Consider the February Texas Monthly to be a tale of two Dans, namely Trump-supporting Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, who graced our cover and headed our list of the state’s most powerful people, and Trump-critical retired CBS anchorman Dan Rather, who sat for a long Q&A with executive editor Pamela Colloff. Our issue hit newsstands just as Trump was being inaugurated, on January 20, and shortly thereafter emails from readers both for and against the two Dans started filling our inbox, as did comments on our website and Facebook page. The comments were every bit as impassioned and polarized and angry as the national debate has been—and some were even printable in a family publication.

Dan On a Mission

Halloween certainly came early this year . . .
Michael Johnston, Charles A. Dana Professor of Political Science, emeritus, Colgate University

Dan Patrick is a powerful man [“Flush With Power”]. The author’s thesis is correct in that. But power can be an illusion, because it is based in a perception of moral and intellectual authority. Neither facts nor a concern for all citizens is on his side. He has no evidence for his bathroom bill (which went unmentioned), and if he did care about everyone, he would focus his primary attentions on Texas’s rank as forty-third in the nation for child welfare (Annie E. Casey Foundation). But no, the bathroom bill remains his primary focus, to use his own words.

He represents a lack of humility and cannot fathom a world in which he is on the wrong side of history. This was a glorification of his power and you helped normalize his poor governing focus by giving him a platform.
Rachel M. Ries, Dallas

I thank him for doing all that he can to protect our women and children.
Sherry M. Dornon, via Facebook

Thank you, Dan Patrick, for standing up for women and family values. I agree with you and the “bathroom” bill!
Nancy Elliott Yetter, via Facebook

The position of Dan Patrick’s office confirms that he is “in charge,” precisely as your February cover declares. But there is a West Texas sky’s worth of difference between being in charge and being important. Patrick’s decision to make which restroom folks can use his top legislative priority ensures that history will judge him as the smallest and least important lieutenant governor Texas has ever known.
L. Lee Thweatt, Houston

For a state with unlimited potential, boundless opportunity, and compassionate and hard-working people, the man “in charge” has a number one passion about where we go to the restroom! He demonstrates a small vision of and for Texas in an office that has been occupied by great leaders like Hobby and Bullock. These former leaders were tough but always saw a greater, more inclusive Texas.

Small vision, vindictiveness, and retribution against those who disagree are not attributes of a leader. These are not qualities Texans should be proud of in a leader with a limited vision of a great state. Respect is earned even in the legislative process. Solve the big issues, stand for all of Texas, and then you will earn respect. Merely being elected does not make a statesman; it is earned in the hard decisions. Reacting to unwarranted fears and playing to the crowd does not make one a leader. Leadership requires intelligence, discernment, and courage.
Paul Sadler, former state representative, San Antonio

Ooh. You’re gonna burn for that cover. My apologies to the woman in front of me at H-E-B. The reaction, though, was natural. You, TM, owe me a new pair of shoes; there’s no walking back vomit on suede.
Tom Rommel, via

The only way I could read February’s issue was to promptly rip your cover of Dan Patrick off and throw it in the trash.
D.C. Green, via email

Once I ripped off the cover of the February edition and tossed it into the recycling bin, I was actually able to enjoy the issue.
Mark Doty, Dallas

Of the top three leaders under the dome, Speaker Straus is the only adult in the room. He is willing to address critical concerns facing the state, unlike the other two jockeying solely for personal political gain.
Jay Trainor, via

Texas is booming while leftist states fail. Texas Monthly can’t stand it.
Charlie Primero, via

Anchor Away

I guess Dan Rather now has the perfect metaphor for “lie”: alternative fact [“Central Intelligence”].
Gail McCoy, via email

You rock, Dan Rather!
N. Shemrah Fallon, via

He belongs under a rock!
Retributer, via

Texas Monthly isn’t fit to line a hamster cage. Dan Rather? A source for news?? Lmao. Goodbye, liberal rag.
Richard Bogan, via Facebook

Dan Rather’s last few years anchoring were anything but unbiased reporting. This article is quite comical when you consider Mr. Rather is now being reinvented as the guru of good journalism, with his prophetic vision of the Trump movement. No, he did not get it, and neither did most of the journalistic world, because they were not interested in truth, only in attacking Trump’s movement as petty. Sorry, Colloff, your golden boy is still not relevant.
Frank Hebert, San Antonio

Rich Food

They all sound snobby and expensive [“Where to Eat Now 2017”]. Where is a list for the real people?
Ken Lobo, via Facebook

Holy smokes! Austin now has restaurants where meals cost $150 to $200 a person!
Belinda Hare, via Facebook

Rhodes Skill

Excellent piece [“Great Expectations”]! So honest and relatable on a subject [Rhodes scholars] I thought I could never relate to. Looking forward to seeing what you write next.
T.K. Lennox, via

Pension Tension

My dad is a Dallas fireman. When he accepted his salary nearly thirty years ago they promised him the pension plan and great benefits since the city couldn’t pay him as much as they wanted to [“Towering Debts”]. He has worked his tail off, saving lives. And you know what he gets when he retires? Absolutely nothing if they don’t do something about his pension.
Kaylee Chaney, via Facebook

Blue cities having money problems? Who could have seen this coming!?!
Clay Smith, via Facebook

They’re broke because no matter what a Republican will tell you, they spend lots of our money.
John Randall, via Facebook

Aw, Shucks . . .

Terry Allen, Dan Patrick, carne guisada, Dan Rather, unfunded pension liabilities, Patricia Sharpe—what a great issue!
Wally Pliszka, via email

Texas Monthly hires a barbecue editor and in a year or two, the Smithsonian hires a beer historian. Politics aside, is this a great country or what?!
William Larson, Universal City