Thursday, September 10, 2009

Joe Wilson's non-apology apology

Rep. Joe Wilson, who apparently mistook last night's joint session of congress for a town-hall meeting, has issued a standard Republican non-apology for calling the President of the United States a liar.

Wilson scurried out of the House chamber last night after the president's speech and had his office issue the non apology.

“This evening I let my emotions get the best of me when listening to the president’s remarks regarding the coverage of illegal immigrants in the health care bill. While I disagree with the president’s statement, my comments were inappropriate and regrettable. I extend sincere apologies to the president for this lack of civility.”
It's fine for Wilson to acknowledge the obvious about his lack of civility toward the president and, frankly, the entire country. But a real apology would also admit that what he said was wrong. A real apology would not seek to justify the outburst by defending what motivated it. That is what Wilson does by including the phrase, "While I disagree with the president's statement..."

The president's statement was that the health reform plan he is supporting will not cover illegal immigrants. That is a fact.


Nothing in this subtitle shall allow Federal payments for affordability credits on behalf of individuals who are not lawfully present in the United States.
So, on what basis does Wilson disagree with the president's factual statement that the plan will not cover illegal immigrants? There is no basis, other than Wilson's ignorance or dishonesty. He either has no idea what he is talking about or he is lying.

And Wilson's "apology" is nothing of the kind. Saying you're sorry for calling the president a liar only works if you apologize for what you said, not just the tone you used when you said it.