The John F. Kennedy Library Foundation is giving its 2015 Profile In Courage Award to a Republican former congressman from South Carolina, Bob Inglis. From the announcement:
Former U.S. Congressman Bob Inglis was named the 2015 recipient of the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award™ for the political courage he demonstrated when he reversed his previous position on climate change, knowing that by acknowledging the scientific reality of atmospheric warming and calling on the United States to meaningfully address the issue, he was jeopardizing his political career. In June 2010, Inglis lost his re-election due in part to this decision. The prestigious award for political courage will be presented by Jack Schlossberg, President Kennedy's grandson, at a ceremony at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston on May 3, 2015.
Bob Inglis, a Republican, represented the 4th Congressional District of South Carolina from 1993-1998 and again from 2005-2010. A member of the House Science Committee who served as Ranking Member of the Energy and Environment Subcommittee, Inglis initially opposed efforts to address climate change. But interactions with scientists in Antarctica, Australia and elsewhere, along with encouragement from his five children, changed his views on climate change, and he began advocating for a carbon tax to reduce dependence on fossil fuels. In Washington and South Carolina, Inglis's acknowledgment of the scientific reality of climate change drew intense criticism from within the Republican Party, and in June 2010, he was defeated for re-election in the Republican primary. He went on to found and currently directs the Energy & Enterprise Initiative to encourage conservatives to accept the reality of climate change and to promote market-based innovations to address the challenges it poses.
"Bob Inglis is a visionary and courageous leader who believes, as President Kennedy once said, that 'no problem of human destiny is beyond human beings,'" said Schlossberg. "In reversing his own position and breaking with his party to acknowledge the realities of a changing climate and its threat to human progress, he displayed the courage to keep an open mind and uphold his responsibilities as a leader and citizen at the expense of his own political career. His evolution in thought, brave stand and continued dedication to tackling the single biggest environmental and humanitarian crisis of our time inspires us all."
Somehow the "courage" lauded by the JFK Library Foundation in this award seems frequently to be that of Republicans who adopt liberal positions (like last year's award winner, George H.W. Bush, who raised taxes). It seems to me to be disconnected to the historical legacy of John F. Kennedy, who was a tax-cutter who believed "a healthy domestic oil industry is essential to national security." (See page 74 of JFK, Conservative).