Brazile gets dumped; Adelson takes a pass on CA’s legalization

Good morning. On behalf of The Sacramento Bee’s editorial board, welcome to The Take, your opinion-politics newsletter. Please sign up for it here.

Take that

Talk about when it rains it pours. CNN on Monday said it has cut ties with Democratic strategist Donna Brazile, citing hacked emails that show she gave Hillary Clinton’s campaign a sneak peek of questions posed in two network-sponsored candidate forums.

CNN swears it never gave Brazile access to questions or prep materials. But, somehow, the veteran TV analyst managed to get wind of at least two questions and send them to Clinton campaign manager John Podesta. Brazile even wrote in one of the emails WikiLeaks released: “From time to time I get the questions in advance.”

There’s plenty of blame to go around on this one. Helping Clinton cheat was definitely poor judgment on Brazile’s part, particularly her decision to write it down. (Doesn’t anyone remember how to make a phone call?)

On the other hand, keeping Brazile around, even under a suspended contract after she became interim chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, was stupid on CNN’s part. The network has continued to blur the line between source and journalist first with Brazile and now with Donald Trump’s former campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski.

No one should be surprised when people with dual loyalties choose to straddle them. – Erika D. Smith, @Erika_D_Smith

Take a number: $5

Last week, the Mercury News of San Jose ran a Washington Post story online about Las Vegas billionaire Sheldon Adelson, headlined: “Casino magnate spending millions to fight legal marijuana in California, two other states.” Indeed, Adelson, whose sons struggled with addiction, is spending to defeat marijuana legalization measures on the Nov. 8 ballot. The Take’s review of Adelson’s spending shows he has given $1.5 million to defeat a marijuana measure in Florida; $1 million to defeat legalization in Massachusetts; $500,000 in Arizona; and $2 million to defeat legalization in Nevada.

What about California, where Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom is pushing Proposition 64 to legalize and commercialize marijuana? Bupkis.

“There has been no money or direct contact from them,” Wayne Johnson, running the underfunded campaign to defeat 64, said in an email of Adelson and his people. “We did, however, get the headline saying he’s spending millions in CA.” That and $5 will get you a cup of coffee.

Our take

Editorial: James Comey should ask himself fundamental questions: Was this genuinely necessary? Or will history show that it was more about bending to Republican partisans bent on keeping another Democrat out of the White House? With his reputation in tatters, he needs to ask himself whether his actions befit one of the most important jobs in the free world.

Endorsement: John Hidahl is the best choice for El Dorado County supervisor, over Assemblywoman Beth Gaines, who moved to the county two years ago.

Foon Rhee looks at polls, predictions and bets on this crazy race between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Beware the October surprise.

Daniel Weintraub: What matters more to your health than the fate of Obamacare.

Sacramento Mayor-elect Darrell Steinberg and Sacramento County Supervisor Susan Peters take on Eye on Sacramento President Craig Powell and Sacramento Taxpayers Association President Katy Grimes on Measure B, the half-cent sales tax hike for transportation and transit.

Steinberg and Peters: A crumbling and clogged transportation system could stall Sacramento region’s economy.

Powell and Grimes: Politicians and special interests are trying to hoodwink voters into approving another tax hike.

Their take

L.A. Times: If Proposition 64 passes, California’s marijuana industry is expected to double in value, up to $6 billion in a few years. There would be enormous pressure to open and expand businesses, legally or not.

San Francisco Chronicle: The plastic-bag industry is trying to fool Californians. We agree.

Kansas City Star: Republican Roy Blunt deserves re-election to the U.S. Senate. At heart, Blunt is a problem-solver. And in a Washington where far too many things end up in partisan gridlock, Blunt has a record of finding workable solutions that can be embraced by people with different backgrounds and persuasions.

Dallas Morning News: The Hillary Clinton-James Comey email mess was months in the making.

Chicago Sun-Times: James Comey will never recover from throwing fact-free bomb.

Boston Herald: James Comey has an obligation to be far more forthcoming sooner rather than later.

Syndicates take

Debra J. Saunders: Why I’m voting for Gary Johnson.

Michael Gerson: The voters’ two bad choices are not equally bad.

Eugene Robinson: Breathe deeply, then go vote.

Paul Krugman: Working the refs.

E.J. Dionne Jr.: The costs of Comey’s appeasement.

Trudy Rubin: Trump’s allergy to history and democracy.


(FBI Director James Comey) has compounded his earlier mistakes and damaged both his and the FBI’s reputations for independence and integrity. John Stafford, Sacramento

Tweet of the day

“Thank you @CNN. Honored to be a Democratic Strategist and commentator on the network. Godspeed to all my former colleagues.” Donna Brazile, former CNN analyst and interim DNC chair.

And finally,

The Sacramento Bee’s endorsements.