I've been doing a slow burn ever since I read that the 2010 John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award is being awarded to the members of the 2009 California legislative leadership - Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, Senate Republican Leader Dave Cogdill, Assembly Speaker Karen Bass, and Assembly Minority Leader Mike Villines. To quote the official announcement:
“Faced with the most difficult choices and a budget crisis of unprecedented magnitude, these legislative leaders had the courage to negotiate a compromise that they felt was in the public’s best interest,” said Caroline Kennedy, President of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation. “They did so knowing they would suffer the wrath of their constituents, powerful interest groups, and their own party members. The members of the Profile in Courage Award Committee chose to herald this story of political courage and bi-partisan compromise with the hope that it will inspire other elected officials facing similar challenges to stand up with courage, to cross party lines, and to do whatever is necessary to better serve the public interest.”
If I hadn't read those words - if I hadn't actually seen the press release on the Web site of the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, I would have thought the above words were a bad joke, an Onion parody gone wrong. Let's not mince words here - to call the California legislative leadership "courageous" for what they accomplished during the budget negotiations in 2009 is akin to calling Captain Edward Smith of the Titanic courageous for the decision to run all speed ahead through the iceberg field.
Simply put, there is nothing at all courageous about what those "leaders" "accomplished" in cobbling together an unrealistic and dishonest "compromise" budget in 2009. I'd quote further from the press release, but I can't bring myself to copy the words. Suffice to say that whoever made this decision knows little to nothing about what is really happening in California right now.
It's a shameful stain on the award, and if any of the recipients have an ounce of integrity, they'll politely decline the award.
Don't hold your breath.