The world of politics is famous for the non-apology apology. where someone "apologizes" for doing or saying something offensive or illegal or simply embarrassing without actually expressing any contrition or regret.
A prime example of this phenomenon happened last year when Rush Limbaugh famously called law student Sandra Fluke a "slut" and worse for arguing that health insurers should be required to cover contraception measures.
After a national uproar ensued, many of his radio show's sponsors took their business elsewhere. Limbaugh responded by apologizing for his "insulting word choices", but not for the hatefulness of his meaning.
To put is simply, Limbaugh was more sorry about the damage to the revenue stream to his radio show than his attack on someone advocated a policy position with which he disagreed.
At its best, the "non-apology apology" is merely weaselly; at its worst, it is a way of arrogantly re-insulting a previous victim under the guise of "making things right".
Now, the non-apology apology should not be confused with the *sarcastic* apology.
Like the non-apology apology, the sarcastic apology isn't really an apology.
Unlike the non-apology apology, the sarcastic apology doesn't really try to fool anyone into thinking that it is a genuine apology (unless it is directed toward people who don't speak sarcasm).
The best recent example of this comes from Texas Congressman Louie Gohmert.
Earlier this year, he joined some other conspiracy theorists/fetishists from DC (including AZ's Trent Franks) in a letters to federal intelligence and security agencies questioning the loyalty of a senior aide to the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton because the aide has Middle Eastern ancestry.
US Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) criticized Gohmert and the others, and Gohmert responded to McCain's criticism by referring to McCain as "numbnuts".
This week, Gohmert apologized. Sort of.
From the Houston Chronicle -
On Wednesday, the Republican from Tyler was appearing on the conservative radio show “Washington Watch with Tony Perkins,” when McCain, along with former Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry, was mentioned. Gohmert admitted he apologized for calling McCain a “numbnuts” following criticism the Arizona lawmaker made of a letter Gohmert and several others wrote. Gohmert said he should have left out the word “numb.”
“I did express my regret in saying that he was a numbnuts because I didn’t — I probably shouldn’t have used the word ‘numb’, ” Gohmert said. “That was probably unfair.”
Calling someone "numbnuts", well that isn't considered witty by anyone who has graduated from the 6th grade, but that faux apology is tremendously witty...by 9th grade standards.
Of course, my sense of humor seems to have stopped maturing sometime around 10th grade, hence my opinion that Gohmert's "apology" is reasonably funny.
Seriously, Gohmert calling someone else "nuts" (numb or otherwise) is like McCain calling someone else "old" - it might be true, but the source of the allegation isn't exactly in a position to point fingers.
Hat tip to the Texas blog Juanita Jean's| The World's Most Dangerous Beauty Salon, Inc. for spotting this, and anyone who is interested in learning about Texas' Gohmert, who wraps an entire AZ lege's worth of crazy into one body, should be a regular reader. She does a great job of keeping track of his brand of "howl at the moon" nuttiness.