Alan Simpson Apologizes

Obama Administration Fiscal Commission co-chair and former Republican Senator Alan Simpson has apologized to OWL Executive Director Ashely Carson for the absurd and dismissive email he sent her, and the website has posted the apology:
Dear Ms. Carson,

My wife Ann and I are in Yellowstone National Park for the opening of the new visitor center, so I only just now have had the opportunity to read your response to my recent e-mail. I apologize for what I wrote. I can see that my remarks have caused you anguish, and that was not my intention. I certainly did not intend to diminish your hard work for the Older Women's League. I know you care deeply about strengthening Social Security, and so do I, just as deeply. I remember your testimony at our public hearing in June about the importance of retirement security for women. Over the last 40 years, I have had my size 15 feet in my mouth a time or two. To quote my old friend and colleague, Senator Lloyd Bentsen, when I make a mistake, "It's a doozy!"

Next time I'm in Washington, perhaps we could meet in person, and I could learn further of your sincere concerns.

Most sincerely,

Alan Simpson
Call me cynical, but that sounds like something drafted by some government PR flack for Simpson to sign off on. It's too perfect, too obvious an attempt to acknowledge Carson's work and prominence and make it sound casual.

And the authorship is important, because, if indeed as I suspect, a spin doctor cooked up this flippant mess, that means the administration has thrown in with Simpson, deciding that engaging in sexist rhetoric, diminishing activists' work and diminishing their concerns in the most condescending manner, and openly expressing hostility toward the nation's social safety net for its citizens is acceptable behavior.

And, irrespective of who actually wrote the thing, it's bullshit: Simpson clearly doesn't believe Carson "care[s] deeply about strengthening Social Security," and he clearly did "intend to diminish your hard work for the Older Women's League." That was, in fact, the overt objective of his patronizing and contemptuous email.

An apology that doesn't own that intent isn't a real apology at all.

UPDATE: The White House "accepts" Simpson's apology.
[A]t the White House, Jennifer Psaki, the deputy communications director, said, "Alan Simpson has apologized and while we regret and do not condone his comments, we accept his apology and he will continue to serve."
Setting aside the obvious fuckery of the White House standing behind Simpson, the White House accepting an apology ON BEHALF OF THE PERSON TO WHOM IT WAS DIRECTED is an audacious display of arrogance.

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