Tag Archives: George P. Bush

Texas: reddest of the Red States

Texas is Ground Zero — pardon the reference — of the conservative movement.

That’s the assessment of Dan Balz, a veteran Washington Post political reporter, who uses land commissioner candidate George P. Bush as his example of the state’s rightward shift.


Bush is the grandson and nephew of two former presidents and the son of a former Florida governor. All three of his ancestors, Balz said, used to personify the “kinder, gentler” wing of the Republican Party. Bush thinks GOP firebrand Sen. Ted Cruz is the future of his party and he said so at a gathering of pols and pundits at a Texas Tribune talk-fest held in Austin.

Indeed, the view that Texas is leading the conservative charge probably isn’t that much of a surprise. Even when it leaned heavily Democratic, its officeholders weren’t usually considered — at that time, at least — to be squishy liberals. The most successful Democrats in the state were folks like John Connally, Lloyd Bentsen, Sam Rayburn and Lyndon Johnson. Yes, you had your occasional lefty in there, such as Ralph Yarborough and then Ann Richards.

The last Democrat elected to statewide office in 1994 was John Sharp, hardly a lefty, who’s now chancellor of the Texas A&M University System.

So, Texas has leaned right for longer than the GOP has been in control of everything.

As for the model of today’s modern conservatism in Texas, look at Dan Patrick, the GOP candidate for lieutenant governor. He’s just recently declared his intention to rid the state of the DREAM Act, which allows Texans brought here illegally by their parents to enroll in state public colleges and universities as “in-state” students, paying in-state tuition rates.

Gov. Rick Perry, a fiery conservative if there ever was one, endorses the DREAM Act. Not Patrick. If he’s elected, he’ll get rid of it.

Yep, the state is No. 1 all right.

'P' offers a pleasant surprise

Politicians occasionally surprise me — pleasantly so.

Sometimes I draw conclusions about politicians, only to have them suggest I might have been a bit too quick on the trigger.

George P. Bush has been, well, one of those pleasant surprises as he runs for Texas land commissioner.

It turns out that the tea party wing of the Republican Party with which he has aligned himself might be gnashing its teeth over P’s environmental policies. As land commissioner, environmental protection goes with the territory.


P, the grandson of President George H.W. Bush, nephew of George W. Bush, son of Jeb Bush and a darling of the more conservative wing of the Republican Party, turns out to be keenly aware of some issues that interest those of us who tilt the other direction.

The young man acknowledges the Earth’s climate is change, that it’s getting warmer; he likes the idea of developing alternative energy sources, such as wind and solar power; he stops short of calling for abolishing the Environmental Protection Agency; he’s concerned about protecting coastal wetlands; he wants the state to use less coal and use more natural gas to fire electrical power plants.

This guy just might be OK if he gets elected. In a state that leans so far toward the GOP, that event is a near-certainty.

The land commissioner has other responsibilities as well, such as administering the state’s veteran home loan program. On that score, I give the incumbent Commissioner Jerry Patterson and his immediate predecessor David Dewhurst loads of credit. P likely will need to study up on the impact the program has on prospective homebuyers.

I’ve long thought of the land commissioner, though, as one of the state’s chief environment stewards. The office’s very name suggests that protecting “the land” is its top priority.

On that score, George P. Bush is sounding more reasonable than his tea party affiliation would suggest.

I presume he’ll know that many Texans — including yours truly — will be watching him to ensure he stays true to his stated beliefs about our environment.

We’ve only got one planet, P. We need to take care of it.



Here comes Bush 3.0

George Prescott Bush likely is going to become the next Texas land commissioner.

He’s setting the stage for yet another Bush to stand tall over the Texas political landscape, now that he’s won the Republican Party primary for the statewide office.

Oh, boy.


Bush — who’s known as “P” — has never held elected office. He’s a fairly recent resident of Texas, where he’s been practicing law. On paper, P’s political resume looks pretty thin.

Except that he’s got some pretty good Texas political blood running through his veins. His grandpa is George H.W. Bush, the 41st president of the United States; his uncle is George W. Bush, the 43rd president. That makes him a third-generation Bush — and a Texan to boot — who’s entering the political arena.

I should add that he’s got another key element working in his favor. His mother is Columba, born in Mexico and married to Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor. P speaks Spanish fluently and figures to employ his bilingual skills quite nicely as he tours the state in the next several months in search of votes.

I am not going to poke fun at P for seeking to follow the trail blazed by grandpa, Uncle W and Dad. The landscape is full of political dynasties. Does the name “Kennedy” mean anything? How about Cuomo? The Rockefellers have done pretty well, too. “Udall” remains a pretty strong brand in the Southwest and Mountain West.

All of this dynasty talk does bring to mind, though, the shutting out of other candidates who otherwise might have at least as much to offer the votes as someone named Bush, or Kennedy, or Cuomo.

These are like the sons and daughters of famous actors who end up with starring roles even though they might not possess the talent of their famous forebears. Or the sons of famous athletes who take roster spots on teams that should go to other, more talented players; Mickey Mantle Jr. and Pete Rose Jr. are two notable sports failures who come to mind immediately.

If P succeeds as land commissioner — and I hope he does — then he’ll have shown that he’s more than just a famous name.

George P. campaigns in the dark

George P. Bush — nephew and grandson of two presidents and the son of a former governor — was thought to be a natural candidate for public office in Texas.

Then he launched a campaign for Texas land commissioner and promptly hid from view, more or less.


He hasn’t submitted to lengthy interviews by newspaper editorial boards or made speeches from the stump of any substance. “P” — as he says he’d like to be called — makes brief appearances here and there and then drives or flies off to the next stop.

Well, P, what gives?

P was a huge hit at the 1992 Republican National Convention when, as a 16-year-old speaking for his grandfather — President George H.W. Bush — he exhorted the Houston Astrodome crowd with his enthusiastic “Viva Boosh!” declaration. P’s parents, of course, are Jeb and his Mexico-born mother, Columba and the then-teenager was thought to embody the GOP’s outreach to Latino voters.

He brought that cachet to this year’s land commissioner race, or so many observers thought.

As Paul Burka notes in the blog link attached here, the Austin American-Statesman endorsed businessman David Watts for the GOP nomination. The paper apparently was frustrated by P’s refusal to meet with the editorial board, which is a curious posture for a neophyte candidate campaigning for a statewide office, given that Austin is Texas’s capital city.

I won’t predict how this land commissioner primary will turn out March 4.

If P wins and then takes office in January, he’ll need to acquire some media relations skills, which would come in handy if he hopes to parlay a land commissioner post into something more visible.

Bush kin on right immigration track

The Bush family name be politically toxic in much of the nation, but it remains fairly golden in Texas.

The reasons for that long-lasting good will might be difficult to explain. I’ll add that on immigration reform, the Bush family is ahead of the curve and is on the right side of history.


As the San Antonio Express-News blog notes, the Bushes can mark their return to public life with their strong stance on reforming the nation’s broken immigration system.

George P. Bush, the son of the former Florida governor, Jeb, is running as a Republican for Texas land commissioner — an office that doesn’t have much to say directly about immigration issues. But his father and his mother — Columba, a native of central Mexico — both have been strongly encouraging serious immigration reform that includes a “path to citizenship” for those who are here illegally. And as someone with Latino blood in his veins, George P. is seen as a rising Latino star within the Republican Party.

Uncle George W., the 43rd president of the United States, is another one who speaks wisely about immigration issues. The Express-News blog notes that former President Bush’s silence since leaving office in 2009 is beginning to break with his views on the subject. He was strong on immigration while serving as Texas governor and as president.

To his great credit, Rick Perry — who succeeded Bush as governor — has been equally outspoken on the issue, much to the dismay of his conservative allies within the GOP, some of whom argue stupidly that we should just round up all them “illegals” and send ’em back to where they came from. Perry, meanwhile, has supported legislation granting undocumented immigrants who’ve grown up in Texas “in-state tuition” incentives to enroll in our state’s public colleges and universities.

It encourages me to know that not all Republicans have gone around the bend on some of critical issues. I just hope they’ll listen to the wisdom — at least on the matter of immigration — to the Bush family of Texas.

George P. gets a challenge from left and right

Well now, it looks as though George P. Bush — grandson of a former president and nephew of another one — isn’t going to be a free ride into the Texas land commissioner’s office after all.

He’s drawn two challengers. One of them is David Watts, from East Texas, a conservative Republican who’ll run against “P” in next spring’s primary. The other likely is going to be former El Paso Mayor John Cook, who’ll run as a Democrat.

“P” — which what many of us will call him, given that Uncle George W. is known around the world as “W” — comes into this race with lots of money. Dallas Cowboys owner/general manager/chief cook and bottle washer/de facto head coach Jerry Jones reportedly kicked in 25 grand to “P”s campaign.

I guess the young man has raised several million already for this race, which will be his introduction to electoral politics. He moved to Texas a few years ago to start a law practice and, I reckon, look over the landscape for a suitable place to start his public service career.

It’s been thought “P” would be able to trade on the Bush name, as it is remains golden in Texas while it has gone toxic in much of the rest of the country. His father, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, likely would do well in Texas if he chooses to seek the presidency in 2016.

I’m glad, though, to see George P. having to face these challenges early in his political life. They will strengthen him if he wins.

If he loses, well, they still might give him the strength that quite often comes with humility.