Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Apologize Already

I'm on record in several places on the internet as saying that politicians shouldn't apologize. And I basically mean it. Like in an election, you say something, people pounce on you to apologize, I always think it shows more weakness to apologize than to just say, "I said what I said. I stand by it. So there."

But I'm also on record saying that if it's some real slight, like you're a politician at the grocery store and you run over someone's foot with a grocery cart, you should apologize. It's not in the realm of weakness and exploitation at that point. It's a human mistake. (The big thing about not apologizing in the first instance above is that the opponents are never actually offended. They are just ginning up false outrage to make you look bad. That's when you don't apologize.)

Here, though, I think we have a sad case of the grocery cart on the foot. And the idiot should apologize. The idiot is Rep. Jim Bunning, R-Kentucky, who predicted in public that Ruth Bader Ginsberg would be dead in nine months or less. Maybe she will be. Maybe he will be too. Maybe I will be. But it doesn't sound very nice to be saying, especially since she has this terrible cancer. What harm would it be for him to hold his fool tongue on a deal like this? Now, as far as I know, he's not up for election next week. So it's not a matter of partisanship to say, "Apologize, moron."

Well, he did, sort of. One of those stupid apologies that isn't really one:

"I apologize if my comments offended Justice Ginsberg," Bunning said. "That certainly was not my intent. It is great to see her back at the Supreme Court today and I hope she recovers quickly. My thoughts and prayers are with her and her family."
I apologize IF my comments offended HER in particular. Why is it so hard just to suck it up once in a while and say, "I apologize for my comments. I regret them. I hope Justice Ginsberg recovers quickly. My thoughts and prayers are with her and her family." ?

That would be an apology that's short, sweet, to the point, has some grace, and shows actual regret. More class.

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