Apology not accepted

Sen. Richard Durbin took to the floor of the United States Senate late Tuesday afternoon to ostensibly apologize for his offensive, stupid and seditious remarks comparing an American military base to the murderous regimes of the most notorious despots the world has ever seen. Sen. Durbin apologized — but did not retract.

During his floor statement, Sen. Durbin channeled his colleague George Voinovich by shedding a few tears. But more importantly, Sen. Durbin repeated the myth that his speech last week may have been misunderstood by those who were offended by his comparisons, and suggested that these misperceptions — not the remarks themselves — were the reason he decided to apologize.

"Some may believe," Sen. Durbin argued, "that my remarks crossed the line. To them I extend my heartfelt apologies."

Some? What about you, Senator? Are the interrogators at Gitmo just as bad as the SS?

Sen. Durbin, in his quest to retain his party leadership position and in an attempt to perhaps shield himself from censure, revealed an alarming ignorance for historical comparison when he said "I've come to understand that's (the comparisons of American military units to Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union and Pol Pot) a very poor choice of words."

What would the dishonorable gentleman from Illinois have chosen had he the chance to change the speech? That the interrogation tactics being used at American military prisons are more like that of Saddam Hussein's or Idi Amin's? Do those regimes fall more in line with what the Senator intended when he took the floor last week simply because they may not have killed as many people as Hitler, Stalin, or Pol Pot?

In his speech Tuesday, Sen. Durbin had the temerity to quote Abraham Lincoln on the end bringing one out right, and if the end brings him out right all of the criticism he has been taking these last days will not matter. Sen. Durbin thus suggests that, in time, he will be seen as a prophet, that the American military and the Bush Administration have sanctioned murder, torture and physical labor so taxing that human beings cannot sustain life.

As Sen. Durbin slithered away to make the introductory remarks at a fundraising dinner featuring Howard Dean, Senators immediately took to the floor to do what they do best — pat their colleague on the back for his "courage" and the "heartfelt" way in which he apologized. Sen. McCain finally surfaced to accept his apology and joined Sen. Lieberman in pronouncing the matter closed. Sen. Obama rushed to defend and commend his fellow Illinoisan and note that the issues Sen. Durbin raised must be discussed. Everyone lamented the fact that folks in the public eye all regret things that they have said in the past. That Sen. McCain called Sen. Durbin's speech today "courageous" shows he either had the sense beaten out of him during his own military incarceration or that he always has one eye on 2008. Perhaps both. Regardless, Sen. McCain does not have the authority or the standing to close the matter.

Again, this cliché that public figures at times make mistakes when called upon to speak is pure folly. No Senator ambles on to the floor to make an explicit point without prepared remarks in hand. Sen. Durbin, especially, is one of the more prepared speakers in the Senate when it comes to floor speeches — one wonders if the paper on which his speech was written had cues instructing him when to tear up and quiver his voice. Any C—SPAN2 junkie knows that Sen. Durbin consistently and annoyingly speaks not to the Senate itself, but to the camera — as if he is conducting a one—man town hall meeting with the nation. He did so again yesterday. Sen. Durbin is so conscious of where the red light is located on the cameras in the chamber that, out of habit, he probably dives into prepared remarks whenever he finds himself idling at a stoplight.

Public figures regretting public utterances usually do so when their remarks are extemporaneous or perhaps when mistakenly thinking they are saying things not for public consumption. This is not the case with Sen. Durbin. Sen. Durbin seized on an e—mail from the alleged FBI staffer, seized upon the mindset of the current lunatic wing of the Democratic Party and the mindset of the traitor before the speech was written. Sen. Durbin knew exactly what he was saying last week.

Sen. Durbin — or a staffer acting on his behalf — prepared the remarks in question. Sen. Durbin took to the floor of the United States Senate, one of the cornerstones of our Republic, and accused our government and our military officers of engaging in practices that not only did not happen but also were those of the gulag and the death camp. He did so with malice aforethought. His remarks were not misinterpreted nor were they a mistake — he meant to say what he said because they were, and are, what he thinks and believes will help his party out in 2006 and damage President Bush in the short run politically. That Senators allow this craven act to stand is nearly as horrifying as the remarks themselves.

Sen. Durbin can quote President Lincoln until the end of time, which, in and of itself, is offensive when it comes to this issue in particular, and the art of writing and delivering political speeches in general. It will be Sen. Durbin's words last week, however, that will stand until the end of time and they will never be brought out right. Apology not accepted.

Matt May can be reached at matthewtmay@yahoo.com; his blog is http://mattymay.blogspot.com

Sen. Richard Durbin took to the floor of the United States Senate late Tuesday afternoon to ostensibly apologize for his offensive, stupid and seditious remarks comparing an American military base to the murderous regimes of the most notorious despots the world has ever seen. Sen. Durbin apologized — but did not retract.

During his floor statement, Sen. Durbin channeled his colleague George Voinovich by shedding a few tears. But more importantly, Sen. Durbin repeated the myth that his speech last week may have been misunderstood by those who were offended by his comparisons, and suggested that these misperceptions — not the remarks themselves — were the reason he decided to apologize.

"Some may believe," Sen. Durbin argued, "that my remarks crossed the line. To them I extend my heartfelt apologies."

Some? What about you, Senator? Are the interrogators at Gitmo just as bad as the SS?

Sen. Durbin, in his quest to retain his party leadership position and in an attempt to perhaps shield himself from censure, revealed an alarming ignorance for historical comparison when he said "I've come to understand that's (the comparisons of American military units to Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union and Pol Pot) a very poor choice of words."

What would the dishonorable gentleman from Illinois have chosen had he the chance to change the speech? That the interrogation tactics being used at American military prisons are more like that of Saddam Hussein's or Idi Amin's? Do those regimes fall more in line with what the Senator intended when he took the floor last week simply because they may not have killed as many people as Hitler, Stalin, or Pol Pot?

In his speech Tuesday, Sen. Durbin had the temerity to quote Abraham Lincoln on the end bringing one out right, and if the end brings him out right all of the criticism he has been taking these last days will not matter. Sen. Durbin thus suggests that, in time, he will be seen as a prophet, that the American military and the Bush Administration have sanctioned murder, torture and physical labor so taxing that human beings cannot sustain life.

As Sen. Durbin slithered away to make the introductory remarks at a fundraising dinner featuring Howard Dean, Senators immediately took to the floor to do what they do best — pat their colleague on the back for his "courage" and the "heartfelt" way in which he apologized. Sen. McCain finally surfaced to accept his apology and joined Sen. Lieberman in pronouncing the matter closed. Sen. Obama rushed to defend and commend his fellow Illinoisan and note that the issues Sen. Durbin raised must be discussed. Everyone lamented the fact that folks in the public eye all regret things that they have said in the past. That Sen. McCain called Sen. Durbin's speech today "courageous" shows he either had the sense beaten out of him during his own military incarceration or that he always has one eye on 2008. Perhaps both. Regardless, Sen. McCain does not have the authority or the standing to close the matter.

Again, this cliché that public figures at times make mistakes when called upon to speak is pure folly. No Senator ambles on to the floor to make an explicit point without prepared remarks in hand. Sen. Durbin, especially, is one of the more prepared speakers in the Senate when it comes to floor speeches — one wonders if the paper on which his speech was written had cues instructing him when to tear up and quiver his voice. Any C—SPAN2 junkie knows that Sen. Durbin consistently and annoyingly speaks not to the Senate itself, but to the camera — as if he is conducting a one—man town hall meeting with the nation. He did so again yesterday. Sen. Durbin is so conscious of where the red light is located on the cameras in the chamber that, out of habit, he probably dives into prepared remarks whenever he finds himself idling at a stoplight.

Public figures regretting public utterances usually do so when their remarks are extemporaneous or perhaps when mistakenly thinking they are saying things not for public consumption. This is not the case with Sen. Durbin. Sen. Durbin seized on an e—mail from the alleged FBI staffer, seized upon the mindset of the current lunatic wing of the Democratic Party and the mindset of the traitor before the speech was written. Sen. Durbin knew exactly what he was saying last week.

Sen. Durbin — or a staffer acting on his behalf — prepared the remarks in question. Sen. Durbin took to the floor of the United States Senate, one of the cornerstones of our Republic, and accused our government and our military officers of engaging in practices that not only did not happen but also were those of the gulag and the death camp. He did so with malice aforethought. His remarks were not misinterpreted nor were they a mistake — he meant to say what he said because they were, and are, what he thinks and believes will help his party out in 2006 and damage President Bush in the short run politically. That Senators allow this craven act to stand is nearly as horrifying as the remarks themselves.

Sen. Durbin can quote President Lincoln until the end of time, which, in and of itself, is offensive when it comes to this issue in particular, and the art of writing and delivering political speeches in general. It will be Sen. Durbin's words last week, however, that will stand until the end of time and they will never be brought out right. Apology not accepted.

Matt May can be reached at matthewtmay@yahoo.com; his blog is http://mattymay.blogspot.com