Politicians have been making silly excuses since long before John Kerry told the world he voted for it before he voted against it. Or he voted against it before he voted for it. Whichever.

In recent weeks we’ve seen a resurgence of one of my all time favorite excuses: The time-honored, “I never would have done it if I would have only known that…”

Former Gov. Bill Owens was recently accused of guaranteeing jobs to top officials after he left the office to Gov. Bill Ritter. Such an offer would violate the law, as The Denver Post reported, and Owens went to the well with his excuse:

Former Gov. Bill Owens said Wednesday that he was unaware that top officials in his administration had job-protection clauses in their contracts.

The contracts of at least 23 top officials were revised last year to include a provision that guaranteed they would be able to keep state jobs.
Owens said the decision to alter the contracts – in violation of state law and personnel rules – was made by Jeff Wells, his executive director of personnel and administration.

“Had we known how this would be perceived, my administration certainly would have vetted it and might have reached a different conclusion,” Owens said in a telephone interview.

You gotta love it. If I had only known this would have not gone over well, I would have never done it.
Really? If you had known that people would point out that what you attempted was wrong, you wouldn’t have tried it? Why, how very noble of you. All is forgiven, then/

The true beauty of this excuse is that it is a bipartisan tool. Democratic State Rep. Michael Garcia, who carried the ill-fated House Bill 1072 (the Labor Peace Act bill), told KGNU radio a few weeks back that he would never have carried the bill if he would have known that opposition groups would react so strongly to it.

So, what are you saying? That you only want to be involved with legislation that everyone likes? Good luck with that.

This is a ridiculous excuse, in any situation, that for some reason seems somewhat acceptable in politics. Think about it from a different angle – it would be like showing up for a pickup basketball game and saying, Hey guys, I’d love to play, but only if I can win.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed my little diatribe. But just in case, I want you to know this: I never would have written it had I known that you wouldn’t like it.