The Apology Ritual
Sherman Yellen zeros in on the meaningless nature of these apologies:
McCain demonstrated his when he appeared at a Republican fundraiser in 1998, where he told this Rush Limbaugh style joke: "Question: Why is Chelsea Clinton so ugly? Answer: Because her father is Janet Reno!" How the assembled Republicans roared as he humiliated an innocent child, cast sexual aspersions on the Attorney General and probably Hillary, all in the name of good old family-values politics. Of course he apologized later. They always do after the damage is done.