George P. Bush, son of Jeb, nephew of George W., grandson of George H. W. Bush, and prospective Texas attorney general, released a new campaign ad today, in which, yep, that sure is a George Bush all right.
Let’s take a look. The unfortunately initialed “P” Bush was last seen quietly removing a campaign endorsement from a Texas sheriff who turned up on a list of armed, right-wing anti-government militia members. Now, he’s on an ATV in rose-tinted glasses riding along a section of the border wall yelling about drug cartels.
Also, he’d like you to know he deployed to Afghanistan.
The interesting thing about George P. Bush is he really wants you to know that he’s a different kind of George Bush, not like the other George Bushes. As the Texas Tribune noted when P. Bush announced his campaign, he’s been very clear that he doesn’t share the rest of his family’s squeamishness toward Donald Trump. His campaign announcement video does not mention his family.
And yet, look at his campaign. The border wall. Immigration. Service in the Navy (reserves, as an intelligence officer, for one eight-month deployment). The War on Drugs. Sure, these are all core rhetorical platforms of the modern-day GOP, but P. Bush’s uncle W. is the one who really made them sing.
P. Bush’s website contains basic GOP boilerplate, saying he’ll immediately work to “secure our borders,” and “eliminate wasteful spending” in the name of “government accountability.” It also includes some nods to the culture war, like “fighting for survivors of human trafficking,” which is a worthy cause that has nevertheless become a sort-of gateway issue for QAnon-style conspiracies and further right-wing radicalization. Needless to say, P. Bush is adamantly pro-cop, saying he will “fight radical liberal policies and anti-police rhetoric to ensure Texas always supports our police officers.”
P. Bush is running against incumbent Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who has been embroiled in a comically long series of scandals including felony securities fraud, open records law violations, and an investigation by the Jan. 6 committee. He’s about as ripe a target for a primary as any, although P. Bush still has his work cut out for him. Trump endorsed Paxton back in July, almost certainly in return for Paxton’s leadership in a failed lawsuit seeking to overturn the 2020 election in four states and give the presidency back to Trump.
Still, the former president’s favor is nothing if not fickle: Bush has yet to be implicated in or indicted for federal crimes, which could work for or against him in Trump’s eyes. If that doesn’t work out, there’s always his immensely rich political dynasty to fall back on.