For the past four weeks, ever since Republicans took total control of the federal government, California politicians have been throwing a hissy fit.
Everything said and done in Washington by Republicans sparks outbursts of outrage 2,374 miles away in Sacramento from Democrats – except, of course, when President Donald Trump approved a disaster designation for the state.
This week, one prominent California politician did a turnaround of sorts. While Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon is certainly just as disdainful of Trump, et al., he told a gathering of newspaper publishers, “I’m tired of talking about Donald Trump.”
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While “we’re all doing a great job of talking about Trump and holding Trump accountable,” Rendon explained, “if Hillary Clinton had gotten elected president of the United States, we would have started the year with 2.5 million children in California living in poverty. If Hillary Clinton had been elected president of the United States, we would have started the year with crumbling roads.”
That’s a grown-up talking, reminding everyone that the primary duty of California’s politicians is to take care of California’s problems, not preen for the national media.
Trump didn’t cause poverty, neglect of road maintenance, the housing crisis or any number of other homegrown California issues. And complaining about Trump’s many shortcomings doesn’t address them.
As Rendon was signaling that he wants to attend to California’s matters, his counterpart in the Senate, President Pro Tem Kevin de León went on another rant, this time about repealing a federal regulation affecting his pet program.
De León sponsored “Secure Choice,” a state-operated retirement system for privatesector workers who lack employer-paid pensions, but it required a federal waiver from pension protection laws.
The waiver was granted last year, and this week, the House of Representatives voted to repeal it, one of many Obama administration regulations it wants to pull back with Trump’s acquiescence.
Critics say that the waiver could expose participants in Secure Choice to financial loss, while supporters say repeal is a favor for Wall Street.
“House Republicans today chose to protect the profits of Wall Street investment firms over the retirement security of millions of Americans,” de León fumed.
Reasonable people can differ on the issue itself, but de León took his complaint a step further – and perhaps a step too far: “Furthermore, implementing a rarely used legislative procedure to rush these resolutions through without holding a single policy committee hearing denies adequate review and thwarts public comment. Opponents want to avoid a public process because they know their arguments will wilt with just a bit of sunshine.”
That’s precisely what California Republicans say when de León and other Democrats in Sacramento draft major bills in secret and then rush them through the process with little or no notice.
Or, as Capitol denizens say, what goes around comes around.