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The Unpology of Larry Craig

September 1, 2007

As I predicted on Tuesday, the Larry Craig saga quickly moved to the disgraced Senator's inevitable resignation. But as I also predicted, Larry Craig's parting statement featured that classic Republican denial of culpability, the Unpology.
Announcing his September 30th resignation, the Idaho GOP Senator artfully avoided accepting accountability for his men's room escapades. Instead, he offered the appearance of apology only for their aftermath:

"I apologize for what I have caused. For any public official at this moment in time to be standing with Larry Craig is in itself a humbling experience. I have little control over what people choose to believe."

Craig's evasion is just the latest example of the Republican art of the unpology. Facing recriminations for ethical failings, racist behavior, sexist statements or outright criminality, this new generation of Republican wrong-doers delivers the facade of apology by uttering obligatory words of remorse devoid of actual regret, contrition - or even an admission of guilt. And as I described two weeks ago, Craig joins former Virginia Senator George Allen and fellow Idahoan Bill Sali in resorting to specific type of faux Republican remorse, the Conditional Unpology:

The conservative in question is not objectively sorry per se, but wishes to expresses a patina of regret only to "those who may have been offended." Here, contrition is contingent on the perception of offense in the eye of the beholder.

For more on why the unpology is a guilty Republican's best friend, see:
"The Unpology: How Republicans Never Say They're Sorry."

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Jon Perr
Jon Perr is a technology marketing consultant and product strategist who writes about American politics and public policy.

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