Welcome to Take Two, our weekly sampler of opinion, drawn from The Sacramento Bee editorial board’s daily opinion-politics newsletter, The Take. Please go to sacbee.com/site-services/newsletters/ to sign up.
We’ve come to view Sundays with apprehension. A terrible shooting, a deadly wildfire, another massacre. “What can our reaction be to this latest tragedy? Deep and profound sadness, certainly.” So wrote our colleagues at the San Antonio Express on Oct. 2, after Stephen Paddock shot hundreds of people from his Las Vegas hotel room, killing 58. A month later, 21 miles from San Antonio, Devin Kelley walked into the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs and killed 26 parishioners. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, joined the many politicians tweeting: “The evil perpetrated in Sutherland Springs is indescribable.” Members of the Republican Congress that McCarthy helps lead promised after the Vegas shooting to ban bump stocks, the device used by Paddock to turn semi-automatic weapons into automatic weapons. That’s not happening. The other day, Sen. Dianne Feinstein reintroduced legislation to ban assault rifles of the type Kelley used. That’s not happening, either. But Republicans do send their thoughts and prayers. And they tweet.
Ose’s trial balloon
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Former Rep. Doug Ose, one of the earliest prominent California supporters of presidential candidate Donald Trump, had an important role in the 2016 Republican National Convention, helping make sure delegates didn’t stray, as chronicled by The Bee’s Christopher Cadelago in a dispatch from Cleveland in 2016. At the time, Paul Manafort, the recently indicted Trump campaign manager, also was working to keep delegates in line. The other day, Cadelago reported that Ose may run for California governor in 2018. The Take had to ask: Was there collusion between Ose and Manafort to ensure Trump won the nomination? Ose said he spoke to Manafort one time, when the then-chairman asked him to head to the floor to avert a potential uprising. It never materialized. Ose said he never met Manafort’s co-defendant, Rick Gates, and never heard of George Papadopoulos, the Trump foreign policy adviser who has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI. Asked how he views the Trump presidency one year after the election, Ose said: “His policies are pretty good. He could stand some improvement in some areas.” Does Ose think his embrace of Trump would hurt him in a statewide California race? “That’s a good question. We might find out.” Any regrets? “I have no regrets about voting for Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton.”
A year ago last week, Donald Trump was elected president. He spent his one-year anniversary in Asia on the longest and most important foreign trip of his presidency. A Pew Research Center survey found that Americans are very worried about North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, with 71 percent saying the U.S. should take the threat seriously. That’s up from 56 percent in 2013. Also, 84 percent say they believe Trump is “really willing” to use military force against North Korea. And why wouldn’t they after the president’s provocative tweets and statements that rival those from unstable North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un? Some members of Congress want to require Trump to get authorization to launch a nuclear first strike that isn’t in retaliation for an attack on the U.S. or its allies. We don’t want to risk reckless words from Trump starting a war.
Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg had a very good week. He helped to avert a teachers strike at the Sacramento City Unified School District, sparing 43,000 students and their parents from massive disruption. Then working with Supervisors Phil Serna and Patrick Kennedy, he prodded Sacramento County into freeing up $44 million to combat homelessness. Residents, including the ones who live on the streets, can rightly expect significant progress in the months and years to come. Of course, then our Foon Rhee described Steinberg’s goal of turning Sacramento in a center for driverless car testing. What could possibly go wrong with that?