Only days after President Barack Obama was re-elected, word hit the media that candidate papers were filed with Texas officials for George Bush. Not for George W. Bush, but for his nephew George Prescott Bush.
Though no declaration for a particular office was cited in his campaign filing, a fundraising letter sent out by his father, former Florida governor Jeb Bush, stated that his son had an interest in running for the conveniently open State Land Commissioner.
The incumbent Texas Land Commissioner, Jerry Patterson, announced last year that he would not seek re-election but would instead run for lieutenant governor. Patterson is close with the Bush family, having led President Bush’s state campaign in 2004, and will be facing current Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst.
Dewhurst is an ally of Texas governor Rick Perry, who has had a testy relationship with the Bush political operation as of late.
George Prescott, who was refered to as “P” while criss-crossing the country as a surrogate for his “Uncle W” in the 2000 and 2004 presidential campaigns, is a 36 year old Fort Worth-based real estate developer and has been seemingly groomed his entire life for a political career.
“P” has the lengthiest and most impressive pedigree imaginable: great-grandson of a US Senator (source of his middle-namesake), grandson of the 41st president (source of his first namesake), nephew of a president and son of a governor. He’s also has the distinction of being a blue-blooded Latino. His mother Columba is a naturalized citizen originally from Mexico.
While the office of state land commissioner is certainly obscure, it’s doubtful that would be he final destination for the fourth generation political Bush. If he wins that post, GPB will probably be only twleve years removed from delivering an acceptance speech at a Republican National Convention.
And speaking of Bushes looking at a future presidential bid, one of the Sunday news shows discussed rumors that George Prescott’s dad is contemplating a run in 2016.
Though Republican insiders have always gone through great pains to explain the differences between the brothers, America just re-elected a president who ran as much against his predecessor as much as he did the man (Romney) who aimed to succeed him.
And amazingly enough the voters largely bought what Obama sold as a poll showed that a majority held the 43rd president more responsible for the current sour economy as the 44th.
While popular in crimson red Texas, Bush is still a dirty four-letter word in much of the country.
Furthermore, the Republican Party’s farm team has never been more impressive with no less than five high-profile non-relatives of the Bush family quietly exploring White House bids.
There’s no lack of electable talent in place for 2016 and all a Jeb candidacy would do is suck out campaign dollars and media attention from legitimate contenders leaving only weak fringe alternatives.
While this might be great for Jeb, replays of 2008 and 2012 would be catastrophic for the Republican Party and won’t be helpful to his son’s later and presumably higher ambitions.
A replay of the 1992 Bush-Clinton in 2016 with the same result would be fatal to the GOP.
When George W. Bush sought the Republican Party’s presidential nomination in 2000, a wide path had been cleared via the traveling delegations of federal, state and local officials who pilgrimaged to Austin to encourage him to run. W’s few reputable potential rivals were buffaloed out.
George W. Bush also benefited from his father’s relatively benign, statesman image. In contrast, there will be no fraternal inheritence of value for Jeb, only the unpleasant task of a making awkward statements how he’s not the same as his big brother.
There’s a reason why George W. Bush did not speak at the 2012 Republican National Convention and it had nothing to do with Hurricane Isaac.
At a time when the Republican Party desperately needs to do a better job selling itself to the general public, a primary season dominated by another Bush and debate about whether the GOP would be wise to assign a fifth presidential nomination in the past eight national elections to a Bush would be unhelpful.
It might not be fair to Jeb, but there are quality candidates with other surnames who deserve a chance to represent our party to the nation.
Jeb Bush would do the party a great service by renouncing a presidential bid sooner than later so the party can move beyond the third generation’s shadow that haunted the 2012 GOP nominee.