November 02, 2006

Politics Means Never Having To Say You’re Sorry

Okay, dear reader: One more note on the recent John Kerry Thinks the Troops Are Stupid Brouhaha, and then we’ll blithely consign this rather insignificant scandal to the trash heap. Every right-leaning “weblog” this side of the Baltic Sea is nattering on about this topic, and, quite frankly, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” prefer our “posts” to be far less timely. (At some point we’ll get around to bashing Alexander Haig. Man, that guy really gets under our skin.)

Anyway, we’re continuing our discussion of John Kerry’s gaffe precisely because we’ve just taken a gander at his curious attempt at contrition via press release. After resolutely refusing to apologize one minute, the junior Senator from Massachusetts decided to apologize the next. Way to demonstrate that you’re not a flip-flopper, Mr. Kerry.

Well, to be fair, Senator Kerry’s apology isn’t much of an apology. In fact, as the press release makes crystal clear, Mr. Kerry doesn’t feel all that apologetic. For the benefit of the one person who hasn’t been keeping up with this story, here’s what Andrew Sullivan would deem the “money quote”:

I sincerely regret that my words were misinterpreted to wrongly imply anything negative about those in uniform, and I personally apologize to any service member, family member, or American who was offended.

Huh. That’s odd, isn’t it? The bit on the end was quite good, we thought. But he’s got the start all wrong: “I sincerely regret that my words were misinterpreted to wrongly imply anything negative about those in uniform.”

Now, never mind the split infinitive. We imagine that’s just an example of the Senator’s superior education and intellect on display. (President Bush, eat your heart out.)

Instead, home in on the heart of this statement: I’m sorry that other people misinterpreted me. Why the heck would one be sorry about that? Angry, perhaps; dismayed, sure; but sorry? It makes no sense.

Naturally, this is a non-apology apology. You’ve probably witnessed such a thing before—when you were around age 12 in the schoolyard. Never thought you’d see the day a distinguished political figure would offer an example of it, did you?

Well, don’t be so naďve. Frankly, all this ire directed at Mr. Kerry has actually made us pine to defend him. It’s sad, but it’s true.

We’re particularly tired of lefty complaints about Senator Kerry, which attempt to turn him into the Bill Buckner of the Democratic Party. Puh-lease: You voted for him, you dolts. Don’t you deserve a little bit of the blame?

In fact, as much as we would love to join the anti-Kerry orgy, we simply must say it: All he’s offered us is an example of the typical politician’s trick: Never apologizing.

Let’s face facts, people. Politicians almost never offer an earnest display of contrition. They enjoy apologizing as much as most of us fancy cleaning the toilet with our tongue. As much as people like to pretend that apologies are good for politicians’ careers, they’re clearly not, or everyone would be constantly admitting to their shortcomings.

Yes, Mr. Kerry’s non-apology is asinine. As was his reaction to this stupid ordeal in the first place. But we don’t think it’s much more than a glaringly tone-deaf version of politics as usual in this country.

So leave John Kerry alone, will you? If people continue to pile on him, we may feel so sorry for him that we'll be compelled to vote for the guy.

Posted at November 2, 2006 12:01 AM | TrackBack