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An issue Nevadans can rally behind

Nevada Appeal editorial board

President Bush’s call Tuesday night for more aggressive job training through grants to community colleges is the kind of push Nevadans could rally behind, and the first of his recent initiatives that might hold some long-term benefits for residents of the Silver State.

In his State of the Union address, Bush addressed the nation’s jobless rate by calling for more vocational training, the kind of bootstrap career development path that will appeal to both employers and service-industry workers in Nevada.

A major part of his speech was dedicated to support for the effort in Iraq, although it carried a much different tenor than a year ago when he was building a case to go to war. Most Nevadans recognize the United States, now that it has captured Saddam and toppled his regime, has made a commitment to stabilizing the factions in Iraq, while at the same time policing the world against terrorism.

It’s on the domestic front Bush needs to make his case to the people – and to the voters in November.

His proposal for work visas for illegal immigrants was not well-received in Nevada, nor was the Medicare legislation he signed last year. The idea of bolstering NASA’s manned space-flight missions to the moon and Mars was largely irrelevant, and if anything was seen as another potential budget-buster.

His decision to give the green light to nuclear-waste storage at Yucca Mountain will forever dog him in Nevada, leaving undecided voters searching for some compelling reason to support the incumbent president.

The best thing going for Bush, of course, is the lack of a strong Democratic alternative. Nevadans can do little but sit back and watch as the primary campaign weeds through the potential challengers.

It took only one day at the Iowa caucuses, for example, to knock Rep. Dick Gephardt out of the race. Just two weeks ago, it looked like Gephardt and Howard Dean were the front-runners there, only to be outmaneuvered by John Kerry and John Edwards.

Nevadans will vote for their interests, but most of all they are looking for a leader. An incumbent president who can deliver on both fronts would be unbeatable.