By the time you read this, the 2004 presidential election will — please, God, please — be over. Of the two major candidates, one tall, the other less tall, both of them frankly funny-looking, one will have assumed the highest office in this land.
I am writing this, though, in the days before the election, and sadly, the nation is bitterly divided. It is my hope that the end of our long national nightmare (by which I mean the campaign) will bring an end to our partisan squabbling.
Before we can heal, though, we must acknowledge our sins. And so I want to be among the first pundits to offer sincere apologies for a few public remarks made, regrettably, in the heat of battle.
I would like to apologize to George W. Bush for calling him "a draft-dodging, cokehead retard with the moral compass of a serial killer." I further would like to apologize for implying that his "rush to war against Iraq" was the result of his having "a really small penis."
I would like to apologize to John Kerry for referring to him as "Herman Munster minus the charisma" and for contending he failed to effectively attack his opponent’s record because he does not, in fact, possess testicles. It is my understanding that he does possess testicles, and that they are large.
I would like to apologize to Dick Cheney for implying that he drinks the blood of impoverished black children and sleeps in a coffin. That was wrong.
I would like to apologize to John Edwards for attending his rally in Cleveland and screaming, "Who’s the fat chick?" really loud, when I knew very well that the woman in question was his wife, Elizabeth. Sometimes a well-intended joke goes awry.
I would like to apologize to Laura Bush for holding up the sign at her Pittsburgh appearance that read WE FINALLY FOUND A WMD! IT’S LAURA — AND SHE’S DRIVING A BUICK! Totally uncalled for.
I would like to apologize to Teresa Heinz Kerry for intentionally mispronouncing her name and for criticizing her fashion sense (particularly her reliance on bright shawls) after a Miami fundraiser, and then asking her for a "long-term, no-interest loan of $20 million."
I would like to apologize to Jenna Bush for calling her "a walking DUI who could probably suck the chrome off a tailpipe." In fact, I have no idea if she could suck the chrome off a tailpipe. This apology extends to her twin sister, Barbara, whom I referred to as "the smart, boring one who doesn’t give head."
It was likewise wrong for me to grab Alexandra Kerry’s ass at a West Virginia pancake breakfast and then claim that "my hand just slipped."
My hand did not just slip.
I would like to apologize to Karl Rove for suggesting that he wears a white pointed hood around the house and listens exclusively to Kenny G. I should add that calling his campaign strategy "a single, continuous hate crime" is an oversimplification. Also: I might have implied that he is transgendered, an allegation I cannot substantiate.
I would like to apologize to Fox News for referring to its esteemed media operation as the Goebbels Channel. Obviously, it also was mean-spirited of me to accuse Bill O’Reilly of attempting to loofa my private parts after I appeared on his program in late September. (I’m not saying he didn’t make this offer, but I can see how holding a press conference about it might be interpreted as piling on.)
As for Dan Rather, I regret sending him that freeze-dried crow, along with a homemade coupon "good for one mentally competent fact-checker."
I would like to apologize to the staffs of the New York Times and National Public Radio for comparing their election coverage to "a reheated burrito filled with pigeon shit." Obviously, a lot of men and women worked very hard to provide extensive coverage of Election 2004 — a particular challenge when working only with sound bites and poll results.
The suggestion I made, back in August, that I would "pay good money to see Michael Moore sodomize Ralph Reed" was, in retrospect, below the belt.
I would like to apologize to Ben Affleck for any aspersions I cast on his abilities as an actor, and for the suggestion I made, during my O’Reilly Factor appearance, that "Gigli may well cost John Kerry the White House."
Mea culpas are also in order as relates to the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. Calling them "VA-bait whack-jobs who wouldn’t know a war hero from a hole in a mattress" was, upon consideration, immoderate.
I would like to apologize to Rush Limbaugh (and his many informed listeners) for calling him "an obese, drug-addicted fascist." It is my understanding he has lost a good deal of weight on the aforementioned High-Protein Cheney Diet.
Apologies, also, to the members of MoveOn.org. Accusing them of being "French communists who probably throw like girls" clearly was not elevating the political discourse of this country.
Let me add a heartfelt apology to the entire state of Texas for calling its residents "oil-junkie bigots who never met a gay they wouldn’t bash."
What can I tell you? I was having a really bad hair day.
Finally, I would like to apologize to my mother, Barbara Almond, for avoiding her phone calls during the campaign. I could make a lot of excuses, but the plain fact of the matter is that I didn’t have time for her guilt trips.
In all seriousness, it takes a lot of energy to engage in the political process as deeply as I have during the past few months, and to resist the urge toward character assassination and childish insults.
After all, the country’s entire future was at stake.
Thank you for listening.
Steve Almond, a registered 527 nonprofit, can be reached at www.candyfreak.com
Issue Date: November 5 - 11, 2004
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