Donald Trump was elected president in part because of the public’s distain for politicians who focus on personal, partisan conflict instead of pragmatic problem solving.  The hostile, vehement opposition to President Trump displayed by California Democratic leaders since Election Day confirms that confrontational attitude flourishes in our deep blue state.

But why do they keep taking these gratuitous shots?  Like it or not, President Trump and his appointees are going to be making critical decisions for California’s future for at least the next four years.  That is a long time to keep biting the federal hand that feeds you.

On matters of finance, California’s policy makers hope to retain billions in federal funds when the Affordable Care Act is repealed and want the federal government to pay for large portions of the Water Fix tunnels and the high speed rail project, to name a just few.

On matters of policy, California leaders have strong disagreements about immigration, trade, energy policy and environmental protection.  US EPA nominee Scott Pruitt’s Senate confirmation hearing provided the latest example of confrontation over cooperation.

Newly elected California Senator Kamala Harris started her questions by badgering Pruitt over lawsuits he filed as Attorney General on behalf of the State of Oklahoma and then questioned his ethical values even after his saying he would full comply with the directions of US EPA ethical counsel in recusing himself from pending and future litigation and rule makings.

Turning to a California specific issue, Senator Harris asked about key waivers from the federal Clean Air Act that California receives from US EPA that allow it to impose more strict emissions standards on new vehicles sold in the state.  Harris wanted assurances from Pruitt that future waivers would be granted. Pruitt said he would review those requests and approve or deny them as warranted, just as previous Administrators had done.

But a commitment to environmental protection and following the regulatory process was not enough for Senator Harris.  She wanted Pruitt’s assurance that future waiver requests would be granted.  As a former Attorney General, Harris knows that regulators must follow the appropriate decision making process and not pre-judge the outcome with their own biases, especially during a confirmation hearing.

Imagine the righteous outrage that would have ensued had Pruitt assured a Republican Senator about a favorable outcome of a pending regulatory case involving an energy or agricultural company.  Of course facts matter; process matters; and everyone has a right to be heard.  Unless it is something California politicians think they can get by bullying.

Given that Pruitt spent some time discussing the importance of the regulatory process, the rule of law and the key role states play in protecting the environmental, Harris could have used her time to discuss those principles and to understand how he would apply them to California’s vehicle emissions waiver requests.  But fairness and cooperation do not make good headlines.  They do not make good video.  They do not feed the political narrative of fear, hostility and opposition that has been peddled since the day after the presidential election.

Although state Democratic leaders routinely marginalize and ignore California Republicans, Republicans now matter in Washington DC.  The financial and policy role the federal government plays in our future is too important to be jeopardized by selfish politicians still reeling from the election.  Hostility towards those making key decisions must be replaced with constructive cooperation.

While attacking and intimidating important decision makers may make highly partisan folks feel better, such bad behavior does a tremendous disservice to the ordinary citizens counting on their leaders to cooperate with the new leadership team.  The fact Trump Administration officials pledge to treat California fairly is an olive branch that should be respectfully accepted.

No amount of obstruction and opposition will change the outcome of the presidential election, not even in deep blue California.