Rick Santorum and the Right to be Weird

Make no mistake: the frothy Rick Santorum is weird in ways that go light-years beyond grotesque.  But when he obligingly provides so much material for his opponents to work with, I wonder if this aspect of his weirdness is appropriate fodder for televised political debate:

During a segment on Fox News Monday, Alan Colmes told host Jon Scott that Santorum’s surge in the polls would be only temporary after voters discovered some of his history.

“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,” Colmes explained.

 “You are mocking him,” Fox News contributor Rich Lowry interrupted. “They lost a child, Alan. That’s very serious and it’s not something you should be mocking on national TV.”

Lowry went a bit overboard, but — and this isn’t a sentence you’ll read here every day — I tend to sort of agree with him.  And why not?  Who’d know more about mockery and public humiliation than the guy who degraded himself before the Entire Internets in 2008 with his sweaty narrative about how Sarah Palin’s vice-presidential debate performance propelled him to new spastic heights of ecstasy that left sticky starburst-shaped stains all over his living room?

Bringing home an expired 20-week fetus to play with and show the other kids is a little weird, at least to me, and it’s probably not what I’d do.  But I’m not, nor have I ever been, Rick Santorum (or anything even remotely similar, thank god) so if he wants to do it, who am I to say he shouldn’t?   Unlike some of Santorum’s other infamous weirdness, this grieving ritual wasn’t hateful and didn’t hurt anyone else (except maybe his traumatized kids), so I can’t say I’m comfortable with something so private being held up for public ridicule in a mass media venue.  (To his credit, Colmes has apologized to the Santorums, and rightly so.  Progressives can do better, especially with as rich a mine of comedy gold as Santorum.)

The Santorums’ unusual grieving process is less important than the fact that it may have come about because of an emergency medical procedure that Santorum himself is obsessed with criminalizing (though the jury is still out on whether it was actually an abortion).  Besides taking hypocrisy to a new low, it shows a cognitive dissonance and lack of empathy that would be dangerous to women in the unlikely event that he won the presidency — which makes it fair game for open debate.

Rick Santorum’s right to be weird ends at other people’s wombs.

11 Responses to “Rick Santorum and the Right to be Weird”


  1. 1 fhg1893 Monday, January 9, 2012 at 7:43 am

    A tragic situation for anybody to face.

    I guess the difference is that most of us would probably choose to save the life of the mother, but then, we don’t ussually go on to become Republican senators and try to criminalize abortion in all its circumstances.

    Is it just me, or is Rick “Frothy” Santorum actually going for the dual prize of weirdest and simultaneously most hypocritical politician ever?

    • 2 JJ Tuesday, January 10, 2012 at 12:01 pm

      Believe it or not, Romney and Gingrich make Santorum look honest. The sleaze & slime of this Republican field almost defies description. The only one with his head sort of screwed on is Huntsman — even Ron Paul, who I sometimes like, has fallen into the Culture of Scum.

      Santorum is still the Weirdest of the bunch, though!

  2. 3 rev.paperboy Tuesday, January 10, 2012 at 2:10 pm

    Hold on a minute there!
    The Santorum’s partial birth abortion that resulted in their bringing the fetus home to show their kids and to grieve should, of course, be a private matter and for almost anyone else it would be an intensely private matter. But Frothy isn’t just anybody. He has been telling this story himself for years, even putting it in his book, and using it in his stump speech as part of his crusade against abortion. He’s pretty much done everything but have it put on t-shirts and billboards.
    If Frothy wants to parade his disfunction as part of his political agenda, well sorry, but that makes it open season and fair game for discussion.
    Loath as I am to defend FOX TV’s pet “liberal” Colmes has nothing to apologize for and neither do progressives who repeat the story or use it to question Santorum’s politics, judgement or grip on reality.

    • 5 JJ Wednesday, January 11, 2012 at 12:21 pm

      Rev – After giving this some thought, I can’t say I disagree with you.

      I guess I fell into the trap that Lowry set when he jumped on Colmes’ remark and disingenuously characterized it as “mockery” of the loss itself, and that gave me a bad feeling. Also it played right into the rampant right wing meme about “baby hating liberals” etc etc. It really coloured the discussion in a bad way, and of course Colmes isn’t exactly prepared to offer an aggressive defense. (And then all week long the right wing blogs have been shrieeeeeeeking about it…)

      It is a very private, intensely personal situation, but since Santorum himself yaks about it openly at every opportunity — not just the miscarriage/abortion, but what they did with the fetus — I guess that makes it fair game when discussing how freaking weird he is.

      The problem is that on a topic like this one it’s so easy to be misunderstood (or mischaracterized by someone who wants to make you look bad). It’s a bad topic: if I was in a debate on national TV, I’d avoid it unless my opponent asked me straight out what I thought about it.

      (Blogs are a different matter, it’s our job to say things the MSM doesn’t :P )

  3. 6 Phatbiker Tuesday, January 10, 2012 at 3:52 pm

    Butt-froth brought home a dead fetus and had his kids pray for it?!? EWWWWW! Barf! That’s one sick f**k!

    • 7 fhg1893 Tuesday, January 10, 2012 at 6:21 pm

      JJ’s words are a little strong. Santorum’s wife had what could be called an abortion. She was about 20 weeks pregnant, and labor had to be induced because her baby got some kind of infection as a complication from surgery. I think. It’s complicated. Anyway, she was given antibiotics, they didn’t work, and ultimately she was induced early, knowing that her child would die, which it did, after a few hours.

      In response, Rick and his wife brought the baby home to show their children. He says it was to acknowledge and affirm the life, and basically tragic circumstances of the whole thing – I don’t think that they were playing with the corpse like it was a doll or something. I know that Santorum is crazy as a shit-house rat, but even Santorum has got to have his limits. Right? Right?!

      Anyway…

      JJ’s right, the left can, should and needs to do better than to drag this through the mud. Yeah, sure, I think it’s a little, or even a lot weird, but if Rick felt that this was what he needed to do in the face of tragedy, well, we the public shouldn’t be casting aspersion on him for it, especially when there is just so much that Santorum has said and done which reflect at least equally badly on his character. Like how is last-name became a synonym for frothy discharge for instance. Or how you aren’t allowed to have consensual sex in your home (I’m guessing he exempted married couples or something? Do the Santorum’s rent a hotel room every time they fuck? That shit’s not weird enough for the media, seriously!?) and I’m sure that’s just scratching the surface, the more I know about Santorum, the less I want to know about Santorum.

      • 8 JJ Wednesday, January 11, 2012 at 4:59 pm

        fhg

        the more I know about Santorum, the less I want to know about Santorum.

        Ain’t that the truth :shock:

        You’re right though, I was unnecessarily harsh about the privacy aspect of this, I guess. Santorum trots this story out at every opportunity, it wasn’t Colmes muckraking. What really irked me was that it’s a non-issue and talking about it distracts from a real issue: the hypocrisy. The fact that it’s okay for his wife to have a late-term abortion when she’s in grave danger but for some reason, nobody else could possibly be facing the same danger and have to do the same thing.

        Also, the more I think about it, the more I think the whole thing was a trap and Colmes walked right into it. You could see Lowry was having a great time with it, since it perpetuates the phony rightwing “liberal baby-hater” meme. The blogposts about this in the conservative sphere are so Drama Queen: “The Depravity of the Left!!!” etc. :roll: Please.

        I just think we can do better, ie. sticking to the things that really matter. Santorum’s fetus fetish only matters inasfar as it affects other people.

    • 9 JJ Wednesday, January 11, 2012 at 3:59 pm

      I know – it’s all kinds of Weird and Wrong. But as long as he doesn’t force everyone to do it, I don’t really care what he does.

  4. 10 fern hill Wednesday, January 11, 2012 at 1:11 pm

    The guy is running for Preznit. He is the most radical kind of fetus fetishist, thinks sex should be ONLY for procreation.

    As people have said, he trots this weird story out at every opportunity. He’s PROUD of it.

    His policies would ban ‘procedures’ like his wife had. Women will die.

    Not his wife. But others.

    This is a classic case of ‘The only moral abortion is my abortion.’ Or my wife’s. Or my daughter’s.

    But not you, you dirty slut.

    I’ve blogged about this and will continue to.

    Rank hypocrisy needs exposure.

    • 11 JJ Wednesday, January 11, 2012 at 3:58 pm

      That’s sort of what I was saying in my post.
      I definitely don’t mind the abortion aspect of it being debated, blogged about, discussed on nationwide TV, shouted from the rooftops, whatever. Because it’s the kind of hypocrisy that, in a president, would endanger women needing late-term procedures. The dead fetus thing is weird, but it’s not overtly dangerous to anyone outside his sphere of personal influence.

      Also, I think Colmes walked into a trap by bringing it up. It’s the kind of topic that can be easily mischaracterized (as Lowry did, and a million RWNJ blogs continue to do) to make it sound bad.


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