In our confessional society, there are few transgressions that are not fixed by a sufficiently-sincere-looking admission of guilt and regret. That assumes that a lawsuit or criminal case is not involved, of course. This may be changing, though...
The movement to penalize Rep. Joe Wilson of South Carolina for his boorish "You lie!" exclamation during Pres. Obama's health care speech seems to have some legs. Maureen Dowd basically accused him of racist motivation, and his fellow S.C. Rep. Jim Clymer, a leader in the Democratic caucus, wants to introduce a motion in the House to censure him for his misconduct. This after Wilson made direct, personal apologies to Obama and V.P. Biden and after both publicly forgave his behavior.
If there was a hint of a racist lash in Wilson's "refusal to accept the legitimacy of an African-American President", the backlash was a huge inflow of money for his campaign chest. So, this is the re-backlash. Clymer takes Wilson to task for intentional confrontational behavior in the past, like having a rowdy town hall meeting in Clymer's district.
The purpose of the re-backlash is to hound him from public life, and here I'd have to say that the ends would justify some extraordinary means. A censure motion does not have to pass in order to do vast harm, but it can also backfire. I would suggest that a pattern of behavior needs to be justified, or that Wilson is in fact a sociopathic liar, to prevent him being able to make a PR campaign as a victim of some misguided PC notions and come out of this thing stronger than before.