What will Sean Hannity do without Alan Colmes? Where can Fox News ever get someone else who so perfectly fits the stereotype of the milquetoast liberal who spends half his time agreeing with his ideological opponents and the other half offering meek, half-hearted disagreements that can easily be shouted down?
You may have heard that the working title of the show was Hannity and [Liberal to Be Determined]. That pretty much sums up what the show was. One of the insights of Fox News was that as a conservative fair and balanced network, they needed to have more liberals on the air than the other 24-hour news networks did at the time, not fewer. Liberals needed to be on hand because it provided a great satisfying storyline for pundit/panel shows: the conservative goes up against the bespectacled wimpy liberal who wants us all to get gay-married to the environment, and the conservative wins. It was not only more satisfying for conservatives, but it was better entertainment than the average CNN pundit show, where everybody was terrified of being “partisan” (so you’d get the heterodox liberal Michael Kinsley Crossfiring with heterodox conservative Pat Buchanan). Alan Colmes, who on TV came off as a walking, or rather sitting, parody of all that is weakest and wussiest in American manhood, and that was the subtext of every episode: manly-man Sean Hannity triumphs over wuss-boy Alan. (I don’t know, or care, whether they live up to these stereotypes in real life; that doesn’t matter. This is entertainment programming.)