Dan Morain

Reagan’s prediction; Trump brings Pence to the dance

Greetings from Ohio, site of the Republican National Convention. On behalf of The Sacramento Bee’s editorial board, welcome to The Take, your opinion-politics newsletter. Please sign up for it here.

Erika D. Smith welcomes us to Cleveland, her home town, and offers a primer on the challenges there. There’s much news and opinion about Mike Pence, Donald Trump, the Republican convention, and the terrible massacre in Nice, France. With the Baton Rouge murders, the insanity continues. Let’s get right to it.

A Republican’s take

Ronald Reagan looms large any time Republicans gather. So it is with the California delegation to the Republican National Convention.

Sacramento consultant Dennis Revell, who like all California delegates is a Donald Trump partisan, was married to the late Maureen Reagan, the first-born child of Ronald Reagan and his first wife, Jane Wyman.

Revell recalled dining with the president and Maureen at the White House in about 1987. The Reagan administration had been funding the Mujahideen in Afghanistan fighting Soviet invaders, and the president was well aware of the zealotry of the Afghan fighters.

“Mark my words,” Revell recalls the president saying. “The next world war will be a holy war.”

The main parallel Revell sees between Trump and his father-in-law is the perilous global situation. Reagan was able to persuade voters that Jimmy Carter didn’t seem to grasp the gravity of the crises confronting the world in 1980. Revell believes Barack Obama doesn’t get it, either.

In my view, if Trump wins in November, it will be because voters think Trump is, as he says, the law-and-order candidate, and would be better able to confront world threats than Hillary Clinton.

Take a number: 14

At 91, Tirso del Junco is a Trump delegate in this, his 14th Republican National Convention. He’s also a living piece of history.

Del Junco, a physician born in Cuba, was on the 1948 Cuban crew team, and knew and was contemptuous of Fidel Castro. Del Junco immigrated here in 1949, before the revolution, and was to be one of five surgeons who joined in the ill-fated Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961.

Later, he became friends with Ronald Reagan. On March 30, 1981, he had his photo taken with the president at the Washington Hilton .

Some time later, Reagan autographed the photo with a note saying he had wished the rest of that March day had gone as well as the time he spent with del Junco. As Reagan departed the Hilton on that day, John Warnock Hinckley Jr. opened fire.

Take Mike Pence. Please

Sacramento Bee: Mike Pence isn’t a top-tier candidate, or a policy wonk, or even an obvious choice to draw the moderates, independents and minority voters that the party needs to defeat Hillary Clinton.

San Diego Union Tribune: Mike Pence’s selection has to worry Hillary Clinton. Pence is not a flake or a lightweight and has an even-keeled temperament.

Matthew Tully, columnist for The Indianapolis Star: Mike Pence was too political and ideological for a job that requires pragmatism. His focus was on the next step up, and not the job at hand.

Herald Bulletin of Anderson, Indiana: Mike Pence is a quintessential modern-day Machiavelli, justifying any means to rise to the top.

Miami Herald: Mike Pence brings seriousness to the ticket, but seriousness should begin at the top, with Donald Trump.

National Review: Mike Pence cannot save Donald Trump from himself.

Kansas City Star: Donald Trump’s unconventional convention won’t follow that script.


Sacramento Bee: Whatever the right strategy to fight terrorism is, it isn’t what Donald Trump is selling.

Orange County Register: President Barack Obama should once again call upon Congress for a formal declaration of war against ISIS, and convene a meeting of Western leaders to coordinate efforts to dismantle ISIS globally.

San Francisco Chronicle: Until France focuses on its own population of disenfranchised, disaffected residents, terror will continue to be a threat to France and all of its allies.

LA Times: Grasping at straw men in the wake of the Nice massacre.

Charlotte Observer: On a day marking freedom, a dark night in Nice, France.

Our take

Editorial: It almost doesn't matter who’s right, Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones, who denies wrongdoing, or the deputy, who accused Jones of harassment. Either way, it reflect a troubling culture.

Foon Rhee: A mixed verdict on jury duty.

Dan Morain: For years to come, Democrats will use the California playbook, quoting Donald Trump’s most inflammatory remarks about women, Muslims and rapists, murderers and drug dealers from Mexico, and they will make sure that new voters never forget.

Foon Rhee: Racial gaps mean not all of us are being heard.

Dan Walters: California property taxes show sharp gains, especially in Bay Area.

Andrew Malcolm: How conventional are political conventions?

Darry Sragow and Rob Pyers: Let’s check prevailing political wisdom with California primary facts.

Syndicate’s Take

Paul Krugman: Bull market blues.

David Brooks: We take care of our own.

Trudy Rubin: Female leader could be spark that U.N. needs.

E.J. Dionne Jr.: The Mike Pence pick is a sign of Donald Trump’s weakness.

And finally,

On Sunday, we urged that folks to take a vacation, turn off the email, play Scrabble, and eat more s’mores than you should.

If you pass through Sandusky, Ohio, stop by the Kalahari, a weirdly African-themed resort where California’s 172 Republican delegates are staying. They call it America's Largest Indoor Waterpark. But that hardly does it justice.

It’s in the middle of farm fields, 60 miles from the convention hall in Cleveland, or, as my expense account will show, a $195 Uber ride from the Cleveland airport. I, too, was shocked because the app said it’d be about $60.

Can’t wait to hear the take on that one from Uber spokesman and former Sacramento politico Aaron McLear.