The Take: Michelle Rhee and Trump’s confusing Cabinet candidates

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 your pick

Just when California was starting to feel slighted by Donald Trump, it seems the president-elect might decide to give us some love after all. Sacramento’s first lady is reportedly in the mix for secretary of education. “Michelle Rhee, I’ve seen mentioned,” Trump’s communication’s adviser, Jason Miller, told MSNBC this week.

No one on Trump’s transition team has spoken to Rhee yet, Miller said, and she didn’t respond to a request for comment from the The Sacramento Bee. Still she’s one of the saner people on the long and sometimes horrifying list of names mentioned for Cabinet posts. A hard-charging education reformer and a champion of charter schools along with her husband, Mayor Kevin Johnson, it’s Rhee’s allegiance to Common Core that might stump Trump, since he has vowed to yank the curriculum from schools.

But Rhee would make far more sense in a Trump Cabinet than Mitt Romney, who, in a head-scratcher, is reportedly being considered for secretary of state. Just in March, the 2012 Republican nominee warned that Trump was a “con man” and “a fraud,” and that his presidency would surely usher in an era of “trickle-down racism.” But elections have a way of changing minds, and now Romney reportedly wants in and longtime Trump supporter Newt Gingrich wants out. That makes perfect sense. Not. – Erika D. Smith, @Erika_D_Smith

Take a number: 593

The San Francisco-San Jose-Oakland metropolitan area accounts for 16.5 percent of California’s population but 29 percent of the gross income. That income generates far more than its share of state income taxes: 37 percent, Legislative Analyst Mac Taylor’s latest report says. The per capita income tax payment in the Bay Area is $3,474, reflecting its wealth. In Sacramento, per capita tax payments are $1,063. In the San Joaquin Valley, it’s $593. In those numbers is the story of the two Californias. And it’s California’s challenge.

Our take

Editorial: There was a Trump bump after the election; many stocks rose, but not tech stocks. While they could recover, Apple, Facebook, Google and other tech stocks could remain in the doldrums until implications of Trump’s policies become clearer. And that has implications for the state budget.

Editorial: John Shirey was the steady leader Sacramento City Hall needed and leaves it in much better shape.

Ben Boychuk takes down the anti-Donald Trump protests in California and the #Calexit movement.

Mike Lynn: There’s a way California can crack down on stoned driving.

Their take

San Francisco Chronicle: There’s no doubt that Democrats are reflecting on their battered fortunes. But casting aside Nancy Pelosi as House minority leader would be a mistake.

San Diego Union-Tribune: The nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office has affirmed the wisdom of Gov. Jerry Brown’s push to create a rainy-day fund. Brown’s warnings to lawmakers not to consider new or expanded programs still make vital sense.

Orange County Register: California’s film credit program is no blockbuster.

The Charlotte Observer: For someone so skilled at raising questions about corruption and influence-peddling by Hillary Clinton, Trump seems strangely blind to the serious ethical conflicts weeding his own backyard.

Lexington Herald-Leader: If President-elect Trump hopes to put together an administration that can protect U.S. interests at home and abroad, he will have to reach far beyond his loyalists.

The Denver Post: President-elect Trump should deport criminals, but let’s be reasonable.

The Seattle Times: Four years after same-sex marriage passed, there’s still more work to be done on equality.

Syndicates take

Michael Gerson: Defeated Democrats are at a crossroads.

Eugene Robinson: Democrats must learn from GOP and rebuild.

Trudy Rubin: Risking much for democracy.

Dana Milbank: E Pluribus Chaos.

Nicholas Kristof: A 12-step program in response to Donald Trump.

Gail Collins: A Trumpian silver lining.


Yes, Donald Trump won. But dignity, integrity, respect and decency lost, and lost “bigly.” – Ron Fader, Davis