Politicians may occasionally apologize to their constituents. They rarely apologize to one another.
If there’s one thing our elected officials seem to verbalize about nearly as much as making tough decisions, it would have to be demanding apologies from their opponents – and never more so than during campaign season. Of course, these requests aren’t the kinds the rest of us make, because you and I actually expect apologies when we’re offended by someone else’s comments. These political requests are almost entirely pro forma, without any expectation that said apologies will be made.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s claim that an anonymous investor told him that Mitt Romney hadn’t paid any taxes for ten years drew a rebuke from Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson this week.
“I think Senator Harry Reid really owes Governor Romney an apology. I think he owes the Senate an apology,” said Johnson. “It’d be very similar to if I were to say “you know, heard from a Microsoft investor that Bill Gates hasn’t paid taxes. What does that mean? It’s an unsubstantiated claim from an anonymous source.”
AUDIO: Sen. Ron Johnson (:40)
Don’t expect an apology anytime soon from Reid. His claim, no matter how unsubstantiated, has people talking about Romney’s taxes instead of President Barack Obama’s record. Johnson knows this, of course, but he also understands this is how election year politics is played.
I’m still trying to figure out the triangulation from an apology that was requested during last week’s radio debate between the Republican candidates seeking to join Johnson in the Senate.
Former congressman Mark Neumann requested an apology from Eric Hovde, on behalf of Tommy Thompson. “Eric, if you’d been in Wisconsin for the last 24 years, you’d have learned to respect our governor, Tommy Thompson,” said Neumann. “Last week, when you questioned his intelligence, I think it was over the top, and I think you owe Governor Thompson and apology.”
AUDIO: Mark Neumann (:14)
Neither Thompson nor Hovde made comment on the nontroversy (Hovde had apparently referred to the headline in a Thompson campaign mailer as “stupid”), and Tommy presumably would have pressed Hovde for an apology on his own, had he been offended.