"If anything I said this morning has been misconstrued to the opposite effect, I want to apologize for that misconstruction."
That was Texas Rep. Joe Barton's apology for an apology — his ridiculously noncommittal backpedaling after telling BP chief Tony Hayward on June 17 how "ashamed" he was about our government's failure to be nicer about the worst oil spill in history. A plan to force BP to set up a $20-billion escrow fund to cover the damage was, Barton said, "a tragedy of the first proportion."
After every sober citizen who owns a television gasped at the utter perversity of Barton's logic, he tried to make things right with the above-quoted apology. And, in less than a day, Barton had given word parsers more fodder than Yogi Berra and Bill Clinton combined. Barton's grasp of the word "tragedy" alone could fuel a million blogs, not to mention his concept of "apology."