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.