Harry Reid, Dan Riehl, and Bad Taste (Updated)

I’ve covered the whole debacle with Dan Riehl and his comments regarding Harry Reid’s wife here. Riehl had written a satire piece in which he asks whether Reid’s wife should be euthanized, because of the the cost of her health care.

Here’s what I said:

Riehl is making the point like this: if abortion is good because it saves health care dollars, then why are we paying for back and neck surgery on a 69-year-old woman, who will have to go through years of physical therapy? Because since Harry Ried is a Senator, his health care is covered by taxpayer money also. You follow?

Does Dan Riehl really want Harry Reid’s wife to be euthanized? I surely hope not, and I doubt it. But the shock of the statement makes a point of the absurdity of the Democratic position. It also reminds us that in places like the UK, that have socialized medicine, the elderly are often denied health care because they aren’t worth the cost to the system.

<snip>

Riehl’s point is well made. Under the socialized medical system than the Democrats are trying to force upon us, someone like Reid’s wife might not be seen worth saving. It is also somewhat hypocritical for Reid to leave his wife in the hands of the best medical system in the world and then return to his office to work on undermining that system with one that may not care for his wife.

Here’s what else I said:

That said, Riehl went a bit over the top. His comments were in rather poor form, and I think that he could have made the same point without being quite so crass. On the other hand, the feigned rage by the left-wing over Riehl’s comments are ridiculous, given the fact that no matter how tasteless, Riehl’s comments were obviously satirical, as well as the fact that left-wing blogs and message forums routinely fill up with death wishes whenever a conservative takes ill.

To recap: I think I was pretty clear that Riehl had a good point, but that he made it in an inappropriate and tasteless manner. That said, it was clearly satire, and anyone pretending is isn’t either has no grasp of satire or is so caught up in political ideology as to not care. The fact that it was crass and inappropriate does not change the fact that it was satire.

Apparently, by mentioning this, I am defending Riehl’s comments. And this is arousing the ire of some people on the Left. I, at my humble, tiny blog, have not only attracted the attention, but also the contempt, of the mighty Alan Colmes.

I don’t know what to say. I’m honored.

Colmes seems to be trying to make a point that conservatives make nasty comments and dismiss them as satire. Well, sometimes satire is nasty, I agree. That’s part of being satirical. And it’s unfortunate, because sometimes the points that satirical pieces are trying to make can be ignored because of the way in which they were made. It’s also unfortunate, because sometimes such satire crosses the line. As Riehl’s did.

It’s much easier for Colmes to dismiss Riehl’s comments because they were crass than it is to address Riehl’s actual point: that Democrats are advancing health care policies that would value the bottom line more than human life, and if enacted could potentially lead to a world in which Reid’s wife would be euthanized.

And Colmes’ crocodile tears over the so-called nastiness of conservative satire does little to move my heart. A satirical piece by Riehl asking when Democrats are going to decide health care for Reid’s wife is too expensive is over the line and the height of cruelty. But Bill Maher lamenting that an assassination attempt on Vice President Cheney failed is somehow acceptable? Maher wishing that Glenn Beck had been the Pentagon shooter is good satire? Sean Penn wishing that his critics would die of rectal cancer is okay? Spare me your double standards and feigned indignation, Mr. Colmes.

I would like to thank Alan Colmes for the traffic he’s given to my little blog. But I’m not sure how pointing out that satire is satire, while also pointing out that the satire in question was over-the-top and inappropriate, is defending the satirist. As I said, Riehl’s points were valid, but his means went to far, and he should have made those points in a less offensive way.

*Update*

Reid’s wife is out of the hospital, seems to be doing well, and is even up and walking around a bit. Here’s what Riehl had to say about it:

Glad to see she’s doing well, though I’m not sure what fast road to recovery means given the extent of her injuries. Thank God she didn’t have the same trouble as this fellow in the UK socialist health care system, who recently died from lack of care. Not that that would EVER happen here. Not with Harry looking after us with all the concern and attention he gave his wife, anyway.

Hm. So it looks like Riehl wasn’t actually calling for Mrs. Reid to be killed, and was only using her case as a rhetorical tool to make a point about the failings of socialized medicine, which Reid supports. What do they call such a rhetorical tool again? Oh yeah, satire.

Tasteless satire, but satire just the same.

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  1. Harry Reid, Dan Riehl, and Bad Taste « The Republican Heretic | Toss Congress
  2. Dan Riehl: Euthanize Harry Reid’s Wife « The Republican Heretic

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