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Vile and Viler: Colmes and Sullivan

8:46 PM, Aug 31, 2008 • By DEAN BARNETT
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Earlier today, we took a look at Alan Colmes' comments about Sarah Palin's most recent pregnancy. Colmes wrote:

Rogers Cadenhead gives the timeline associated with the birth of her newest child. She had a speech in Dallas and, even after the water broke, continued with her activities, and then boarded a plane for home. She did consult by phone with her doctor. Still, a Sacramento, Calif., obstetrician who is active in the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, said when a pregnant woman's water breaks, she should go right to the hospital because of the risk of infection. That's true even if the amniotic fluid simply leaks out, said Dr. Laurie Gregg.

While Colmes's sudden concern for fetuses so long as they reside inside the body of conservative politicians is touching, some people inferred from this idiotic post that Colmes was suggesting that Palin's putative poor judgment caused her baby to be born with Down syndrome. After sending the initial post down the memory hole, Colmes addressed this concern:

"I in no way mean to suggest that her child's Down Syndrome was in any way related to decisions she made. In fact I never mentioned Down Syndrome in the post. However, I apologize that my post was not more clear on that point. That is my fault, and I'll take responsibility for not being more clear on that point. "

Why anyone would infer bad faith when someone is belittling a politician's handling of her own pregnancy is beyond me. Nevertheless, good of Alan to sort of man up.

At the other end of the crackpot conspiracy theory spectrum, we have Andrew Sullivan who seemingly blogs for the sole purpose of posing the existential question, "How many times can one man kill his own reputation?" Sullivan promulgates a theory that categorically rejects the notion that Palin irresponsibly handled her pregnancy. Why? Because Palin was never pregnant in the first place! Instead, she pretended to be pregnant and give birth (while a sitting governor!) in order to cover for her daughter who was in fact having the baby out of wedlock.

In his original post on the matter, Andrew stated that the rumor is "buzzing across the Internets" before calling them "unfounded and unseemly." A full 41 minutes later, however, he characteristically disagreed with himself, inveighing, "This baby was a centerpiece of the public case for Palin made by the Republicans. They made it an issue - and therefore it is legitimate to ask questions about it."

Speaking of the unseemly, contra Andrew, the story has not been buzzing across the Internets. Prior to Andrew propagating the rumors, they remained confined to the fever swamps where even on the Huffington Post the commentary was generally of the "Good god this is stupid" variety. At the Daily Kos, many of the commenters to the rumor-mongering diary lamented its idiocy and ugliness.

Since I know you're dying to know the kind of persuasive logic that the Kos diarist displayed that piqued Andrew Sullivan's interest, I offer the following excerpt:

"The final point of interest is that Trig Palin has been diagnosed with Down's (sic) syndrome (aka trisomy 21). This is an interesting point, as chances of having offspring with Down's (sic) Syndrome (sic) increases (sic) from under 1% to 3% after a mother reaches the age of 40. However, 80% of the cases of Down's (sic) Syndrome (sic) are in mother's (sic) under the age of 35 , through sheer quantities of births in this age group."

Someone better tell Alan Colmes - the Kos Kid has him dead to rights.

Both Andrew Sullivan and Alan Colmes did the exact same thing - they disseminated attacks so vile and idiotic they would never dare put their own names behind them. They used their platforms, platforms that lunatics who come up with such crackpottery typically lack, to get the attacks much more attention than they originally would have received.

Colmes and Sullivan did the exact same thing in another regard. Both men, in eagerly publicizing crackpot theories, showed the boundless desperation and ugliness that Sarah Palin will face. If ever there were examples of "kitchen sink" political tactics, the blogging efforts today of Sullivan and Colmes provide them.

And both men have provided early returns on our question, "How low will the left go?"