With my own apology to mammals in the genus Mustela of the Mustelidae family, the mea culpa offered up without uttering the two simple words I’m and sorry just pisses me off for its pure weaselness. In Newt Gingrich’s column in Human Events he writes: "The word "racist" should not have been applied to Judge Sotomayor as a person".
After this prelude, Gingrich lays out his case against Sonia Sotemayor for the mostly conservative readers of Human Events. He ends by asking if she’s "a radical liberal activist who will cast aside the rule of law in favor of the narrow, divisive politics of race and gender identity?"
So he’s not saying he’s sorry for calling her a racist, just saying he shouldn’t have done so, and instead he describes her as a racist without using the word.
Huffington Post’s title for the piece about this is "Gingrich Takes Back Sotomayor ‘Racism’ Comment", which strikes me as inaccurate. One can’t literally "take back" calling someone a racist as if it was on loan. (CNN uses the more accurate title "Gingrich: I shouldn’t have called Sotomayor ‘racist’" on their Political Ticker.)
As far as I’m concerned the only way to come close to taking back calling someone a racist is by saying you’re sorry and meaning that you are sorry for noble reasons. You know, noble as in based on high moral principles.
I rather doubt Newt believes Sotomayor is actually a racist. If he’s at all sorry for anything it’s that he got caught in a Twitter induced spontaneous expression of nastiness that, like the swine flu, went pandemic on him.
Politicians’ racial primer in shoulda, woulda and coulda
1) Shoulda (also should of, grammatical: should have)
After the fact, use when there are consequences of saying something as a way to let your supporters know you really did mean what you said while feigning regret..
2) Woulda (see above for alternatives)
After the fact when thinking about a less politically risky way of phrasing something. Google racial code words for examples.
3) Coulda (see above for alternatives – rare)
The truth, as in "I could have actually been racially sensitive".