Robert NovakOur own Scott Bennett didn’t think all that much of the President’s State of the Union speech on Tuesday evening. Not surprisingly, neither did our Viewpoints columnist, Ken Molberg. One of our regular bloggers, longtime Republican activist Sandy McDonough, came to Bush’s defense and praised the President’s address.
Now, conservative columnist Robert Novak reports that even conservative members of Congress were disappointed in what the President had to say. Here are Novak’s comments in a column headlined "Bush’s talking points are losing their edge":
"While jumping up on cue to cheer during the speech and delivering rave reviews afterward in the Capitol's Statuary Hall, conservative members of Congress were deeply disappointed by George W. Bush Tuesday night. It was not merely that the president abandoned past domestic goals. He appeared to be moving toward bigger government.
The consensus on the Right was that President Bush's fifth State of the Union Address was his worst. Republican members of Congress agreed privately that he was most effective at the beginning with his familiar message of why U.S. forces cannot abandon Iraq. The problem for these lawmakers was the rest of the 51-minute presentation, which was filled with unpleasant surprises.
With polls showing the president's approval rating persistently anemic (as low as 39 percent), the speech aimed at a kinder, gentler Bush. But beyond atmospherics, the policy initiatives staked out new directions in the sixth year of his presidency that raised questions. Is this the real George W. Bush? Is he really his true father's son and not Ronald Reagan's?"
In a poll conducted from January 26th to January 29th for the Wall St. Journal and NBC News, the Hart/McInturff polling firm asked the following question:
If just one of the following goals for America could be achieved in the coming year, which one would you choose?
At the top of the list (by a wide margin) was the goal of bringing most of the American forces home from Iraq. 35% favored that goal for 2006. Next highest on the list was dealing with the cost of healthcare and coverage for the uninsured which 20% of those polled listed as their top goal for the country.
Here is the entire list and ranking of goals for America in 2006 from the Hart/McInturff poll:
Bring most of the American forces home from Iraq .... 35%
Deal with the cost of healthcare and coverage for the uninsured .... 20%
Stimulate economic and job growth .... 17%
Simplify the Medicare prescription drug program for seniors .... 11%
Reduce the federal deficit .... 8%
Reduce taxes .... 7%
The poll results are not good news for President Bush as he continues to defend his stance on the War in Iraq.
I don't know about you, but a week ago, I wouldn't have known anything more about the district attorney candidates than I do about the U.S. Olympic luge team. No, scratch that. I do know a little about luge, which is more than I can say about the D.A. candidates.
Then a few days ago, while painfully enduring watching local news coverage, I learn about Dan Wyde,, who if you believe the TV "reporters" quoting two people who have a vested interest in his defeat (i.e. his Republican primary opponents) is the kind of racist that would make former KKK Grand Cyclops Robert Byrd proud. I wouldn't know. Mr. Wyde could be a dark-hearted racist or a pure-hearted saint - all I had was TV reports to go on. I may as well have been using Dora the Explorer's map to navigate a transatlantic flight.
Then just days later, the daily newspaper endorses candidate Vic Cunnigham without, as Caroline Barta astutely notes, having provided any coverage of the race to date at all. Vic Cunningham may indeed be the man for the job. He may also be Ruprecht the Monkey Boy for all the coverage we've had. I don't know.
So now finally Jim Schutze weighs in with a full story and backgrounder on the D.A. race in this week's Dallas Observer, and we learn some interesting facts. We learn that Dan Wyde may not be the racist boogeyman that news reports have made him out to be, and that, at least among the Republican candidates, he may have the most substantive ideas.
"But, of them all, (Dan Wyde is) least prone to pander on crime-fighting, most candid about what the DA really needs to do to handle a huge caseload, like not accepting so many bad cases from the cops."
We learn that the daily's decision to forgo Toby Shook because of a need for a "clean break" from the fake drug scandal under Bill Hill's watch is really a non-starter ... for the Democrat candidates as well as the Republican ones.
And we learn that Jim wants a bass boat. I'll pitch in a few bucks. The enlightenment was worth a donation.
Even as we at DallasBlog celebrate the start of our fourth month bringing you news and views from Dallas and the Southwest, today we celebrate the City of Dallas' 150th year in business.
On this day in 1856, Texas granted Dallas a town charter, and nothing has slowed us down since. The town grew to be the most populous in Texas by 1890, boasting more than 38,000 residents. Today, more than 1.2 million people call Dallas home, and of that fully one-third of them appear to be in front of me on Central Expressway on my afternoon commute.
Wendi and Dave tell us about a great Valentine's opportunity for the single set. "The Chocolate Event" on February 14, 2006 from 5:30 P.M. to 8:30 P.M. at 3606 Greenville Ave. Actually, this might be fun for the married set too.
Today is signing day for College Football and David McNabb is ready with his evaluation of how the chips fell - blue and otherwise - for the Big 12 South, and area colleges TCU, SMU and UNT. Hint: Nobody failed. But guess who got an A+?
More than three hours of closed (and heated) executive session later, and the Dallas City Council today kicked the "Dallas City Limits" entertainment development ball back into the development group's court.
The bottom line from today's agenda briefing: city staff and the council came up with a list of questions - concentrating on the financials - that the council wants answered by the development group proposing the $250 million, 400,000-square-foot entertainment complex near the downtown Dallas Convention Center. More background on Dallas City Limits can be found here.
Chief among the questions/requests/concerns being thrown back to Dallas City Limits partners Bill Beuck (the developer of the 900-acre Pinnacle Park), Billy Bob Barnett (of Billy Bob's Texas fame) and Spencer Taylor (who was instrumental in bringing Gilley’s to Dallas): Show us your balance sheet. Just how the heck are you going to finance this thing? You're asking the city to kick in $20 million in infrastructure, much less the sale of the property - just how solid is your backing? Is there a gambling component in your second phase proposal?
So come the day after Valentine's Day, city staff will sit down with the Dallas City Limits partnership to see if they can whisper the right sweet nothings, satisfying all of the city's questions and concerns.
Only then can the council decide on whether to move forward with any possible deal with the developer.
Now interestingly, more than one DallasBlog reader has noted that the possibility of Austin okaying gambling plays a critical role in this deal - Mayor Laura Miller has stated publicly she would like to turn Reunion Arena into some kind of city owned casino - but rumor is gambling may play an even bigger role than that. More to come as that develops...
The Texas Grant Program received its first private donation today from the Texas Retailers Education Foundation. The Foundation donated $250,000 to the program that provides financial aid to economically disadvantaged students.
Legislation passed last year by Sen. Florence Shapiro (R-Plano) and Rep. Geanie Morrison (R-Victoria) made it possible for the Texas Grant Program to receive private contributions.
"This is an excellent, excellent example of a public-private partnership at its best," Shapiro said. "It doesn't come any better than this. To be able to invest in our children's future in the state of Texas through private donations is really terrific."
The Retailers Education Foundation is part of the Texas Retailers Association which members include Radio Shack, Wal-Mart, Target and Neiman Marcus.
“The retail industry employs one out of every ten Texans,” said Theresia Intag, exec. dir. of Texas Retailers Education Foundation. “Texas retailers have a vested interest in ensuring that a well-trained, highly-educated workforce is available to our industry.”
Morrision thanked the Retailers Education Foundation for their initial support. "I think this is going to make a big difference in the lives of 200 students, and there will be more to come," Morrison said.
The funds will go toward helping seniors graduate from college.