes Jim Doyle (and his predecessors and successors) a troglodyte.

Rick Esenberg said...

Doesn't cut it, Foust. Saying that states have the power to do it is not the same as calling for it to be done.

John Foust said...

“One of the things I will talk about, that no president has talked about before, is I think the dangers of contraception in this country…. It’s not okay. It’s a license to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be.” Link.

Is this about what Santorum believes, or what he's now willing to admit he'd support as a new law? (You know, like the way Walker told us what he believed, but didn't tell us how he'd do it.) I dunno, when Republicans tell us they know what's good for us, should anyone worry they'd want to put it into law?

John Foust said...

Here's where he discussed eliminating Federal funding for abortion and contraception coverage, among many other items to help convert his beliefs into law.

Tom said...

Colmes didn't just say "play with" the baby. Colmes said "play with IT". It. Apparently children don't have genders once they're dead, or at least until they're old enough to be viewed as anything more than an extracted fetus in Colmes's mind.

Rick Esenberg said...

You still haven't gotten there. His personal views are not the same as calling for a banning of birth control and eliminating federal funding for an activity is not the same as prohibiting it.

Dad29 said...

Santorum proposes to reduce the size and scope of the Feds, and some object!

Anonymous said...

"His personal views are not the same as calling for a banning of birth control and eliminating federal funding for an activity is not the same as prohibiting it."

Spoken like a true lawyer! Santorum would NOT object to the states banning birth control. If given the opportunity to sign federal legislation banning birth control, he would do it. So, spin it all you want, Professor, Santorum's personal views regarding birth control are crystal clear.


"eliminating federal funding for an activity is not the same as prohibiting it."

No, but this course of action leads to the desired effect--the hampering of an activity that one finds objectionally. Nothing wrong with that, happens all the time at the federal and state level, but at least, Professor "keep it real". Again, Santorum's views are crystal clear regarding this activity.

Just admit it, and move on.

Anonymous said...

Anony 6:20 p.m. here. Just to make it clear, what Colmes said is offensive to some people. I find it part of his m.o., like his conservative counterparts (Sykes in particular), to make wild statements to generate a buzz.

John Foust said...

The parsing continues! Santorum doesn't have an opinion about whether states can prohibit contraception? Santorum wants to end that funding for financial reasons and pro-freedom reasons and government-size reasons, and not because he wants to convert his beliefs into law?

You see, the Santorum family's abortion decisions are special.

S said...

Don Imus was fired for less, and being a jerk was more consistent with his job description.

George Will once asserted that, according to modern liberalism, everything should be prohibited or mandatory. If you substituted "subsidized" for "mandatory", Anonymous would seem to be on board.

Tom said...

John, I think nearly all people would consider adultery a bad thing. I also think a majority of people would not want government to criminalize adultery.

I'm not saying Santorum is or isn't in favor of government banning birth control - I don't know enough to make that conclusion. My point is, neither do you.

John Foust said...

What does this clip tell you, Tom?

Anonymous said...

Here is an actual Rick Santorum quote: “One of the things I will talk about, that no president has talked about before, is I think the dangers of contraception in this country...Many of the Christian faith have said, well, that’s okay, contraception is okay. It’s not okay. It’s a license to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be.”

Tom, it's called taking evidence and drawing a conclusion. Based on his own words, one can PROPERLY deduce that Santorum would favor Congressional action outlawing birth control if he had his druthers. So, Tom, please stop being obtuse and ignorant.

Dad29 said...

“One of the things I will talk about, that no president has talked about before, is I think the dangers of contraception in this country...Many of the Christian faith have said, well, that’s okay, contraception is okay. It’s not okay. It’s a license to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be.”

One cannot ask for more clear evidence that Santorum will, single-handedly, make contraceptives illegal throughout the land.

It's just so OBVIOUS. It's right there, in pixels and stuff like that. It screams forth from the page to the mind!

Anonymous said...

Dad29, it took you great courage to admit that you are wrong. I commend you! Indeed, Santorum would support efforts to ban contraception. He has purposely avoided saying it directly--that is what politicians do!--but his principles and statements without a doubt clearly indicate his position.

Now, having himself openly lead the charge is an entirely different manner. And, as our dear Professor just pointed out in a different thread, IF Santorum would make a definitive statement regarding the prohibition of birth control, that he would favor it, he would be "done" politically.

But the adults know better. Santorum is saying it without saying it! He must have taken advice from P-Mac!

Dad29 said...

Your wish is my command, Anony!

Follow the link on this blog-post and listen to Santorum's Wierd, Strange, Dictatorial, Imam-like categorical assertion on the matter.

http://dad29.blogspot.com/2012/01/santorum-on-birth-control.html

Anonymous said...

Here is what Santorum stated EXACTLY on the clip that Dad29 linked to...

"The states have the right to do a lot of things. That doesn't mean they should do it. Some asked me if the states have the right to do it [referring to banning contraception]. Yes, they have the right to do it. They shouldn't do it, I wouldn't vote for it if they did, but that doesn't mean they have don't have the right to do it. You know, Bill, because you're a Catholic, the Catholic Church teaches that contraception is something you shouldn't do."


The clip only proves that Santorum would not interfere with efforts to ban contraception. Please note he said he wouldn't "vote for it", but he also never said he would oppose signing legislation to ban it as president. Spoken like a true politician!

Dad29 said...

he also never said he would oppose signing legislation to ban it as president.

This is what you call "intelligent commentary"?

Anonymous said...

Dad29--Let me speak real slowly for you to understand. Santorum had the opportunity to clearly state that, if he was president, he would oppose any Congressional effort to outlaw contraception. He had his moment to clarify his position...and blew it.

Tom said...

"Yes, they have the right to do it. They shouldn't do it, I wouldn't vote for it if they did"

How more clear can you possibly get?

Dad29 said...

Umnnnhh....wow.

IF Congress passes such a bill, THEN Santorum MIGHT sign it.

That's perfectly congruent with the Commander-in-Chief NOT 'closing Gitmo.'

Uh-huh.

Anonymous said...

Tom/Dad29--If Santorum vetoed legislation outlawing contraception, he would be in direct violation of the official stance taken by the church. So if you want to delude yourself into thinking he would go against his personal and religious beliefs, knock yourself out!