Category 2 is the evasive apology: “I may have made an innocent mistake, and I’m sorry for it—if I actually did it.”
And there’s Category 3, the apology that’s so rare in politics it doesn’t yet have a name: “I did something wrong, and I’m sorry for it.” This used to be just called an apology, but the other types of apology make the old name inadequate. Just as technology made us replace “phone” with “dial phone,” and mail with “snail mail,” politics makes us put an adjective in front of “apology.” Call it the real apology.
Republican Senate candidate Mark Kirk of Illinois had a lot to apologize for. A month ago he apologized to the Chicago Tribune for a pile of whoppers about his 21-year record as a Navy Reserve intelligence officer: He had not come under fire in Iraq as claimed; had not participated in Operation Desert Storm; had not won the Navy’s award for intelligence officer of the year; had not commanded the Pentagon war room, and had not served in Operation Iraqi Freedom, the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
His apology was Category 2: “I am sorry, absolutely. You should speak with utter precision. You should stand on the documented military record. In public discourse, for high office, you should make sure that there is a degree of complete rigorous precession.” (more…)