Tag Archives: George P. Bush

Justice Guzman to seek AG’s office? Hmm

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

It might be time for a mea culpa from your friendly blogger.

I might have spoken a bit too soon in lamenting the lack of legal standing among politicians seeking to become Texas attorney general.

Texas Supreme Court Justice Eva Guzman is about to become a former justice … with an eye toward running for Texas AG in the 2022 Republican Party primary. Her last day on the state’s highest civil appellate court is Friday. Then what?

Eva Guzman – Wikipedia

Justice Guzman represents a tremendous boost in the legal credentials of a political candidate seeking to become the state’s top law enforcement officer.

The incumbent Ken Paxton wants a third term. Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush has declared he wants to defeat Paxton in the 2022 GOP primary. Both men have, shall we say, sparse legal cred. Paxton has been indicted for securities fraud and is awaiting trial; he also is the subject of a FBI probe into allegations of criminal wrongdoing in his office. Bush has a limited legal career under his belt, but has served as land commissioner for the past six years.

Now we have Guzman. She is the daughter of immigrants from Mexico. She grew up in Houston. She attended the University of Houston and got her law degree from Duke University. She has served on the state court of appeals and has been named appellate judge of the year.

Guzman has built a stellar legal career.

To be clear, she hasn’t declared her attorney general candidacy.

At least not yet. Stay tuned.

Pols tend to set low standard

(AP Photo/LM Otero)

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

When a politician sets a bar that is lower than a snake’s belly, one could tend to accept any improvement as a big plus, no matter how minimal it might appear.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, to my way of thinking, comes close to being the epitome of a politician who sets a low bar for the high office he occupies.

This guy is Texas’s chief law enforcement officer. He should come to the office with high credentials, stellar legal standing and a  reputation that is beyond reproach. Has he met any of those standards? Umm, no.

He was a mediocre lawyer when he ran for the Legislature. He won election as AG in 2014 and then quickly got indicted on a securities fraud allegation; Paxton is still awaiting trial in state court. Then several of his highly placed legal assistance filed a whistleblower complaint alleging that Paxton is engaging in criminal activity; that investigation is ongoing, too.

Up steps a challenger in the 2022 GOP primary. He is George P. Bush, son of a former Florida governor and nephew and grandson of two former POTUSes. I already am on record as endorsing Bush’s decision to challenge Paxton, although I will not commit to voting for him in the 2022 GOP primary.

I do question whether Bush brings any stronger legal credentials to this campaign than Paxton. What has this fellow done legally? Does his name appear on any landmark statute? Is he in high demand as a lecturer at any of the state’s distinguished law schools? Not as far as I can tell.

George P. Bush currently serves as Texas land commissioner, where is runs an agency — the General Land Office — that is charged with caring for Texas veterans benefits along with administering the state’s paltry amount of public land.

Hey, I don’t mind electing these folks. I just wish that politicians could somehow find a way to lift the standard of the office they seek and then hold.

Politics and impeccable standards need not be mutually exclusive. Then again … maybe I am asking for too much.

You go, ‘P’!

(AP Photo/LM Otero)

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Texas needs an attorney general who:

  • Isn’t under indictment and is awaiting trail in state court for securities fraud.
  • Isn’t being investigated by the FBI on complaints leveled by former highly placed legal staffers that he is breaking federal law.
  • Doesn’t file lawsuits alleging that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from a crooked president who promotes the Big Lie about election fraud.

Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush has declared he is going to run in the Republican Party primary next year against incumbent Texas AG Ken Paxton. Is Bush going to get my vote? That remains an open question, as I am unsure whether I will vote in the GOP primary next year.

However, I welcome P’s challenge of Paxton, who I consider to be an embarrassment as the state’s top law enforcement officer.

The Texas Tribune reports: “Enough is enough, Ken,” Bush said during a campaign kickoff at a downtown Austin bar. “You’ve brought way too much scandal and too little integrity to this office. And as a career politician for 20 years, it’s time for you to go.”

Good grief. Paxton was a mediocre lawyer and a back-bench legislator when he was elected attorney general in 2014. Then came the indictment from a Collin County grand jury alleging that he failed to inform investors of his financial connection to certain investments.

Arguably the most troubling episode occurred a year ago when high-powered AG office legal staffers blew the whistle on Paxton’s alleged misconduct, including a complaint that involved bribery.

Is this the kind of individual we want representing the state?

Hell no! I want the clown removed from office one way or another … whether by conviction in state court or a sanctioned complaint by the FBI — or by voters who have had enough of this clown’s monkey business.

George P. Bush isn’t exactly a legal heavyweight. He is a political player by virtue of his last name. He is the nephew and grandson of two former presidents and the son of a former Florida governor.

What’s more, he is able to campaign on his relatively clean background and the fact that he isn’t accused of criminal activity … which is far more than the incumbent can say as he seeks to win a third term as Texas attorney general.

Texas AG’s office needs a pro

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

What follows is a brief response to an earlier item I published on this blog.

A social media friend responded via Facebook that he doesn’t think much of Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush’s legal credentials as he considers whether to run for Texas attorney general.

George P. might run for AG? Yes! | High Plains Blogger

My friend wrote this, which isn’t his entire comment, but which deals with a key point in his rejoinder: It would be nice to have a state AG who is a professional — a prosecutor, a judge, a law professor — after the embarrassments of Paxton and Ted Cruz, who never missed an opportunity to sue (and lose) over any federal action they didn’t like, contributing to the image of Texas politicians as right-wing clowns.

I am going to agree with him on this point: The state’s top legal official ought to be someone with notable legal experience. Ken Paxton, before he was elected to the Texas House, was a mediocre lawyer with a Collin County practice. Then he ratcheted up his game to run in 2014 for Texas AG. He won. He was re-elected four years later, but between his election and re-election, he got his sorry behind indicted by a grand jury in his home county.

My friend notes that P’s legal experience is pretty limited, too.

He is, however, a fellow of impeccable integrity, as near as I can tell … which to my way of thinking is a huge step forward from who we have now in the AG’s office.

George P. might run for AG? Yes!

(AP Photo/LM Otero)

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush says the state’s attorney general must be “approve reproach.”

So … with that the nephew and grandson of two presidents has declared for all the world that he is giving serious thought to running to become the state’s next top legal eagle.

I cannot attest to the kind of lawyer George P. Bush has been over the years. However, I believe I can speak to the seriously damaged reputation of the current AG, Ken Paxton, who is facing a pending criminal trial in state court on allegations of securities fraud and is under investigation by the FBI over a whistleblower complaint brought by several of his former top legal assistants.

Bush is the son of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, the grandson of the late President George H.W. Bush and nephew of former President George W. Bush.

I saw P. once in person at the 1992 GOP presidential nominating convention in Houston when, as a teenager, he brought the house down with his exhortation of “viva Boosh!” while speaking on behalf of his “Gampy,” the 41st president of the United States. It was Bush 41, you’ll recall, who famously referred to Jeb’s children as “the little brown ones,” given that their mother, Columba, is of Mexican descent.

George P. Bush says he may primary Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton | The Texas Tribune

Paxton needs to quit. I’ve said so already on this blog. The securities fraud allegation — resulting in a Collin County grand jury indictment — is bad enough. Then came the resignations and firing of several key Paxton legal assistants who blew the whistle on their boss, alleging that he is partaking in illegal activities while serving as AG; one of the allegations involves bribery, for God’s sake!

I have been frustrated beyond belief that Texans actually saw fit to re-elect Paxton, who was indicted for securities fraud in his first term as AG. Then, perhaps emboldened by his re-election in 2018, Paxton decides to sue several states where voters cast most of their ballots for Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election. The Supreme Court tossed Paxton’s lawsuit aside, saying the Texas AG didn’t have jurisdiction in telling another state how to conduct its election.

Put another way, the highest court in the land told Paxton to butt the hell out!

I am, therefore, going to applaud the notion that George P. Bush wants to challenge Paxton in the 2022 Republican Party primary for Texas attorney general. I have had enough of Paxton’s dirtiness in an office that demands its occupant be above reproach.

George P. Bush lays it out plainly: defeat ‘white terrorism’

You might remember when the late President George H.W. Bush once spoke affectionately of his grandchildren, whose parents are Jeb and Columba Bush … and how he referred to them as “my little brown ones.”

Their mother is from Mexico and the president took some undeserved heat for his comments.

One of the “little brown ones” has grown into a Texas elected official, serving as land commissioner. George P. Bush, furthermore, has joined the chorus of those of us who decry what he calls “white terrorism” in the wake of the El Paso massacre that resulted in the deaths of 20 victims.

I want to applaud  George P. for his stance, as he is one of the few Republican politicians at this moment willing to stand up and say what now appears more evident than ever — that the shooter, also a Texan, who opened fire in the El Paso Wal-Mart store was stirred by virulent hatred of dark-skinned immigrants from Latin America.

Bush took to Twitter to make his feelings known. They lend an important voice to this ever-growing national debate.

“I believe fighting terrorism remains a national priority. And that should include standing firm against white terrorism,” Bush said.

He went on: “There have now been multiple attacks from self-declared white terrorist here in the U.S. in the past several months. This is a real and present threat that we must all denounce and defeat.”

Bingo, Mr. Land Commissioner.

Now, let’s all wait to hear from the nation’s top politician, the man at the top of the political food chain, the commander in chief, the head of state … and the apparent source of much of the hatred that has spilled out since he became president of the United States.

Mauro’s beach cleanup legacy lives on

SEA RIM STATE PARK, Texas — Dang it, anyhow! I missed the chance today to visit with volunteers who flocked to this part of the Texas Gulf Coast to take part in an annual beach cleanup event.

My wife and I had a brunch date with friends. When we returned to our RV camp site, the Gulf of Mexico was at high tide, splashing all the way to the beach grass bordering the sand. The volunteers were gone.

But I want to offer a good word to the Texas General Land Office for continuing the program that began in 1986.

“The Adopt-a-Beach annual spring cleanup is always an amazing turnout for Texans to join together and volunteer their time to keep our Texas beaches beautiful. What better way to serve our great state than by spending the day at the beach? It is because of our wonderful volunteers that our annual spring cleanup provides the Texas coast with the care it deserves. The dedication of our fellow Texans to help keep our coast in pristine condition never ceases to amazes me,” said Land Commissioner George P. Bush.

I recall when the cleanup program began under the watch of one of Bush’s predecessors at the General Land Office. Garry Mauro had a vision and a drive to protect our state’s fragile coastline. He made coastal protection against erosion a top priority during his time as land commissioner. The cleanup was part of his overall strategy to emphasize coastal issues. I was a vocal and enthusiastic supporter of Mauro’s effort during my time as editorial page editor of the Beaumont Enterprise.

This policy matters to coastal states such as Texas. I am delighted to see Mauro’s initiative continue through successive land commissioners.

Mauro’s public life as a politician ended in 1998 when he got thumped by George P. Bush’s uncle, George W. Bush, who cruised to re-election as Texas governor over Mauro.

The effort to care for the state’s coastline remains one of Garry Mauro’s enduring legacies.

Does ‘P’ really ‘like’ DJT? Seems doubtful

I didn’t really think of it as a lie when Donald Trump said it. I merely thought of it as, hmm, a serious misrepresentation of reality.

The president came to Texas this week to raise money for his re-election campaign and to stump for himself at a campaign rally. He signed a couple of executive orders.

But at one of his rallies, he called on Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush, to join him on the podium. “This is the only Bush who likes me!” Trump bellowed while summoning “George!”

The misstatement? Oh, well, it happens that George P. Bush is the son of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, the same Jeb Bush who campaigned for president against Donald Trump in 2016.

This also is the same Jeb Bush who Trump labeled as “Low Energy Jeb,” one of the many insults he tossed at Republican primary opponents, not to mention what he hurled at the Democratic nominee, Hillary Rodham Clinton

It well might be that George P. Bush has smiled publicly in Donald Trump’s presence. I have difficulty believing that that the younger Bush has those same feelings privately.

“The only Bush who likes” Donald Trump quite possibly doesn’t “like” the president.

Not one bit.

Who in the world would blame him for harboring the same hard feelings his beloved “Gampy” and “Gammy” — the late 41st president and the late beloved first lady — felt, not to mention how his own parents are feeling to this very day?

Disappointed in GOP primary for land commissioner

I’ve already told you about my satisfaction in the Republican Party primary election finish for two key races for the Texas Legislature: State Sen. Kel Seliger and state Rep. Four Price, both of Amarillo, beat back challenges to win their party’s nomination.

In Seliger’s case, he has a token foe this fall, so he’s virtually assured of his re-election.

I suffered through my share of GOP disappointments, to be sure.

One of them involved the race for Texas land commissioner. I cast my ballot for former Land Commissioner Jerry “The Gun Guy” Patterson, who sought to win his old job back from the incumbent, George P. Bush.

Patterson had grown weary of Bush’s scaling back of General Land Office functions, notably its administering of The Alamo in San Antonio. Bush keeps harping on how “conservative” he has been in running the GLO.

I’ve long appreciated Patterson on a couple of levels.

He had a demonstrated commitment to veterans issues. The GLO administers the state’s veterans home loan program and Patterson — a former Marine Corps pilot — made the issue his own as land commissioner.

I also appreciated his self-deprecating humor, how he doesn’t take himself too seriously. Patterson once joked about how he finished “in the top 75 percent of my class at Texas A&M,” and how he managed to earn is “four-year degree in six years.”

I get that these personal traits don’t necessarily translate to public policy, but I do find them endearing.

Patterson ran for land commissioner after a Texas Senate career distinguished by his authoring the state’s concealed handgun carry bill. I opposed that legislation when he introduced in the mid-1990s; although I don’t endorse it now, I have come to accept it as the law of the state.

Bush is likely to be re-elected this fall. He’ll continue to scale back the GLO’s functions, declaring his actions to be those of a dedicated conservative. Patterson sought to make the case that the Land Office needs to step up to take care of state treasures, such as The Alamo.

He didn’t make the case to enough Republican Party primary voters.

That’s too bad.

Patterson ‘remembers the Alamo’

It turns out that former Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson has a particular motive for seeking to get back into his former job.

He is angry at the way the current commissioner, George P. Bush, has handled the Alamo. Bush has taken the Alamo restoration efforts away from the General Land Office and put it in the hands of private concerns.

Patterson doesn’t like that. So he’s aiming to do battle with Bush with the idea of returning to the GLO the idea of caring for the Alamo.

As R.G. Ratcliffe writes in the Burka Blog: During Patterson’s tenure, the famous Texas battleground was transferred from the Daughters of the Republic of Texas to the land office, but Bush has been widely criticized for handing off restoration plans to private foundations.

Ratcliffe reports that legislators are critical of the move because the foundations are too secretive and aren’t being held accountable for what they’re doing to restore the Alamo. Patterson contends, according to Ratcliffe, that Bush set up the privatization arrangement so that he could take credit for cutting the size of a government agency.

Read Ratcliffe’s blog here.

Patterson says he doesn’t want a job. He said he decided to run because he couldn’t find another Republican to challenge Bush. He told Ratcliffe that Bush is too enamored with being a “small-government Republican” intent on cutting the budget. Patterson is angry that Bush has dismantled the GLO’s hurricane response that Patterson created; as a result, there have been delays in getting aid to Hurricane Harvey victims along the Texas coast.

Patterson is having none of it.

He wants to challenge Bush, whose campaign team is touting as the “most conservative land commissioner” in Texas history.

This might shape up to be a most fascinating Republican Party primary. I get the appeal that Bush is seeking to parlay as a budget cutter and a small-government kind of politician.

I happen to be more of a “good government” fellow, who hopes that Patterson — one of my favorite Texas politicians — can mount a serious challenge to the fellow who succeeded him.