In May Caroline Kennedy presented four California legislators with the Kennedy Center “Profiles in Courage” Award. State Representatives Karen Bass, Darrell Steinberg, Michael Villines and David Cogdill received the award for their courage in working together to solve the California budget deficit. Courage? By whose definition? Arnold Schwarzenegger’s? Maria Schriver’s? How was this award vetted? Did the legislators “solve” the budget deficit? NO. Did anyone at the Kennedy Center ask the taxpayers how they felt about having their taxes raised to the highest in the nation? How the private sector with a 12% unemployment rate felt about paying more taxes to ensure not one state union employee lost their job?…..or any benefits?
Courage? What is courageous about negotiating deals behind closed doors (excluding not just the taxpayers but the other legislators) that benefit them, personally, and not the taxpayers or the state? It was said they put their jobs on the line to work together. Really? It is true several had to step down from their positions in their party but they did not lose their seats in the legislature.
Mike Villines had been the minority leader. He and every other Republican had signed a pledge not to raise taxes. He ran on “no tax increases” and he went on talk radio saying there was no way he’d support new taxes. He said over and over that the deficit was caused by overspending and he would never support tax increases. So, betraying constituents and breaking promises is now called “courageous”? In what alternative universe? In my universe honesty, integrity, ethics and transparency are “courageous”. Standing up for what you believe in, is “courageous”. Hiding behind closed doors making deals that benefit them, not the voters, is cowardly. Villines is now running for Insurance Commissioner and has the full support of the Republican Party. We must wonder if this award was part of the deal…..after all, our Governor and first lady have a rather close relationship with the Kennedy Center.
Karen Bass and Darrell Steinberg are socialists so their support of higher taxes is not only not “courageous”, it’s expected. I don’t know what David Cogdill got for selling his vote but I’m sure we’ll find out sooner or later. What these four did was cowardly, not courageous.
In my opinion, the Kennedy Center made a mockery of the “Profiles in Courage” Award and cheapened the Kennedy name.