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Another George Bush Plans To Try His Hand At Politics

Jan 15, 2013
Originally published on January 15, 2013 7:54 pm

Another member of the Bush family is throwing his hat into the political ring: George Prescott Bush, 36, the son of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, has announced he is running for office in Texas.

The Bush name is still strong in the Lone Star State: George P. has already raised nearly $1.4 million, though he still hasn't said which statewide office he will run for.

At the age of 12, Bush led the Pledge of Allegiance before the 1988 Republican National Convention, when his grandfather George H.W. Bush was nominated.

Now he's grown up and campaigning for himself.

"I think more than anything else, it's the values that the party stands for — whether it's on questions of life, or questions of marriage," he said recently in South Texas.

But being the fourth generation of politicians has its pluses and its minuses.

"Having the Bush last name, you know, will be a double-edged sword," says Steve Munisteri, the chairman of the Texas GOP. "It certainly gives him instant credibility. He'll have a network of not only fundraisers but political advisers that can help guide him. The negative is that there are some people that will judge him by what their opinion is of his uncle [President George W. Bush] or his grandfather or his father."

For some conservatives, the Bush legacy is one of broken promises: "Read my lips: no new taxes" and big government spending. After George W. Bush's two terms as president, the rallying cry for the Republican Party was that it was time to get back to conservative values — implying the president had strayed.

Perhaps with that in mind, George P. Bush has staked out his political territory with the right wing of the Texas GOP, supporting Tea Party candidates.

"I know him. I know he's a solid conservative. He supported Ted Cruz in the most recent primary," Munisteri says, referring to the Texas Tea Party favorite who just cruised to victory to the U.S. Senate. "And I think that that decision on his part to be an early supporter of Ted Cruz will go a long way to assuring those of our party members in our conservative base that he certainly is a solid conservative himself."

With the Bush name and the dominant Republican Party position in Texas, the young Bush can pretty much name his office and start picking out the drapes.

Well, perhaps not Rick Perry's governor's office, but he's looking at Texas land commissioner and Texas attorney general.

"If he wants to be land commissioner, I think it's his for the taking," says Mark Jones, the chairman of the political science department at Rice University. "There's also, though, a very good chance that he could run for attorney general. In the event that Attorney General Greg Abbott decides to go for the governor's spot or for the lieutenant governor's spot, that would open up the position of attorney general."

George P. Bush is half Hispanic — his mother is from Mexico. Running for statewide office, that's not expected to come into play. Bush won't need the Hispanic vote to win in Texas.

But down the road, who knows? The young Bush, along with Sens. Cruz and Marco Rubio, could be part of the new face of the Republican Party.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Now to an American political dynasty that's getting larger. Another member of the Bush family is throwing his hat into the ring. George Prescott Bush has announced he's running for office in Texas. He is the 36-year-old son of former Florida Governor Jeb Bush.

As NPR's Wade Goodwyn reports, the Bush name is still strong in Texas. George P. has already raised nearly $1.4 million but he still hasn't said which statewide office he's seeking.

WADE GOODWYN, BYLINE: Growing up a Bush is a little different than growing up you or me. At the age of 12 years old, George Prescott Bush led the Pledge of Allegiance before the 1988 Republican National Convention, when his grandfather, Bush 41, was nominated.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED AUDIO)

GEORGE PRESCOTT BUSH: I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America.

GOODWYN: Now he's all grown up and campaigning for himself. Here he is in south Texas laying some groundwork.

BUSH: I think more than anything else, it's the values that the party stands for, whether it's on questions of life or questions of marriage.

GOODWYN: But being the fourth generation of politicians has its pluses and its minuses.

STEVE MUNISTERI: Well, having the Bush last name, you know, will be a double-edged sword.

GOODWYN: Steve Munisteri is the chairman of the Texas GOP.

MUNISTERI: It certainly gives him instant credibility. He'll have a network of not only fundraisers but political advisers that can help guide him. The negative is that there are some people that will judge him by what their opinion is of his uncle or his grandfather or his father.

GOODWYN: For some conservatives, the Bush legacy is one of broken promises: Read my lips, no new taxes and big government spending. After George W. Bush's two terms, the rallying cry for the Republican Party was that it was time to get back to conservative values, implying the president had strayed.

Perhaps with that in mind, George P. Bush has staked out his political territory with the right wing of the Texas GOP, supporting Tea Party candidates.

Again, Steve Munisteri.

MUNISTERI: I know him. I know he's a solid conservative. He supported Ted Cruz in the most recent primary. And I think that that decision on his part to be an early supporter of Ted Cruz will go a long way into assuring those of our party members and our conservative base that he certainly is a solid conservative himself.

GOODWYN: Ted Cruz is the Texas Tea Party favorite who just cruised to victory in the U.S. Senate.

With the Bush name and the dominant Republican Party position in Texas, the young Bush can pretty much name his office and start picking out the drapes. Well, perhaps not Rick Perry's governor's office, but he's looking at Texas land commissioner and Texas attorney general.

Mark Jones is the chairman of the political science department at Rice University.

MARK JONES: If he wants to be land commissioner, I think it's his for the taking. There's also, though, a very good chance that he could run for attorney general. In the event that Attorney General Greg Abbott decides to go for the governor's spot or for the lieutenant governor's spot, that would open up the position of attorney general.

GOODWYN: George P. Bush is half Hispanic; his mother is from Mexico. Running for statewide office, that's not expected to come into play. Bush won't need the Hispanic vote to win in Texas. But down the road, who knows? The young Bush, along with Senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, could be part of the new face of the Republican Party.

Wade Goodwyn, NPR News, Dallas. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.