For Politicians, It’s Never Too Late to Say ‘I’m Sorry’
In this overheated political season, Republican leaders are claiming that President Barack Obama is not a strong enough leader and is too willing to apologize. But a quick look at American history shows that Republican presidents have a long tradition of apology.
Republican President Abe Lincoln once had doubts about the ability of Ulysses S. Grant to lead the army at Vicksburg, notes political humorist Steven Sarshik (www.sarshik.com), New York attorney and author of the satirical novel, The Apology, a humorous look at policy blunders as former President George W. Bush gets arrested for war crimes while in Greece.
“When events showed that Lincoln was wrong, he wrote to the general: ‘I now wish to make the personal acknowledgement that you were right and I was wrong.’ ”
Grant himself offered an apology at the end of his turbulent presidential years in office, Sarshik says.
“He told Congress that it had been his ‘misfortune to be called to the Office of Chief Executive without any previous political training,’ and apologized for his ‘errors in judgment.’ ”
Republican icon Ronald Reagan apologized in 1988 for the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II more than 40 years earlier. He even signed legislation opening the way for reparation payments, Sarshik says.
“So, apologies from presidents are as American as apple pie,” the author says, and offers Bush an opportunity to eat up.
Top 10 Reasons Bush Should Apologize!
10. He was the first president in more that 200 years to have his vice president shoot someone (while still in office). It happened one time before in 1804 when Vice President Aaron Burr, serving under Thomas Jefferson, shot Alexander Hamilton.
9. He set back the cause of reading 300 years. He read My Pet Goat and had trouble with the big words. Bush reportedly said in 2000: “One of the great things about books is sometimes there are some fantastic pictures.”
8. He set back the cause of science 200 years when he proclaimed to a crowd in 2005, “The jury is still out on evolution.”
7. He appointed John Ashcroft as attorney general. One of Ashcroft’s first tasks was to cover up the exposed breast of the Spirit of Justice statue at the Department of Justice.
6. Kim Kardashian first came to prominence during his administration.
5. He was responsible for hanging chads, swinging chads and the Florida election count, and ultimately for the lame Supreme Court decision in Bush v. Gore.
4. He spent more than 400 vacation days at his ranch in Crawford, Texas.
3. He said in all seriousness: “Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job.”
2. He unfurled the “Mission Accomplished” banner seven years too soon.
1. He couldn’t find Osama Bin Laden.
Sarshik, for his part, makes no apology for pointing out any politician’s blunders.
About Steven Sarshik
Steven Sarshik has been a New York City trial lawyer for more than 30 years, handling all sorts of politically charged cases – much like the fictitious one he paints in “The Apology.” He is also the author of “Wrongful Death,” a novel about an NYC police shooting.