Home
In this issue
April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Nov. 11, 2013/ 8 Kislev, 5774

What Obama forgot to apologize for

By Kathleen Parker

Kathleen Parker


JewishWorldReview.com | President Obama is no lip-biting, tear-streaked, chin-trembling apologist.

When he said Thursday that he was sorry for the health-care mess-up, he performed the mea culpa as well as — if not better than — anyone in recent history. With Trumanesque resolve, he may as well have said, “The devalued dollar stops here.”

He’s sorry that some people have been inconvenienced by HealthCare.gov’s computer disaster. He’s sorry that some people have lost the policies he promised they could keep. He’s sorry that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) wasn’t adequately “crafted.”

But is he sorry that he intentionally misled people? I must have missed that part. Here’s what he said:

“I am sorry that they [people] are finding themselves in this situation based on assurances they got from me. We’ve got to work hard to make sure that they know we hear them and that we’re going to do everything we can to deal with folks who find themselves in a tough position as a consequence of this.”

A well-delivered apology can often be enough to absolve the “misleader.” The key to redemption, however, is the sense that the apology is heartfelt and sincere. Most important, the apology must be specific to the affront. In this case, the sin isn’t the mess but the promise the White House knew as early as 2010 it couldn’t keep. Harsher critics would call it the deliberate intent to deceive.

I tend to be generous with the benefit of doubt. Can I imagine a discussion in the White House wherein speechwriters and advisers told the president that full disclosure of the nuts and bolts — that millions would lose policies, which weren’t that good to begin with; that their rates would go up so insurance companies could cover the previously uninsured — would be too confusing?

Yes. I can imagine it because that’s exactly what happened, according to former White House speechwriter Jon Favreau. Moreover, the aides reckoned, the next several paragraphs that would be required by the truth would drag audiences through weeds considered too high for most attention spans. Such hubris puts one in mind of an exchange in Woody Allen’s “Manhattan”:



“This is an audience that’s raised on television, their standards have been systematically lowered over the years. These guys sit in front of their sets and the gamma rays eat the white cells of their brains out!”

Given such thinking, the truth was too much for TV. Not only would people be confused but also the tea party crazies would reenact the summer of 2009, when town-hall meetings turned into circuses of screeching malcontents.

If there’s one thing Barack Obama dislikes more than schmoozing Congress, it’s having to explain his brilliant ideas to mortals of lesser intelligence. Come to think of it, the latter may be viewed as justifying the former — at least from the president’s perspective. Thus, his advisers said, keep it simple for the stupids, though not necessarily with that precise wording.

So they did. So simple, in fact, that it was simply wrong. Did they really think no one would notice when they received cancellation notices and their premiums suddenly doubled on the exchanges?

The other rule of effective apologies is that they must come from authentic remorse rather than at the tip of a sword. Obama had no choice once caught and it was no longer possible to deny reality. That reality was further enhanced when 16 Senate Democrats , 15 of whom are up for reelection next year, stormed the White House barricades to express their outrage to the president.

Commenting afterward, Sen. Mark Udall of Colorado sent out a release saying he urged the president to extend the enrollment period and ensure that the ACA insurance exchange Web site is secure.

The White House issued its own release, saying the meeting was “to discuss the progress that’s been made” and “hear their input on existing challenges.”

Well, that’s one way of putting it.

Some consent to regret is better than none, I suppose, but the ultimate test of an apology is whether it results in restored trust. It isn’t at all clear that Obama accomplished this with his exclusive, one-on-one interview with NBC’s Chuck Todd. A straight, detailed talk directly to the American people would seem a better bet for the longer run.

Detailing the overhaul of a sixth of the economy may not make good TV, but the American people deserve better than “Sorry about the mess.”

True contrition swells all hearts.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Kathleen Parker can be reached by clicking here.

Kathleen Parker Archives

© 2013, WPWG

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles

Quantcast