As Dems prepare for battle, an olive branch from an unlikely source

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

Our take


Democrats lawyer up as they prepare to confront Trump: As Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon and Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León prepare to face down Donald Trump, who better to hire than Eric Holder, the lawyer who until recently headed the Department of Justice, and some of his partners?

Darrell Steinberg is right to push for stronger transparency. A “sunshine ordinance” going before the Sacramento City Council should be beefed up along the lines advocated by the new mayor and good-government groups.


Joe Mathews: Barack Obama left L.A. as fast as he could, transferring from Occidental to Columbia University in New York City after his sophomore year. So why is my hometown holding tightly to such a thin presidential connection? A plaque in Pasadena is great, but it’s too soon to be naming lots of schools and highways for Obama.


Sen. Ed Hernandez: Congressional Republicans have had six-plus years since the Affordable Care Act became law to draft a replacement. We have yet to see a viable alternative put forward. Before repealing Obamacare, Republicans should tell Americans how they will protect access to health coverage.

Give peace a chance?

Los Angeles attorney and Democratic consultant Darry Sragow fully appreciates the need to rattle sabers. So he sees political wisdom in the decision by Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon and Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León to hire former Attorney General Eric Holder to defend against the possible Trump administration onslaught. Ever the peacemaker, Sragow suggests an alternative, his partner at the Dentons law firm, Newt Gingrich. The Trump surrogate would be happy to sit down with them if they want advice for how they might find common ground with the new administration.

Who knew Gingrich was a bridge builder?

Their take

Los Angeles Times: Amazon’s Echo device for your home can stream music from the Internet, give weather reports and control web-connected appliances; it can also supply evidence to the police. Without public pressure, companies developing these devices could become partners with government in the creation of a de facto surveillance state.

Orange County Register: Anaheim city leaders are trying a new approach to tackling drug addiction. People struggling with drug addiction can seek help at police stations and from officers in the field, and be put in contact with a nonprofit organization for treatment options, rather than be placed in handcuffs.

Forth Worth Star-Telegram: Some people could claim that President-elect Donald Trump’s tweet swayed Republican lawmakers to reverse course on gutting the Office of Congressional Ethics. But a stronger, older force had more weight: the good ol’ constituent phone call.

San Diego Union-Tribune: Donald Trump struck a chord with voters with his promise to “drain the swamp” in Washington. So, the House Republican Caucus’ 119-74 vote to sharply relax ethics rules looks unbelievably dumb.

Raleigh News & Observer: Having performed their partisan magic on redistricting, HB2, voter suppression and other issues to be settled in courtrooms, Republican leaders have now turned on each other.

The Washington Times: What goes around comes around, and never more often than in the partisan games politicians play. Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer is determined to put a quick finish to whatever honeymoon Donald Trump may get when he becomes the president.

Syndicates’ take

E.J. Dionne Jr.: Will Donald Trump let Barack Obama leave office quietly?

Leonard Pitts Jr.: Media must take a moral stand against lies.

Dana Milbank: Trump foes find ally: GOP incompetence.

Thomas L. Friedman: From hands to heads to hearts.

Frank Bruni: Trump’s disastrous example on ethics.


Tell us, President-elect Trump, what’s bigger than protecting the integrity of U.S. elections from a foreign government trying to install its preferred candidate into the White House? – Richard Nano, Roseville

Tweet of the day, circa 2015

With Republicans plotting its demise on Capitol Hill, the Affordable Care Act clearly needs all the help it can get. Even a printed-out tweet from President-elect Donald Trump couldn’t hurt at this point.

Sen. Bernie Sanders propped up a yuge sign of Trump’s tweet from May 2015 onto the Senate floor. “I was the first & only potential GOP candidate to state there will be no cuts to Social Security, Medicare & Medicaid,” it read. “Huckabee copied me.”

“Millions of people voted for him on the belief that he would keep his word,” Sanders said. “If he was sincere, then I would hope that tomorrow or maybe today he could send out a tweet and tell his Republican colleagues to stop wasting their time.”

Good luck with that. – Erika D. Smith, @Erika_D_Smith