Here's a list of names, and you get to guess what they have in common: Fabian Nunez, Howard Dean, Carol Liu, and Liz Figueroa. If you guessed that they're all Democrats, you're halfway there. But there are lots of Democrats around. These four fall into an even tighter group. They were all invited to speak recently at UC Berkeley, and they all turned down their invitations because they refused to cross a picket line staged by a union.
Each of these liberal politicos garnered press for their "principled" stand. Indeed, here is the Dean of Boalt Hall, writing to the students: "I completely understand and respect (Dean's) principled position."
There are a few who suspect both the picketers' and the politicos' motives:
Sheryl Lawrence, a graduating law student, called the union's action "a faux picket line that's only being set up for the purpose of preventing this graduation ceremony from going forward as planned."
"And I feel that Dean and the Democratic Party haven't balanced the competing interests at stake, which are honoring students who have worked really hard to come to the point of graduation vs. blindly following a union stunt," Lawrence said.
You go, Sheryl! Apparently your years at law school did teach you some good analytical thinking. I suspect you'll do well in your career.
What struck me, of course, is that there's been no press whatsoever about the homogeneity of those invited to speak at Berkeley. Now, I don't pretend to have a roster of all the speakers asked to give keynote addresses at Boalt Hall (that would be Dean), or those asked to speak at commencement ceremonies in other departments (that would be Figueroa, Liu and Nunez). I'd be willing to bet, however, that the University has never, at least in the last decade, extended such invitations to politicians who have an "R", as opposed to a "D", after their name.
Think of it: this is a University supported by Federal and California taxpayer dollars that almost certainly ensures that its students are never exposed to a prominent (or even a minor) conservative politician. I'm just grateful that these politicians, who garnered some good press by sticking to their "principles" and walking out on their obligation, spared those poor students one more indoctrination moment on my taxpayer dime.
UPDATE: Mike Gallagher has a very funny column about the most recent example of a Hollywood airhead . . . er, I mean star . . . giving an anti-American speech. It reminds us of how lucky our poor Berkeley grads were to be spared this annual assault ritual on American campuses.