Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Making Amends - Wead Apologizes to Bush

"Through love and faithfulness sin is atoned for;"
- Proverbs, 16:6 (New International Version)

Via Political Animal, author Douglas Wead has apologized publicly to President Bush for releasing their secretly taped conversations to the news media and for using them in a book. The apology appears as an open letter in USA Today.

For those who might not remember, the Bush tapes were quite the media sensation when exerpts appeared in the New York Times. It was part of Wead's effort to promote his book, The Raising of a President.

Now, with his apology, there is the predictable speculation that someone in the White House "got to" Wead and forced this public act of repentance. Even given this administration's reputation, this is too cynical an interpretation of Wead's motives. It is impossible to know what is in the man's heart.

When the NY Times story appeared, even the most liberal bloggers and pundits agreed that Wead was the vilest of traitors for recording his friend Bush and then releasing the content of the tapes to the news media without the president's knowledge or consent. What he did was wrong. It is perfectly appropriate that he should issue a public apology to someone that he shamed publicly. It is admirable that Doug Wead is trying to make amends and to repair a relationship that he damaged with his selfishness.

Whether the effort succeeds is another matter, of course. Bush is known to prize loyalty over all other virtues. He also has a reputation, deserved or not, for vindictiveness. In this case, he has a genuine grievance against his former friend. However, the saddest truth about betrayal is that saying "I'm sorry" is really all that the offender can do to make up for his offense. Wead seems to understand this when he writes:

If I could live my life over again, there are many things I would do differently. I cannot undo the hurt I have caused but I can, with God's help, take the heat I deserve and move on.
Now, as in the case of all such injuries, the burden is on the injured party to do the necessary work to repair the relationship. Even the most hard-core Bush basher has to hope that forgiveness dwells in the president's heart.