George P. Bush is burning with ambition, not ideas but lots of ambition. The latest Bush to sprout on the Texas political landscape is long on pedigree and short on ideology. Of course, that never stops a Bush from running for public office. They call it public service but they act like it's a birthright, and when a Bush leaves office the greatest accomplishment left behind is that certain donors to their political dreams now have bigger bank accounts. And in George W's case, two wars were burning our national treasure.
Think of George P. as a small W. Like his uncle, the former president, George P. hasn't expressed his views on issues prior to filing for a Texas campaign. Karl Rove practically drafted W. to run for governor of Texas when all W wanted to do was to become the commissioner of Major League Baseball. I caught the former president's ambivalence toward the White House one night on a late flight from California back to Maine and I asked him, "Governor, what happens if you lose this thing?"
"Oh that wouldn't be so bad," he said. "I'd go back to Dallas, run the baseball team, sit on some boards, Laura and the girls and I would have a good life."
A lot of other people would have simply had lives, if that had happened. We certainly would not have invaded Iraq and any other president would've gone into Afghanistan first to get Bin Laden where he lived instead of pretending Saddam were involved.
Small W isn't up to speed on any issues. But he thinks he ought to hold office. He's said publicly, "We for sure are running, the question is the office." Clearly, he's called to serve. Or just hold office because he's a Bush. Small W went to Austin and visited the office of Land Commissioner like he was shopping for a new house to buy, which is kind of what he's doing. In a matter of weeks after filing, he had raised well over a million dollars from the usual Bush family cronies like Harold Simmons of Dallas, a multi-billionaire who is making untold buckets of money dumping nuclear waste into the ground outside of Andrews, Texas, a town that I am certain Small W doesn't even know exists. Simmons was a big contributor to Rove's failed Crossroads group and funded much of the Swift Boat Veterans' attack on John Kerry. Just, generally, you know, a good fella.But George P. says nothing on issues and is, at best, a political dilettante. He does have the knack for Bush opportunism, however. After Chris Kyle, the American Sniper was allegedly killed while trying to help a fellow veteran, Small W let it be known he was going to meet with Kyle to talk about veterans' issues. He, subsequently, took the courageous stand of wanting to help veterans.
"Today, I won't be having that conversation with Chris, but we as Americans need to do a better job of understanding the realities of PTSD and what we can do to help our veterans transition successfully back into society, including offering counseling, mentoring, and support."
This is what's known in public policy circles as a tenacious grasp at the obvious. Except, if he followed family protocol, he'd vote to fund the wars the Chris Kyle's have to fight but he'd skimp on the money to take care of them when they got home. At least Small W, unlike his uncle, served in a war zone, doing six months in Afghanistan under a secret identity.
Small W does, at a minimum, have political vision, even if he lacks issues awareness and ideology. If he runs for Land Commissioner in Texas in 2014, he will benefit from his mother's Hispanic ancestry as well as the likelihood that his father, Jeb, will almost certainly be in the primary race for the GOP nomination in 2016, which would only boost George P's profile. But what does he know of Texas? He went to law school in the state and now works at a big firm in Dallas but I'm guessing Jon Stewart knows more about Texas than Small W.
It's likely America still has Bush fatigue and it won't go away in the next four years. But Texas never suffered from it. And Small W is the latest symptom for which we've yet to take a cure.
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