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We may not have a bird flu epidemic in America yet, but it looks like there is an outbreak of mea culpas in Raleigh and Washington lately.

This week Speaker Jim Black apologized for mistakes in judgment. His statement didn’t solve all his problems, but it gave him some badly needed political breathing room.

But that’s nothing compared with the deluge of apologies that has come out of the Bush White House lately. The Bushies so far have apologized for:

· Going to war in Iraq on flawed intelligence;

· Being asleep at the switch when Katrina hit;

· Opposing John McCain’s ban on torture. (By the way, what kind of fool tries to debate John McCain about torture, anyway? Dick Cheney, apparently.)

As I said in this space yesterday, in politics as in life, a little apology goes a long way.


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One comment on “An Outbreak of Apologies

  1. gpearce says:

    I’ve been going over some of these so-called apologies, and I’m afraid Mr. Pearce has once again misrepresented the facts.

    President Bush admitted what everyone already knew, namely that our intelligence concerning weapons of mass destruction in Iraq was flawed. But I neither heard nor read anything resembling an apology for going to war, nor is it likely that I (or you, or anyone else) ever will. Going to war in Iraq was the right thing to do and no apology is called for.

    I couldn’t find any reference to the President apologizing for ‘being asleep at the switch’ regarding Katrina either, although the administration has owned up to its shortcomings in the federal resonse. Now if only the corrupt and incompetent Mayor of New Orleans, and his equally corrupt and incompetent governor will admit to their shortcomings rather than try to blame it all on the feds, perhaps the record can finally be set straight.

    As for opposing John McCain’s foolish and shortsighted re-writing of our laws regarding the handling of prisoners of war, I don’t see how you can equate the President’s acceptance of the political reality that, bad as it is for American security, it had to pass, with any kind of apology. Perhaps Mr. Pearce is simply unclear on the definition of the word ‘apology’. Perhaps some generous person will supply Mr. Pearce with a dictionary for Christmas (or “The Holidays” as Mr. Pearce may refer to the occasion), so that he can look it up, and thus avoid future embarrassment.

    As for Speaker Black, he has indeed apologized for mistakes in judgement. Of course, no one had ever suggested that he had merely made ‘mistakes in judgement.’ Rather, he had been (and continues to be) under suspicion of corrupt and possibly illegal dealings. He has not apologized for any that; to do so he would have to first admit his guilt, which he is not likely to do. No matter. If he won’t do it, perhaps a jury will do it for him soon enough.

    Comment by Jim Stegall — December 17, 2005 @ 9:45 pm

    I don’t see how you can say someone is “under suspicion of corrupt and possibly illegal dealings” when the Feds have stated to Black’s attorneys that he is not a target of the investigation. (As has been reported by most media outlets)

    It’s also interesting that certain media outlets report only on Black and his campaign finances – when in fact – many other elected officials have questionable campaign reports. ie, why does Marc Basnight pay $20,000 out of his campaign to his Chief of Staff only weeks after his CoS announces he is leaving to be a lobbyist for NCCBI?

    Why does Marc Basnight pay his Legal Counsel (Norma Mills) for campaign work – who is also his campaign assistant treasurer? (sounds conflicting) Or when Norma Mills was working as Legal Counsel for Dare County – she awarded a sole source contract to Basnight Construction – and several months later Mills is paid a nice check out of Basnights campaign account?

    Oh, let us not forget about our dear Republican friends – like Rep. Ed McMahan from Mecklenburg who paid himself some $19,000 out of his campaign account in November 2004 yet does not report a ‘purpose’ for the payments….looks like McMahan was not even waiting to retire (like the story about Rep. Bowie, before putting $19,000 into his pocket.)

    Where’s the media on these items? Selective reporting by the Raleigh N&O’s Dan Kane? Sounds like it…..

    (I am sure there’s much more on many more – I only took 45 minutes to do some quick research. It would be amazing what some media organization could find if they actually looked beyond Black.)

    Comment by Abe — December 19, 2005 @ 10:33 pm

    I say that Speaker Black is under suspicion of corrupt and possibly illegal dealings because I and many others suspect that he has been engaged in corrupt and possibly illegal dealings. I suspect these things of Speaker Black because I have observed his behavior, as reported in the press, for quite some time now. For instance, I have observed how those interests that pay great amounts into his campaign fund always seem to get the legislation they want passed. I have observed how some people who contribute to his campaign seem to wind up with cushy jobs, regardless of their personal merits or qualifications. I have observed how people who are able to do him political favors inevitably get political or financial rewards, often at public expense. What I have not heard from anyone at the General Assembly is a complaint to the effect that, “Boy, that Speaker Black sure has made some errors in judgement lately. I sure wish he would apologize for them now.”

    Given what is publicly known, I can’t see how a rational, objective person can view Speaker Black’s history in the General Assembly without some degree of suspicion. I would wager that the vast majority of people who are familiar with the workings of the General Assembly (including perhaps, you) harbor these same suspicions. And by the way, we don’t actually know that the feds have said he is not a target of the investigation. We have only the word of Speaker Black’s attorney on that point.

    As for whatever shenanigans Senator Basnight and Representative McMahan may be involved in, I agree with you–let the investigative reporting roll!

    Comment by Jim Stegall — December 20, 2005 @ 3:07 pm

    And what I am saying is don’t have selective reporting by the media on the matter – look at the campaign war chests of Basnight, Rand, Brubaker, Blue, Morgan, Cooper, Perdue and others.

    And why not look also at the lobbyists that help bring in the fortunes – like Don Beason. What controls do these lobbyists have on legislators and legislation to make their clients give more and more – not only in contributions but to keep paying the lobbyists.

    If there’s a problem – it goes deeper and further back than just Black.

    Comment by Abe — December 20, 2005 @ 4:12 pm

    I agree 100%. In the meantime, I think we ought to take a serious look at campaign reporting requirements, lax laws which allow some politicians to raise unlimited amounts of money obstensibly for their own re-election campaigns, and then turn around and dole it out to other politicians who do them favors, and the lack of serious penalties for those politicians who are actually caught breaking the law. I suggest a mandatory life time ban on holding any paid public service position, elected or otherwise, for any elected official caught betraying the public trust. You can add in full restitution and at least, say, ten years in prison as well.

    Comment by Jim Stegall — December 20, 2005 @ 11:39 pm

    Why not ban any candidate from using his/her campaign account from donating to any other campaign, city, county, state, nonprofits, etc. Therefore, contributions made to a candidate may only be used for that specific candidates campaign.

    And put a limit (say no more than 50%) of PAC contributions to the overall amount raised in a cycle – therefore no campaign can thrive only from special interest groups. Therefore, the candidate must go out and raise x% of individual/grassroots contributions.

    If anyone reviews the campaign reports – you can see where these changes impact nearly every candidate.

    And ban lobbyists from coordinating and/or delivering bundled donations from their clients. For example – look at Don Beason and his client list – and the amount of contributions that come from his clients – ie, S&M Brands in VA to candidates at $4,000 a clip.

    And lobbyists can’t pay for legislative caucus events (Democrat, Republican or Black Caucus) ie, lobbyists paid for the Senate Democratic Caucus events.

    We also need to make sure ‘referendum committees’ register and report all contributions and expenditures with the State Board of Elections. I believe the pro-lottery committee was established as a referendum committee, therefore, does not have to repor
    t anything – ie, the bid corporations that made large contributions – nor, the vendors that did work for the committee. Gov. Mike Easley and his people were heavily involved in that committee – and should come clean and make public all contributions and expenditures. What special favors is the Governor handing out for those contributors having helped him get the lottery passed. It smells dirty and probably is dirty. Someone should get in and get those files open for public view.

    Comment by Abe — December 22, 2005 @ 7:04 am

    These are great ideas that deserve serious consideration. But I think it would take a lot of incumbents getting beat to make any of it happen.

    Comment by Jim Stegall — December 22, 2005 @ 12:05 pm

    yes – but there are some lobbyists out there that are just as sleazy!

    Comment by Abe — December 22, 2005 @ 2:04 pm

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