- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 13, 2017

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

The left is going batty over Sean Spicer’s Hitler mishap, mocking and scoffing the White House press secretary for mistakenly stating the former Nazi leader “didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons” against citizens or using “gas on his own people” the way Syria’s President Bashar Assad did.

But Spicer’s rebound is commendable. If pride goeth before a fall, then humility goeth before a rise. In that vein, Spicer’s humble mea culpa, professed publicly, in subdued tone, on national television, is worthy not only of acceptance — but also hat tip.

It’s how good American government servants behave. And that’s not snark; that’s a penned heartfelt round of applause for Mr. Spicer.

“I made a mistake,” he said, during a Q&A with NBC’s Greta van Susteren at the Newseum. “I mean, there’s no other way to say it. I got into a topic that I shouldn’t have and I screwed up.”

This is the good stuff, folks. In a day and age when politicians, caught red-handed in lie after lie, act after act, nonetheless shamelessly and routinely deny, dismiss and discount — always excusing, never admitting — it’s a refreshing change of pace to witness Spicer’s throw of self onto the floor of the public courtroom.

All for misspeaking. 

He could’ve hid. He could’ve pulled a Barack Obama, and swaggered arrogantly toward the White House podium and pointed fingers at enemies in the press for creating a mountain out of a molehill.

He could’ve done a Hillary Clinton and danced some serious spin steps ‘round the truth, ultimately creating enough distractions for the media to cloud the root of the matter.

But he didn’t.

“From a professional standpoint,” Spicer said, “your job as a spokesperson is to help amplify … the accomplishments [of the president] and when you’re distracting from that job … it’s disappointing, because I think I’ve let the president down.”

Gulp. Quite an admission.

But he spoke of the personal, not just professional, cost of his mistake, as well.

“It really is painful to myself to know that I did something like that,” Spicer said. “To know when you screwed up that you possibly offended a lot of people. I would ask for folks’ forgiveness.”

That’s what he said. And the video clip of his remarks is almost three minutes long. 

This is not an off-the-cuff, off-the-shoulder, get-it-over-with-quick apology. And again: This was all for misspeaking. 

“This was my mistake, my bad that I needed to fix,” Spicer said. “I would just say that this is mine to own mine to apologize for and mine to ask forgiveness.”

Had Hillary adopted even a fraction of the humility shown by Spicer — a fingernail’s worth, for any of her scandals, scandals which involved way more than misspeaking — she may very well have won the White House.

But such is the power of a sincere gesture.

What’s most notable about Spicer’s apology — and if nothing else, please get this — is that really, it recognizes the American citizen as the boss. It reminds of a time when the nation was truly an of, by and for the people system of governance, when elected officials gave proper respect to the citizens who pay their salaries, when Founding Fathers’ ideals and visions, as encapsulated in the Declaration of Independence and Constitution, weren’t so readily placed on the chopping block, moved aside for progressive principles — diced and chipped for holier-than-thou intellectualism and elitist politicking.

It shows that Spicer, in the eyes of the political world, could easily have dismissed, denied and blamed outward, but instead, chose humility. And as Founding Fathers knew, this country’s democratic-republic relies on the virtues, principles and moral compasses of its citizenry and duly elected for success.

Come on now, don’t get carried away — it’s just an apology?

No. It’s the heart of the apologist.

It’s the recognition of the fact that in this country, we are endowed by our “Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness — that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

We’re not a country where government grants us rights, where government rules.

It’s the fact that Spicer spent three-plus minutes on national television publicly recognizing, via an apology, that his position in government is one of service — not personal power. And he did that for a misspeak. Not for an adulterous affair, not for lying about an administration action, not for deceiving about a military operation, not for anything criminal, or for anything that could or should bring jail time.

For making an error of rhetoric.

Give him a break, America. The guy apologized — genuinely, and much, much more than he had to. And in so doing, he tipped his heart as more public servant than politician — something even critics of this administration ought to be able to recognize, respect and deem worthy.

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