Political junkies and bibliophiles commence drooling: High on my bookshelf sits a first edition of John F. Kennedy's Profiles in Courage. You heard me: a pricey (at $3.30) Harpers hardback with the original, fraying dust jacket. The profiled politicos, from John Quincy Adams to Robert Taft, are listed vertically along the spine. On the back, JFK is identified as a 38-year-old senator and decorated WWII veteran. Improbably it reads, "In 1952 he became the third Democrat ever elected to the Senate from Massachusetts." (!) Political times, how they change. I never tracked the debate about who really scribbled Profiles, whether it was all or mostly speechwriter Ted Sorensen or Georgetown professor Jules Davids, or JFK himself (with obvious research help). Irrespective of the author, the book captures Kennedy's penchant for scrutinizing conflicts through the long lens of history. Political legacies are defined by courage and judgment, not expediency and cravenness. It's a perspective rooted in Original Sin: Times change, but human behavior (and misbehavior) remain constant. Kennedy (or Sorensen) writes, The voters selected us, in short, because they had confidence in our judgment and our ability to exercise that judgment from a position where we could determine what were their own best interests, as part of the nation's interests. This may mean that we must on occasion lead, inform, correct and sometimes even ignore constituent opinion, if we are to exercise fully the judgment for which we were elected. My Profiles in Courage isn't the sort of treasure I'd lend to strangers. Nevertheless, over the next 12 hours, I'm willing to make an exception. During today's uncourageous, pandering special session of the Washington Legislature, members will grapple with public opinion, with tax fairness, and with (let's hope) the long lens of history. I have a fine book to inform their decision. Any takers?