Campaign 2012: The "over the edge" moment


Every campaign cycle, campaigning and editorializing ends up getting dirtier than it should, as those hoping to score that one last shot go over the edge with their attacks. In this cycle, the lowest blow can be found in the criticisms of GOP Presidential candidate Rick Santorum and his family's handling of the loss of their newborn child, Gabriel Michael Santorum, by news commentator Alan Colmes of Fox News:

Get a load of some of the crazy things he’s said and done, like taking his two-hour-old baby when it died right after child birth home and played with it so that his other children would know that the child was real.
Colmes called the Santorums out on it publicly, but I've heard others snicker and take cheap shots privately about the subject. While I've not hestitated to call Santorum out on things related to his record of public service and his campaign, the loss of their child should be above any form of public judgment or criticism.

I've come to understand this very personal subject far better than most people ever will, so I'll take off the blogger hat and tell you where I'm coming from, as well as why Mr. Colmes - and others - were way out of line.

In 1998, my daughter Bonnie was born three months premature. Weighing one pound and fifteen ounces at birth, doctors gave her a 1-in-4 chance at survival. In the first week, she almost didn't make it, but two months later, she came home. While many premees end up with learning and physical disabilities or are small for their age, Bonnie is doing well in school and those who've seen her can attest that she's tall for her age (and eagerly awaiting inheriting my Dodge Charger in a couple of years' time).

But others weren't so lucky.

While visiting Bonnie at the MUSC NNICU, a daily family ritual until she came home, I watched one couple spend their last minutes with their child just a few feet away from me. I still think about that evening and when I do, ask myself what I would've done. To this day, I still don't know.

It seems rational that babies don't die. We tell ourselves that they will live, grow up and live full lives, and that if we're lucky, we'll share a lot of special moments with them along the way. So when they die, the rational becomes the irrational, and when that happens, anything can seem logical or sensible as one clutches at straws to make sense of it.

Those who criticize the Santorum family for how they handled that experience doesn't understand what they went through - and I hope they never will.

Many couples who lose a child eventually split up because they can't get past what happened, thus compounding an already bad situation for their families. Feelings of frustration, guilt, inadequcy and anger pull them apart, turn them against each other and against even against themselves. Somehow, the Santorum family rose above the pain of their loss to make peace with what happened and remain together. Fifteen years later, they're still together. At least in the Blogland, that's all that matters.

While some would see this as a praiseworthy example of personal triumph in the face of an unavoidable tragedy, Mr. Colmes saw this as nothing more than political talking points for an over-the-edge personal attack on the Santorum family. Unfortunately that's how it goes in today's "hit of the day" media culture, where scoring points is all that matters.

2 Response to "Campaign 2012: The "over the edge" moment"

  1. Anonymous 12/1/12 13:00
    Earl--I think we would both agree that to liberals personal tragedies are the fertile ground to attack conservatives or even other liberals. Think back to 2008 and the Edwards campaign and the personal attacks that were leveled Elizabeth Edwards or 1972 and the attacks on Edmund Muskie's wife prior to the New Hampshire primary.

    The problem with liberals is they like to portray themselves as being the compassionate ones with big hearts. The problem is their mouths,egos and personal/political agendas are usually bigger. Rick Santorum and his family have handled these attacks with possibily the best response a candidate in his position could.

    At the end of the day, this shows how low liberals like Alan Colmes will go to further their progressive socialist agenda. What they fail to consider is that the mud they throw only reveals their true lack of character...teg
  2. Anonymous 13/7/12 16:37
    Mixing babies and politics...??

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