I’ll have to admit, I’m a bit shocked by this:
Boston MA – The four members of California’s legislative leadership who in 2009 led a bi-partisan effort in a bid to close the state’s devastating budget deficit have been named this year’s recipients of the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award™.
Dave Cogdill, California State Senator and former Senate Republican Leader; Mike Villines, California State Assembly Member and former Assembly Republican Leader; Darrell Steinberg, California State Senator and Democratic Senate President pro Tem; and Karen Bass, California State Assembly Member, and former Democratic Speaker of the Assembly, were chosen in recognition of the political courage each demonstrated in standing up to the extraordinary constituent and party pressure they faced while working with Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to address California’s severe financial crisis. (Press Release)
Look, I don’t want to take anything away from the enormous difficulties that these four faced in political terms. Cogdill and Villines were villified by leading voices on their own side (ie…John and Ken heads on a pike), while Bass and Steinberg were never going to get those votes. As for the Democratic leaders, well, Democrats are in a really tough position with the supermajority constraints. It looks like they are working to do something
I suppose much of this is for history to answer. But I will say this as somebody who worked to oppose Prop 1A personally and professionally, the February deal that was rejected on May 19 last year, we are still on the same road to shock doctrining that we were on in January 2009. Nothing has changed on that front.
So, courage? Perhaps, if you mean courage in that, courage to keep the lights on sort of way. But if we are to truly build a sustainable future for California, the heaping amounts of courage that will be required from our leaders will make this look like tiny in comparison. In San Francisco terms, they had to jaywalk on Front Street. We need leaders willing to crawl over Highway 101 in rush hour. Blindfolded. On one leg.