Editorials

Rep. Steve Scalise’s shooting, Josh Newman’s recall, Kamala Harris’ ascent

Josh Newman, D-Fullerton, campaigned in a bear suit when he ran for the 29th District State Senate seat. It worked, oddly enough.
Josh Newman, D-Fullerton, campaigned in a bear suit when he ran for the 29th District State Senate seat. It worked, oddly enough. Josh Newman

Good Sunday morning, and welcome to Take Two, our weekly sampler of California 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.

Takes on the Scalise shooting

The insane shooting of Rep. Steve Scalise and others at a baseball field in Arlington, Va., was on our minds and that of others. Our editorial, written for The Editorial Board by Foon Rhee, asked: “Is it too naive to hope this will be a turning point – that this shooting will shock us out of complacency and acceptance? Or will we soon go back to the ugly, divisive business as usual?”

We were struck by the editorial written at Scalise’s hometown paper, The New Orleans Times-Picayune, which pointed out that Scalise is a “prime example of how to disagree and still be friends.” Thoughtful writers at The Chronicle wrote that the shooter, James Hodgkinson, confused politics with violence. In Hodgkinson’s hometown, The Belleville News-Democrat was introspective: asking: “So did we create a sniper?

Hello, Newman

The recall effort aimed at Sen. Josh Newman attracted attention when the L.A. Times opined Republicans are wrong to try to recall Newman for casting a vote they don’t like. But Democrats responded with an even more nakedly self-serving political act, altering the rules surrounding recalls. “Spare me the sanctimony,” columnist-editorial page editor Dan Morain wrote. Sure, Democrats are flexing their power to protect one of their own. But direct democracy as practiced these days is hardly pristine.

Take a number

A few days after Newman voted for the gas tax hike – the purported reason for the recall – Chevron gave the California Republican Party $500,000, which will help fund the Newman recall. Now the oil industry hopes the Legislature will vote to extend the cap-and-trade program, knowing the alternative would be direct regulation of refinery emissions, which would be more costly.

Newman, understanding that cap and trade would raise pump prices further, won’t be among the yes votes. The question Jerry Brown and other advocates of cap and trade must answer is whether any Democrats will vote for it, seeing what is happening to Newman.

Take that ... wrist slap

A judge in Montana slapped newly elected Rep. Greg Gianforte on the wrist by requesting that he complete 20 hours of anger management counseling and 40 hours of community service for body-slamming reporter Ben Jacobs, who dared to ask him a question about the Republicans’ American Health Care Act. Oh, and Gianforte was fined $385 and paid $4,646 in restitution to Jacobs. A Public Policy Polling survey that found that 42 percent of Donald Trump’s voters think it’s appropriate for politicians to body slam reporters, compared to 45 percent who think it’s inappropriate.“This isn’t economic anxiety or cultural alienation, but seething, hate-filled madness.” So tweeted Salinas Bard Larry Parsons, @LParsons69.

Not in Kansas

Remember how Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback – a one-time presidential candidate and former U.S. senator – was going to implement his trickle down vision by cutting taxes to the bone to increase economic activity? It didn’t work out so well. The Kansas City Star lauded the Kansas Legislature for passing a two-year state budget that sets the state back on the road to recovery after years of damage wrought by Brownback’s tax cuts.

Takes on Harris

Sen. Kamala Harris danced again on the national stage by making Attorney General Jeff Sessions nervous with her rapid-fire, prosecutorial questioning. As The Chron wrote, some of her Republican colleagues are not taking it well. These old man senators trying to put her in Harris in her place – do they not know how piggish they look, telling a smart, accomplished elected official to stifle? Or are they trying to get her to run for higher office?

Tweet of the week

“It was a simple question. Can Sessions point to the policy, in writing, that allows him to not answer a whole host of our questions today.” – Kamala Harris, @KamalaHarris

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