Dana Milbank: it's time for a moratorium on a democratic apology
WASHINGTON – Forgive me, but would anyone mind if we declared a moratorium on democratic excuses?
I do not doubt that many public officials have done things worthy of regrets. But it is becoming difficult to keep up with the sorry show.
"From the bottom of my heart, I am deeply, deeply sorry," said Virginia Chief Prosecutor Mark Herring in a statement expressing the "greatest shame" as he recognized wearing the black face in college when he went to a party as a rapper .
Five days earlier, Herring had asked the governor of Virginia Ralph Northam, a Democrat, to resign for doing the same. "I am deeply sorry for the decision I made to look like I did in this photo," Northam said before turning over and claiming he was not in the 1984 blackface photo just found on his medical school yearbook page.
Governor Justin Fairfax, meanwhile, has just been accused of sexual violence in 2004 (which he denies) and of having dropped an F bomb during a meeting (confirmed by his office). A new clock for apology has been declared for the Richmond area.
If he arrives, he will collide with a national apology tour underway by the Democratic presidential elections.
Senator Elizabeth Warren (Massachusetts) apologized on Wednesday for identifying herself as a Native American, expanding her previous excuse for doing a DNA test to prove her lineage. "I'm sorry," he told the Washington Post.
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (New York) said she "really regretted" some of her previous pro-gun and tenacious immigration positions.
Former Vice-President Joe Biden regrets his "big mistake" of supporting legislation against crime. Senator Kamala Harris (California) expressed "regret" for decisions taken (by others) when he was a prosecutor.
Not to be outdone, the representative Tulsi Gabbard (Hawaii) has produced a video of excuses, saying that she was "deeply sorry" for the old observations on "homosexual extremists".
Apparently, being a Democrat always means having to say that you're sorry. Maybe the party could release group excuses? Oh, I'm sorry, he already did it.
"I'm sorry," said Democratic National Committee president Tom Perez as a general excuse for taking African Americans for granted.
This is an unfortunate situation, because the person who has the most excuses does not show regrets. "Under my administration," President Donald Trump said in his speech on Tuesday's state of the Union, "we will never apologize for pushing American interests forward."
Nor for nothing else!
Asked once to clarify various lies, such as President Barack Obama's claim on his phone, Trump replied: "Why do you say I have to apologize?" Said that he could increase his legal argument for his travel ban, disavowing his anti-Muslim rhetoric, he replied: "There is no reason to apologize."
On the other hand, he apologized for, among others, Hillary Clinton, Warren, the rebellious meteorologists, the "false news", CNN, the ESPN and the cast of "Hamilton". He greeted the excuses the New York Times did not offer him. And he expressed jealousy that ABC apologized to Valerie Jarrett for Roseanne Barr's racist remarks, but not for "HORRIBLE statements made and told about ABC on me."
Trump's excuses tend to be ironic: to bring the work back too quickly, to call the beautiful women, for the "terrible pain and suffering", the Democrats have caused Brett Kavanaugh, for insulting the real Pocahontas by defining that name Warren.
For Trump, apologizing is weakness. After years of mockery of Obama's "apology tour", Trump boasted in a campaign event a year ago: "Last eight years, we have seen many excuses, no longer, we do not apologize."
His refusal makes sense. Narcissistic types often do not apologize. At the other extreme, profuse apologies can be a sign of anxiety and sometimes derive from violent relationships. Democrats lately tend towards the second.
The problem with the binge of the Democrats' apology is in the volume. Genuine contrition is one thing. But if a politician seems to apologize for being discovered, or for political gain, it is unpleasant.
This leads us back to Virginia. Northam invalidated his apologies when he withdrew his admission that was in the picture. Herring's excuses could work better – if he did it to clean up his conscience and not because he would have come out anyway.
If both apologists fail and Fairfax succumbs, the governorate would go to the House parliament – which, as Mark's Post pointed out, has the job because the name of a Republican was pulled from a bowl to break a tie.
I'm sorry, but this is not the way to manage a government.
Dana Milbank is a Washington Post artist. Contact him on Twitter, @Milbank.