The writer Michael Kinsley once said: “A gaffe is when a politician tells the truth – some obvious truth he isn’t supposed to say.”
By that definition, Pat Hickey, the Republican leader of the Nevada Assembly (the lower house of the state legislature), made a classic gaffe when he said on a radio talk show:
“We have some real opportunities in [the] 2014 [elections]. It is a great year in a non-presidential election. Seemingly no Democrats at the top of the ticket against [Republican Gov. Brian] Sandoval. No Harry Reid. Probably where we had a million voters out there in 2012, we have 700,000. A lot of minorities, a lot of younger people will not turn out in a non-presidential. It is a great year for Republicans.”
No one seriously believes otherwise. It’s simply an observable fact that when turnout of minority and young voters is low, Republican candidates benefit. The more a voting population is skewed to older white voters, the better the GOP does. But if you’re a Republican, you’re not supposed to say this publicly. So Hickey earned the anger of his fellow Republicans (who surely believe exactly the same thing) and apologized: “I am sorry about my recent comments and regret I made them. It was not my intention to alienate any anyone, but I did misspeak, plain and simple and for that I apologize.”
Pat, take it from me: You have nothing to apologize for.