Patterico's Pontifications

1/5/2012

In Mocking Santorum, Eugene Robinson Reveals A Sickness in Our Society

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:42 pm

Here we go again. Eugene Robinson went on Rachel Maddow to mock Rick Santorum for taking his deceased child home to meet its siblings:

Not everybody is not going to be down, for example, with the story of how he and his wife handled the stillborn child, whose body they took home to kind of sleep with and introduce it to the rest of the family. It’s a very weird story.

I’m not sure why this recurring story makes me so angry. But I can venture a few guesses.

It could be because I know someone whose child was stillborn, and she did something very similar: she invited friends to come see her baby and see how beautiful the baby was. This was someone who had trouble getting pregnant, and the blow was very difficult for her. (She later became pregnant again and had an absolutely beautiful daughter.) How could anyone second-guess the decisions she made while in such emotional pain?

It could be because my wife miscarried twice in the last two years — and my sister recently tried IVF and it failed. My wife and I have two beautiful children, and my sister has a wonderful son — and I know none of us will ever be sad about the blessings of our life. But after my wife and I lost the last baby — a pregnancy that really looked like it was going to take — a friend wrote that she thought “all 4 of your sweet babies” would always have a “special place in your hearts.” And she was right. How can Eugene Robinson know our feelings for our unborn children?

It could be because, increasingly, it seems that those in public life — especially Republicans — are seen as fair game for criticism of their most intimate decisions. Sarah Palin has a Down’s Syndrome child and is mocked. Rick Santorum brings home his child that died hours after his birth, and is mocked.

First, let’s dispense with the idea that this is objectively bizarre behavior. Allahpundit links advice from the American Pregnancy Association for parents of stillborn children — a situation very much like Santorum’s, whose child died after two hours of life:

After the tests are completed, you will usually have the choice to spend time alone with your baby. You can find comfort in looking at, touching, and talking to your baby. Most parents find it helpful to make memories of this precious time that will last a lifetime…

With the loss of your baby, your family members will also grieve. Your baby is someone’s granddaughter, brother, cousin, nephew or sister. It is important for your family members to spend time with the baby. This will help them come to terms with their loss. If you have other children, it is very important to be honest with them about what has happened by using simple and honest explanations. It is your decision whether you would like the children to see the baby. Ask for a Child Life Specialist at the hospital; these are trained professionals who can help you prepare your children for the heartbreaking news, and prepare them to see the baby if you wish.

So, not only it is not “weird” behavior, it is recommended behavior that helps the other children deal with the loss. If you haven’t yet read the sentiments recently expressed by my commenter Leviticus, they are worth a read:

Santorum’s wife gave birth to a child. When she did (and, to my mind, even before she did), Santorum’s other children had a baby brother.

When that baby died, the other children lost their baby brother. What were the Santorums to do? Pretend that the other children never had a baby brother? No. The kids might not have understood at the time, but they would eventually; and, young as they were, they had a stake in the matter, a right to know.

The alternative – the only really acceptable alternative – was to tell them that a child had lived and breathed as their brother, to memorialize him. But it would be difficult to communicate that message to young child with mere words. So, they brought his body home; the words became unnecessary.

Those children will always remember their brother; and thoughts of the mystery, sanctity, tragedy, and brevity of human life will be indelibly stamped on their consciousness – a trait sorely lacking in many modern men and women. What bothers the most calloused members of the pro-choice crowd is the intuitive (though ever unacknowledged) realization that some people really do feel love for a child that they don’t know, for the “simple” reason that it was their own, however briefly – that some people really do respect and realize how sacred that bond is, and that they… don’t.

But the problem is not just that some leftists can’t understand the love that some people feel for their unborn children — or for their children who (like Sarah Palin’s son Trig) were born with disabilities. What really infuriates is the contempt they show for parents who make different choices than they would . . . and the smug arrogance with which they pronounce judgment on the most intimate aspects of others’ private lives.

What Robinson has done, and what Colmes did the other day, is indecent. These men would never say such a thing to Santorum’s face. (Or maybe they would — which is possibly even worse.) What sickness has invaded our body politic that people feel free, not only to act the cretin, but to do so on national television while sporting insufferable, supercilious, self-satisfied smirks like those we have seen on the mugs of Colmes and Robinson in recent days?

In short: how dare they? How dare they?!

There is something wrong with a system that expects people to undergo such indignities to attain high office. I’m not a fan of Rick Santorum as a candidate, but the treatment he has received in recent days regarding an intensely personal decision is a disgrace.

UPDATE: Similar thoughts from Peter Wehner via the Hot Air post above and Instapundit.

UPDATE x2: Thanks to Instapundit, Michelle Malkin, and Mark Levin for the links.

Eric Boehlert Cites Gingrich As Proof Swift Vets Were Liars

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:28 am

And attacks me in the process:

Responding to a relentless wave of Iowa attacks ads produced by a Mitt Romney-friendly Super PAC, an angry Newt Gingrich last week challenged Romney to debate the “dishonest” commercials. Over the holiday weekend, Gingrich said of the ads, “I feel Romney-boated.”

. . . .

But wait, everyone knows the Swifties peddled slanderous lies about John Kerry, right? Everyone acknowledges their ad campaign represented a new low point in American politics, right?

Wrong.

For years, prominent right-wing bloggers have clung to the parallel universe belief that the Swifties were honorable men and that none of their wild Vietnam War claims about Kerry were ever debunked. Within the right-wing media, the Swift Boat Veterans are fondly remembered as heroes who “courageously told the untold truths.”

Previously, from Michelle Malkin:

A reminder to conservatives: “Swift-Boating” does not equal smearing. Swift-Boating means exposing hard truths about corrupt Democrats.

From Powerline:

Most of what the Vets said in their ads has never been disputed, let alone discredited.

From Patterico’s Pontifications:

The canard that the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth was a “smear campaign” is so well accepted by Big Media that ABC NEWS feels comfortable in portraying the Swifties’ ad campaign as “slanderous” and “smear ads.”

On and on the denial goes as far-right bloggers cling to their Swift Boat fantasy.

Actually, the fantasy and spinning is being done by Eric Boehlert. Let’s look at the post of mine that he links. In it, do I engage in denial or factual distortion? No. Instead, I note that Beldar had issued a challenge for anyone to prove a material fact that the Swifties had lied about — a challenge unmet to this day. Meanwhile, I noted, Big Media adopted the herd-like canard that “Swift Boating” means “lying” while themselves distorting the facts:

Meanwhile, I have yet to see anyone meet Beldar’s challenge to name a single specific and material statement of fact by the Swift Boaters that has been fully debunked, or shown to be fully unsubstantiated.

Wouldn’t stating material falsehoods be a critical component of a “slanderous” campaign of “smear ads”?

In fact, as I have previously observed, the media often has a worse track record of inaccuracies on this issue than do the Swifties.

Boehlert can’t confront me on the facts. Indeed, I would post this as a comment at Media Matters, but I am essentially banned there (at least on Boehlert’s posts) — despite never having posted anything but factual refutations of their lies.

That is their commitment to truth.

And Boehlert is the one with a history of making unsupported claims — including one about the Swift Vets, as I show in this post.

Boehlert’s lazy and ridiculous screed is useful for one thing, though: highlighting Gingrich’s willingness to accept a tired media canard if it serves his own political purposes. Someone should track down Gingrich and confront him on this.

However, that is unlikely to happen, because the sheep and cattle in the media all accept the herd’s judgment on the Swift Vets.

Thanks to Jay for the heads up.

Is Massachusetts Mitt’s excuse?

Filed under: General — Karl @ 7:25 am

[Posted by Karl]

At RedState, Leon H. Wolf would prefer Rick Perry and Jon Huntsman as the GOP presidential nominee.  Yet, he argues that Mitt Romney, “if he were to win the nomination, *** would be our most conservative nominee since at least 1988.”  Although I think he validly notes some are overreacting to the probability of a Romney nomination, Wolf is likely overstating the case for Mitt.  Moreover, what grabbed my attention was one of Wolf’s asides:

[I]f I had my druthers I would prefer someone like Rick Perry who has been more or less consistently conservative for a relatively long time (an easier feat in Texas than Massachusetts, no doubt, but that is beside the point).

It is not entirely beside the point, as Romney supporters will defend his record as the product of trying to govern a Blue state like Massachusetts.  That’s one reason why it’s worth reading the response from the American Spectator’s Jim Antle — a Bay State native who voted for Romney thrice:

So I know something about settling and political reality. I also know that over that period Romney went from being someone who emphasized he was an independent during the Reagan years to trying to be a full-spectrum Reagan conservative, someone who described himself as a “progressive” in this decade to a “four-legged stool” movement guy, someone who with equal conviction defended both sides of the abortion debate, did not just flip-flop on abortion once but zig-zagged for over nearly two decades, and has generally acted as if none of this ever happened.

That pretty much tracks the standard oppo research on Romney.  Antle is not alone, either.  Michael Widmer, president of the nonpartisan Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, says Romney did little to make state government small or simpler during his tenure as governor.  Romney raised revenues with a host of fee hikes and tax levies.  The state payroll increased by 3,000 workers, or 2.6 percent, under Romney.  Mitt also floated the unprecedented notion of empowering the state revenue commissioner to adjust the tax filings of certain corporations who used complicated transactions and out-of-state shelters to avoid paying their “fair share” of state taxes.  And there was Romneycare, which Mitt still defends.

Maybe all the critics from Massachusetts are simply being unrealistic.  After all, Jake — it’s Massachusetts.  But people who live there have some frame of reference, don’t they?  Moreover, Romney does not fare well in comparison to other Republican governors in Mass.  The CATO Institute’s Fiscal Policy Report Card for governors — which looks at proposals as well as results — shows that in the 1990s, William Weld got a high “B” and third-best score overall.  In 2000, Paul Cellucci got an “A” and the highest score overall.  In 2002,  Jane Swift managed a low “B,” even in tough economic times.  Yet in 2006, Mitt Romney could only manage a “C.”  That’s an unimpressive grade, even on the Massachusetts curve.

–Karl


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