GOP’s ‘health’ care bill, Kimberly Ellis’ act, Devin Nunes’ mouth

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 to sign up.

TrumpCare 2.0

Donald Trump said the U.S. House of Representatives’ bill to repeal Obamacare was “mean.” Trump much prefers the Senate’s version, tweeting: “Look forward to making it really special! Remember, ObamaCare is dead.” Editorial writers didn’t see much more than a dime’s worth of difference between the two versions.

It’d devastate rural health care, The Kansas City Star wrote. The Raleigh News & Observer said it fails America and is frightening. The Charlotte Observer called it an awful bill. The San Francisco Chronicle called it a demolition job. Our assessment: It’s about big money and partisan political power – and millions of poorer, sicker and older Americans are the collateral damage.

Other than all of that, Mr. Trump, it is a really special piece of legislation.

Takes on Pelosi

Democrats lost their third and fourth special elections in a row last week, most notably the one lost by Jon Ossoff in suburban Atlanta despite having raised $23 million. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi was taking hits, predictably. The Chron noted Pelosi’s stock had sunk. The Charlotte Observer opined that she “remains an albatross for Democrats.” Dan Walters, now of CalMatters, wrote that Pelosi may join the growing list of California’s older Democratic leaders put out to pasture.

The Sage of Woodland, Republican consultant-Yolo County Supe Matt Rexroad, @MattRexroad, observed: “What are two things all four Dems in Congressional specials this year had in common? None had ever held local political office and all lost.” Our take: Ossoff lost in April when he failed to break 50 percent in the primary. Voters follow patterns and the seat has been in Republican hands since the 1970s.

Kimberly Ellis

Our own Erika D. Smith tried to get a fix on Kimberly Ellis, who upset the Democratic powers in California by almost defeating Eric Bauman in the race to become state party chair. Now Ellis is calling the election rigged. Smith wrote: “Will she insist on challenging Bauman’s legitimacy even if it drives an even deeper wedge between progressive and establishment Democrats? One that is perhaps irreparable? Or will she concede if it becomes clear that it won’t lead to more transparency in future party elections?” Smith concludes it’s headed to the courts.

After Democratic candidates lost special congressional elections in Georgia and South Carolina, Ellis tweeted: “#ga6 & #sc5 results prove #dem establishment hacks worst in biz. Time for a new coalition. #unboughtunbossed.” How’s that for building bridges, as Dems aim to take seven Republican congressional seats in California.

It could be worse

Florida Democratic Party chairman Stephen Bittel, annoyed at being challenged by African American legislators, was heard to mutter: “They’re like children, these black lawmakers. They just don’t get it. I raised more money in this amount of time than they ever could.”

Our colleagues at The Miami Herald denounced Bittel, editorializing: “Infantilizing what was a reliable base as childish and emotional is not a winning message. Candidates who don’t reflect the reality of the state’s diversity won’t help. African American support for Florida Gov. Rick Scott doubled when he sought a second term.”

Lede of the Week

The honors go to The Fresno Bee’s Bill McEwen: “I wonder if the secret health-care bill Mitch McConnell is writing up in the U.S. Senate covers amnesia. If it doesn’t, Rep. Devin Nunes will have to foot the bill himself – should he desire treatment.”

McEwen pointed out that Nunes blamed Democrats’ rhetoric for the shooting of House Majority Whip Steve Scalise. But as McEwen so adeptly noted, Nunes over the years has referred to congressional members as al-Qaida’s best friend, eco-terrorists, totalitarian and akin to Saddam Hussein. We understand why Nunes is in Congress. He has a safe Republican seat. But why is he still chairman of the House Intelligence Committee? Seriously. Why?