Apologies 'R Us

Richard Clarke's mea culpa to the nation and the families of 9/11 confused many people. "Your government failed you. Those entrusted with protecting you failed you. I failed you." The hell was that? Encyclopedias were consulted. The Capitol was all a-dither. Nobody could pinpoint exactly what happened. Residents of DC haven't witnessed anybody apologize for anything since OG, original George, of the Washington variety with that whole cherry tree deal and even then, rumor has it, dad had to pry it out of him with the business end of a blunderbuss.

Nowadays, an apology is seen as a sign of weakness. The French apologize. In America, we find it much better to forge forward ignoring all obvious mistakes, while trying to create enough noise and dust to cover your trail, which isn't all that hard here in the Twenty First century where the average attention span is close to that of a gnat blink. But now apologies are the rage and the fabric of our nation is at stake.

This disastrous turn of events must be averted. Testifying in front of the 9/11 Commission, Condoleezza Rice may be forced to reverse her "60 Minutes" appearance in which she gamely resisted any urge to make amends. But little can be done to erase the image of Clarke as a folk hero and don't think the word isn't getting out. Listen real close, you can almost hear the reluctant focus groups plopping down in their rented folding chairs. And I predict, unless this ghastly trend is nipped in the bud, big time political consultants will be forced to report that when stuff goes bad, taxpayers actually prefer someone to take responsibility and request forgiveness. If this gets out, it could lead to a veritable rampage of repentance. Folks will be knocking each other down running around the Capital apologizing willy-nilly into open microphones tying up conference rooms where important legislation could be stalled. Imagine the ugliness that could ensue.

  • Former President Bill Clinton, for, well, you know.

  • NY Senator, Hillary Clinton for not slapping Bill around when he was little.

  • Senator Trent Lott just for his hair.

  • Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger for smiling all the damn time. The hell is wrong with him?

  • Vice President Dick Cheney for running the country, not telling us and not doing a better job.

  • Commerce Secretary Donald Evans for criticizing John Kerry for "looking French." Yeah, right, and he smells like a tax cut too.

  • Senator Edward Kennedy for his behavior during the Seventies.

  • Condoleezza Rice just for her hair.

  • Talk show host Larry King for those darn suspenders.

  • Senator Edward Kennedy for his behavior during the Eighties.

  • Former President Jimmy Carter for his brother Billy.

  • Governor Jeb Bush for his brothers Neil and George.

  • Former First Lady Barbara Bush for not slapping George around when he was little.

  • Presumptive Democratic Presidential Candidate John Kerry for sharing the same planet with Jane Fonda.

And political comic Will Durst for whatever happened during those inconvenient oil-slicks in his memory.

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