Picking on Rick Santorum’s Dead Child Is Fox News’ Dumbest Move Yet

Rick SantorumHow's this for crazy? The Rick Santorum campaign for the Republican nomination might have gotten a shot in the arm from the last place he expected it. It's safe to say Santorum is not looking up Fox News contributor Alan Colmes' address to send him a bouquet of roses today. But he shouldn't be too hard on the guy.

OK, so Colmes is the guy who just snarked on the way the GOP presidential candidate and his wife handled the death of their infant son 16 years ago. Just typing those words makes me a little sick to my stomach. But I'm not normally a Santorum fan.


Which is exactly where Colmes screwed up. If he can push a hard-nosed liberal like me to defend a gay-hating, anti-choicer like Rick Santorum, you know something's seriously wrong.

Colmes, a Fox Radio host, was telling Fox's Jon Scott about the Santorum's son Gabriel, who died two hours after being born prematurely at just 20 weeks old. At the time, Rick and Karen Santorum chose to bring their baby home, where they introduced him to their other kids before a burial the next day. But Colmes retelling of the story first reported in the Washington Post nearly seven years ago was supposed to undermine the Senator's current surge in the polls:

Once [voters] get a load of some of the crazy things he’s said and done, like taking his 2-hour-old baby who died right after childbirth home and played with it for a couple of hours so his other children would know that the child was real.

Ugh. Really? Since when is picking on how a man grieves for his dead child a valid political commentary? How about talking about the man's racist comments about black people in Iowa this week or his plan to create a tax policy to push people toward traditional marriage. If you want to convince people Santorum is unfit for the presidency, you go after the issues that affect his actual candidacy.

This is the second time Santorum has faced harsh criticism for his parenting choices on the campaign trail, and the second time I can't help but feel sympathy for him. It doesn't take much to hear a tragic tale and feel a surge of compassion -- just being human. And what Colmes forgets is voters are human.

We take our whole bodies to the polls, including our hearts. And when pundits begin to attack politicians on such tenders subjects, we get our dander up.

What do you think of Colmes' comments about Santorum?


Image via Gage Skidmore/Flickr

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