The Communications Chair for the Sacramento Democratic Party, Allan Brauer, sent a series of cruel and uncivil tweets assailing Sen. Ted Cruz aide Amanda Carpenter for her own Twitter missive cheering on GOP opposition to gun control, the President’s Syrian policy—whatever it is—and the Affordable Care Act. After some online drama, he apparently regretted his rash and hurtful words, and sent Carpenter this apparently heartfelt apology:
“Hi- am truly sorry for my tweet. I was very upset and lashed out. Your kids are not fair game either. My apologies.”
She graciously accepted. How could anyone quarrel with this resolution of the incident?
Here is how: Brauer, who has a record of social media viciousness, made it very clear in the course of the controversy launched by his commentary that he didn’t regret what he had said at all. Here was his first tweet:
After being swarmed by various Twitter users who protested his language and sentiments, Brauer followed up with these well-chosen and unrestrained statements to them and his Twitter followers:
- “Busy blocking the tapeworms that have slithered out of hellspawn @amandacarpenter’s asshole. How’s your day so far?”
- “I’m being attacked on Twitter for wishing one of Ted Cruz’s pubic lice to experience the pain her boss is inflicting on Americans.”
- “Yes, your party takes bread from the mouths of starving children and medicine from the sick, and I’m the problem. Got it.”
Then, suddenly, a “heartfelt” apology! Uh-uh. Brauer had plenty of time to regret his viciousness for the right reasons, and instead doubled down on them. (Amusingly, he is one of the experts who writes a website whose motto is, “It Matters How You Say It!”) What changed? Obviously, his party found it embarrassing to have a communications head that communicated like a hateful thug.
Before the apology, the California Democratic Party issued this rebuke:
Let me first note here that this response is less than satisfactory on its own, and tells us a lot about why an unethical jerk like Brauer was tolerated, and probably embraced, in the state party for as long as he was. The problem with this kind of rhetoric is that it’s unfair, disrespectful and wrong, not that it isn’t effective, which is essentially all Flores is saying. Nonetheless, be it for being an embarrassment or a poor tactician, it is clear that Brauer was taken to the woodshed by his own party, and realized that an apology was the only thing that could save him. This makes his apology above a #7 on the Ethics Alarms Apology Scale, a
“A forced or compelled apology, in which the individual (or organization) apologizing may not sincerely believe that an apology is appropriate, but chooses to show the victim or victims of the act inspiring it that the individual responsible is humbling himself and being forced to admit wrongdoing by the society, the culture, legal authority, or an organization or group that the individual’s actions reflect upon or represent.”
In other words, Brauer concluded that apologizing to Carpenter would be better for him than not apologizing. There is nothing admirable or contrite about such an apology, and as a sincere apology, it is worthless. His immediate reaction to the criticism of his original death wish on Carpenter’s children demonstrated not one sliver of genuine regret or an atom of comprehension of what was wrong with such a hateful and public communication. After his subsequent vile comments, the window of opportunity to issue an apology that can be taken at face value has slammed shut, and Brauer is the slammer.
And, I’m happy to announce that the faux apology didn’t work for Allen Brauer: he was “asked to resign” by the party, and did.
Facts and Graphic: New York Daily News