Bella Santorum Is Getting Better, But There Is No Hope For Her Father


It’s been a rough few days for the three-year-old daughter of Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum, who remains in a hospital with pneumonia.

The longshot candidate described Bella Santorum’s improvement on Sunday as “a miraculous turnaround” and it may indeed be a God job. But the top flight medical care she is getting at a Washington, D.C. area hospital may have something to do with her family having health insurance because of Santorum’s lavish Senate retirement benefits and personal wealth. But in yet another of the hypocrisy-tinged ironies that abound in today’s Republican Party, he is against the government helping provide health insurance to the families of all the other Bellas in America who become ill but cannot afford decent care.

In fact, doing a little extrapolating, of the 45 million Americans without health insurance, there probably are at least a million or so three-year-olds in that situation, while about 1,000 children die of pneumonia in the U.S. each year

Bella’s pneumonia is complicated by the fact that she has a genetic condition known as Trisomy 18. The condition typically proves fatal and Santorum often says his daughter wasn’t expected to live past 12 months. That she has survived and thrived also may indeed be a God job. But the top flight medical care she is getting may have something to do with her family having health insurance because of Santorum’s lavish Senate retirement benefits and wealth. But in yet another of the hypocrisy-tinged ironies that abound in today’s Republican Party . . . You know.

As recently as last Friday, Santorum excoriated fellow candidate Mitt Romney, who pushed through the nation’s first comprehensive health-care reform as Massachusetts governor, and President Obama for “wanting to tell Americans that as a condition of breathing in America, you have to go out and buy private sector insurance so (sic) the government will fine you.”

What Santorum was saying is that under ObamaCare, individuals at a certain income level could be fined beginning in 2014 if they don’t get insurance to help fund a pool for insurance for people who cannot afford it. The fines will be small, and there is widespread agreement outside of the Republican fever swamp that the government will not be aggressive in pursuing fines.

This post will attract criticism because by some people’s lights writing about a candidate’s private life to hammer home the point that her father is a hypocrite should be off limits. But then so would going after Newt Gingrich for his private life, specifically the fact that as a married man he was having one of his serial affairs as he led the charge to impeach President Clinton for his affair with a White House intern.

In any event, we wish Bella a speedy and full recovery. As for her father, there is no hope.

31 Comments

  1. Moderate voice? Not even close. You use a candidate’s sick daughter to prove a point regarding your support of a plan that around 65% of Americans flatly oppose and refer to yourself as moderate? Wow…

  2. Muslhed1:

    Judging from your handle, citing why health-care reform is necessary is probably a waste of time, but here goes:

    Forty five million Americans lack health insurance. Health care costs in the U.S. far exceed those in other industrialized nations. Big Insurance, Big Pharma and for-profit hospitals have had the American people by the short and curlies.

    What to do?

    Letting the market do its thing, which is the reasoning behind most politicans who oppose Washington having anything to do with health-care reform, including the born-again Romney, is a non starter. ObamaCare is a modest start toward leveling the playing field.

    And please cite where you got the 65 percent against number.

  3. Shouldn’t the title say THERE and not THEIR?

  4. Maybe we should start calling this place the The Within Standard Deviation Voice?

  5. I feel for his daughter, but Santorium is a BIG FAT … If this same daughter was raped, this statement by daddy tells her to keep the raped pregnancy as a “gift from God.”
    http://littlegreenfootballs.co....._Given_You

  6. Spam blocker BS

    And so to embrace her and to love her and to support her and get her through this very difficult time, I’ve always, you know, I believe and I think the right approach is to accept this horribly created — in the sense of rape — but nevertheless a gift in a very broken way, the gift of human life, and accept what God has given to you. As you know, we have to, in lots of different aspects of our life. We have horrible things happen. I can’t think of anything more horrible. But, nevertheless, we have to make the best out of a bad situation.

    Santorum = … & hypocrite
    I doubt if this daughter was raped that she would keep this “gift for Jesus” and daddy would welcome his rape granddaughter…

  7. Actually, I bet he would encourage his daughter to keep the baby. I don’t think he soc con ideology is fake…it is the real deal for sure.

    Of course, if that granddaughter ended up being a lesbian…he might disown her.

  8. Hey Shaun, in case you’re wondering, the people above hitting you using TMV could be followers of Jim Geraghty or some incarnation thereof.

    Today on Twitter:

    Ah yes, the so-called “Moderate Voice”, using Bella to hit her father for opposing socialized medicine…

    You got the right’s attention.

  9. Taylor:

    Bingo. A certain editor-in-chief at this site is getting some pressure from the usual suspects to pull the post because it is not moderate in their view.

    Funny that this certain editor-in-chief wasn’t pressured by these usual suspects when I wrote a scathing condemnation late last year about Obama’s shortcomings that certainly was not moderate.

  10. FWIW I am no liberal and don’t see that Shaun is exploiting or “using” Bella at all. I don’t agree with him on all of it but it’s a fair point that he’s raising.

  11. SHAUN MULLEN, TMV Columnist says:
    JANUARY 30, 2012 AT 11:30 AM

    Welcome to my world, Shaun. ;-)

    In my view, TMV is about viewpoints from all sides, which in the end balances out.

    Michael Reagan is cross-posted here and I never complain. In fact, I appreciate hearing conservative voices, though I’m not a Michael Reagan fan, because what he writes is so often fact free.

    I’ve been reading Eric Erickson forever.

    People reading TMV need to understand that it’s the accumulation of all points of view that is important.

  12. The point, of course, is that healthcare is all impersonal — just policy, economics, politics — until you don’t have the healthcare you or your child needs. If the post were making fun of this child’s disease or illness, or implying that Santorum’s evil ways were the cause of it, or something like that, yeah, that would be over the line. Shaun knows that many of the liberals on this site (myself included) would rightfully call him on out on such things. Saying that other people deserve the excellent, possibly miracle-working healthcare that Santorum gets with his government-paid health insurance plan is just taking something that should be personal to all of us, and pointing out that in fact it is personal.

    Pretending that being able to keep our children alive is somehow impersonal or just a matter of policy is the radical, immoderate position here.

  13. One area I do differ with Shaun is the characterization of the problem relative to Obamacare and the estimate of how many three-year-olds are uninsured. One thing the US does pretty well already is medical coverage for children. Many children qualify for Medicaid and many of those who don’t will qualify for other state programs for children – here in Iowa it is called the Hawk-I program.

    http://www.hawk-i.org/en_US/costs.html

    Most other states have similar programs and for the most part children have coverage. That doesn’t mean there aren’t still some kids that fall between the cracks – there are – but the number for 3-year-olds will be way less than a million.

    Personally I am all for assuring 100% of kids have coverage. Where Obamacare will have by far the most impact is not on children but on uninsured low-income adults under age 65.

  14. DaGoat:

    You reinforce my point, albeit somewhat indirectly. As president, Santorum would work to eliminate the government programs for the fall-between-the-cracks kids although as a senator he voted for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)

    He is on record as having voted against expanding the enrollment period for Medicare Part D, increasing the Medicaid rebate for producing generics, negotiating bulk purchases for Medicare prescription drugs, allowing reimportation of Rx drugs from Canada, allowing patients to sue HMOs, including prescription drugs under Medicare, and on increasing tobacco restrictions.

  15. I think you’re mixing apples and oranges. Most of the programs you mention are directed at adults. What is your basis for saying Santorum would work to eliminate CHIP? I did a brief search and I’m not seeing anything about that.

  16. DaGoat:

    I believe it is part of his Get Government Off Our Backs mantra. Reproductive rights being a conspicuous exception.

  17. I was personally for a single payer system for health care. I heard the (possibly somewhat deranged) arguments that the federal government would not do it right, so I proposed that they should start with all children. After they got their feet wet, so to speak, they could expand to age 25 and finally cover everyone. This would allow them to find where the likely cheats and frauds would occur before committing themselves to too much money too early.

    As for a child conceived through rape: I brought up my girls to respect life. They would likely go full term, even in the case of rape. Is it the child’s fault that the biological father was a criminal? I believe Santorum probably would have the same opinion (in this particular case) to me. He would encourage his daughter to go to full term. I tend to give a person the benefit of the doubt until they prove otherwise.

    As for the care that his daughter has received: don’t be so certain that the health care act that was passed would include the excellent care that Bella is getting. The bill does not dictate that everyone get the BEST of life saving care–only that they have access to some kinds of it. In the end, society probably could not afford to offer the BEST care to everyone. They should, in my humble opinion, be able to offer certain minimums, however.

  18. Rcoutme:

    I am most definitely not assuming that ObamaCare will afford all of the Bellas excellent care. Far from it.

    What it does provide is access to care — good, bad or indifferent — and that is a substantial improvement over the status quo.

  19. “Is it the child’s fault that the biological father was a criminal?”

    Is it the woman’s fault she got pregnant?

  20. “A certain editor-in-chief at this site is getting some pressure from the usual suspects to pull the post”

    Well that is pathetic. Now I have asked someone to cut out Reagan’s tongue and break his fingers, but that is completely reasonable.

    Hey Roro… you have to wonder how these ideologies would stand if men had to carry a rapists child for 9 months?

  21. Exactly, Shannon. Although I have heard carrying a baby, birthing it, raising it or giving it up for adoption carries about the physical and emotional weight of having an extra freckle on your nose, so no big deal, right?

  22. Needless to say, the child is an innocent and we all want her to get all the help she needs. We should want that for all children no?

    “But in yet another of the hypocrisy-tinged ironies that abound in today’s Republican Party, he is against the government helping provide health insurance to the families of all the other Bellas in America who become ill but cannot afford decent care.”

    Yes, that IS hypocrisy. Pointing this out has nothing to do with whether one is a moderate or not, it is simply a fact. The only remaining question has to do with whether or not one feels that hypocrisy is acceptable or not. Many of us believe it destroys credibility. Too complicated??

  23. It’s the kind of family situation that is so painfully similar to questions in ethical studies. Remember, the life boat can only take ten, which 90 of the 100 will be left to die. This made most of us insane to try to answer for we wanted to save everyone…forming chains, tying the strongest together to drift alongside the liftboat, taking turns in the life boat… nothing worked in reality to match our hearts. I am sorry for little Bella and for all the children who suffer with or without cutting edge aid. Shaun, remember the little one I named Little Iraqi Madonna? I think of her so often. To me she represents all children who didnt have a fair chance. I pray for Bella. And I wish I knew a better answer for the vulnerable people everywhere. I help within my reach.And I know you and fair damsel do also, and others here as well. It’s never enough, I know. Thanks Shaun, it’s hard to look at, but even harder, I think, to look away.

  24. Also with regard to ‘moderate voice.’ I’ve never til now put my oar in, but will, and will continue to now. Mainly because it has gotten really old to remind this is the place for civil debate about the topic brought up by writers. The topic. Not the writer, not the site, not other commenters. All this is spelled out clearly in the commenters rules, which are as fair for civil discussion as any Ive seen.

    Over the years I’ve been at tmv as journo and ed., I’ve seen /heard from people who, in my opinion, ought to be incensed about injustice where they live but who instead squander spray on something strident and seemingly faux incensed about TMV not being to their idea of ‘moderate.’

    I’ve seen others think that moderate here means everything should be watered down, complaining many of the articles are ‘too strong.’ My thought is life is pretty strong with no place to hide, and not sure why a small political blog matters in the equation for someone’s hopefully broad and deep life of useful action to the good.

    Some have wanted to say how tmv and its writers should be put together and what each writer ought say or be limited to saying. They seem not to know about 1st Amend.

    Since I’ve been managing editor for a couple years now, I see clearly from the inside out what I saw before from the outside… that our writers are one of a kind, with minds absolutely of their own. No surprise. Most are pro journalists. We have some courtesies we ask between writers/commenters, and other than that, each writer is not a domesticated dog on a leash, but free to run on open land.

    We placed in the commenters’ rules in order to keep a civil living room here, that commenters who choose to highjack a topic, attack writers and commenters, or settle on personal affront that this site does not agree with their personal wishes about how a site ought be run, and that we should all wake up and kow tow ‘for our own good’ for reasons x y or z and believe me, I’ve heard all the plaints… well, here, those commenters who want to debate, discuss and teach in civil discourse are welcomed. And that’s how we keep civil ground so that many people are able to discuss their points with one another … and the comments are well worth reading… which many of us who write here do… and daily, as well as other tmv readers who do not comment ever, but we hear from them via email.

    Taylor is correct; and I’d just add this metaphor: the vision is not that each ingredient in a chocolate cake is chocolate. It is the combination of ingredients of many kinds is what makes a chocolate cake, which also includes chocolate, but if one looks at a chocolate cake recipe, chocolate is not the main ingredient, several others take precedence. And it is chocolate cake nonetheless, for certain.

    Moderate Voice is composed of many kinds of voices that make this a not ‘middle of the road,’ but a site wherein many speak. We are pretty diverse genderwise, ethnically, racially, agewise and across several nationalities.. and we do run Michael Reagan… and will run Cindy Sheehan as a regular sometime soon to balance out like for like (ok ok, I’m kidding about Cindy. For now) .

    When I first came to tmv in 2007, I came not because of the name, but because of Joe G and the other thoughtful pro writers here I admired, many of whom have become like brothers and sisters, including two who have recently, sadly, passed away. And, I signed on thinking moderate was like moderator… one who hears/listens to many voices. I didnt hear the word as ‘watered down’ nor vapid, nor has to be according to a reader’s notion, nor as a place to try to spread screed. I saw it as a place to help mediate a very challenging and complex world that contains hundreds of nations and billions of stories every day. So this para is just my personal response to the idea of moderate/ moderators/ mediators/ interpretors, reporters of events and subsequent analyses.

    Moving back to ed. again… If you’re new here, please read the commenters’ rules. Abide by them and all is well and will be well.

    Thanks,
    archangel/ dr.e

  25. I know this may be getting old, but I’ll say it again: Thanks for taking on a thankless but essential job, dr. E., and doing it with class.

  26. “Class”, yes. Also brilliance and heart… and the usually (we’d better hope) sheathed sword.

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