Apology is in the wind. Everyone is apologizing. And those who are not apologizing are demanding that others apologize.
The apologies offered run from governments apologizing for historical injustices to individuals – particularly politicians – apologizing for what they have said. Even magazines and newspapers are apologizing.
Therefore, as I can avoid it no longer, I must apologize for all the horrid things I have said in recent times. To start, I would like to apologize effusively to Howard Dean for suggesting that he was a loose cannon, loud and embarrassing. After reviewing the evidence, I have concluded that Dean is a gentle soul, a quiet, contemplative man – tranquil in the extreme.
Likewise, after viewing hours of tapes, I have concluded that I was in error in writing about Bill O’Reilly as a rude, ignorant zealot who performs without any regard to the norms of journalism. Now I realize that O’Reilly is a sensitive, erudite and compassionate interlocutor; a man of deep understanding and subtle nuance.
In the same vein, I have misrepresented Tom DeLay. Whereas I have accused him of being a bigot, a perverter of the course of justice, and a power-hungry, money-grubbing lobbyist-indulging demagogue, after careful consideration I see that he is a thoughtful legislator, committed to seeing both sides of every issue.
Further, rather than gerrymandering the electoral districts in Texas to the benefit of his party, I now realize that this selfless public servant was only perfecting democracy.
Nancy Pelosi has been hard used by me. I am ashamed that I have said she has no ideas and a delivery that would not distinguish her at a parent-teacher meeting. Through meditation, I have come to realize that Pelosi is an inspired leader with great vision and a speaking style so deft that she could convert a Chamber of Commerce audience to socialism. What a charmer!
Alan Greenspan has unfairly received the sharp end of my pencil. Can you believe that I have said that he is a study in obfuscation, a confused old man who gets his jollies from impenetrable speeches about the economy _ speeches that leave the impression that he does not even read The Wall Street Journal? Well, after taking a speed-reading course in economics, I now realize that he is a towering intellect in the field; the greatest central banker who has ever lived; and that if you are attuned to the subject, he speaks of economics with clarity and enlightenment. Not only that, as he plays tennis, he clearly is still in his prime and a national treasure.
Speaking of clarity, the U.S. Supreme Court has been unfairly tongue-lashed by myself. On re-reading my notes, I find that Clarence Thomas is a strict constructionist, not a dummy operated by ventriloquist Antonin Scalia. My notes clearly reveal that he is a justice of profound depth, few but exquisite words, and his own man. It was without charity or decency that I subscribed to the view that the only construction he understood was payday.
I am ashamed that I have misunderstood Karl Rove and characterized him as a strategic planner of class warfare, bent on demonizing liberals and advancing the agenda of television preachers. Nothing could be further from the truth, I now understand. Rove is revealed to me, after contemplation, as a steadying hand: the self-effacing architect of a kinder, gentler America. Rove reads many books, which reveals that he is not the Rasputin of the Right, but a wise political philosopher who puts national unity above all else.
When it comes to Grover Norquist, the man is inspired. Who else without office could reveal an entirely new concept for the nation: governance without taxation? I have unfairly accused him of taking corporate dollars and playing to the greed of the moguls. No, no. After counseling, I see plainly that a great nation in debt is a great nation triumphant.
It is abysmally low of me to suggest that the United States is becoming a wholly owned subsidiary of Asian financiers because of Norquist’s philosophy. It is brilliant that we can leverage the world’s lenders to keep ourselves afloat. Right on, Grover!
Ann Coulter is a woman wronged by myself. Rather than being insanely obsessed with liberals, pathologically indignant over former President Clinton, and a relentless self-promoter, Coulter, I find, is sensitive, feminine, concerned and anxious to understand other points of view. She is a woman of towering intellectual ability, without meanness or ego. And she does not fire relentless accusations at those on the left. No, gentle persuasion is her forte.
To all these, I offer the most profound apology for my own snap judgments, preparedness to take them out of context, and general awfulness. So sorry.
Next week: Berlusconi apologizes to Chirac for Caesar’s invasion of Gaul; Scandinavians apologize to Britons for the Vikings; and Tony Blair writes an abject letter to the Pope, denouncing Henry VIII. Also: Pfizer apologizes to Elizabeth Dole for Viagra.
(Llewellyn King is editor and publisher of White House Weekly. He can be reached at lking(at) kingpublishing.com.)