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Sometimes, I can’t help but feel a little bit sorry for Alan Colmes. I mean, what’s it like to be the house punching bag on Fox News?

First, Colmes spent years partnered with Sean Hannity, who dominated the show and defined the discussion. Then they dropped him — and just went with “Hannity” — without missing a beat.

Now, as a Fox contributor, he turns up on the channel whenever they need a token liberal to plug into the conversation. But he’s usually outnumbered and sometimes outmatched, which probably explains why he went a little overboard in his personal criticism of GOP candidate Rick Santorum, and wound up having to subsequently apologize.

Obviously, TV helps promote Colmes’ radio show, but it’s hard to envision much of the Fox News audience gravitating to his program, isn’t it? On a strict cost-benefit analysis, it’s hard to imagine the pay off is worth the cost of driving to the studio.

So I have to ask: Is all the abuse really worth it just to keep your face (occasionally) on cable TV, or is Alan Colmes’ middle name “pinata?”