There will be no comeback for the Bush dynasty: journalist
For generations, the Bush dynasty was to the Republican Party what the Kennedys were to the Democratic Party: a political family that produced one major politician after another. But when George P. Bush lost a runoff primary election to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Tuesday, May 24, it was a reminder that the Bush name doesn’t have as much influence in the GOP as it once did.
Journalist Tim Murphy, in an article published by Mother Jones on May 24, emphasizes that when Republican voters in Texas had a choice between the Donald Trump-supported Paxton and a comeback for the Bush family, they went with Paxton. Murphy is vehemently critical of Paxton in his article, but he has plenty of criticism of the Bush dynasty as well.
The Bush family became a major name in U.S. politics when Wall Street investment banker Prescott Bush served in the U.S. Senate via Connecticut in the 1950s and early 1960s. His son George H.W. Bush was elected vice president in 1980 and president in 1988; his grandson George W. Bush served as governor of Texas before winning the presidential elections of 2000 and 2004. And Jeb Bush, George W. Bush’s brother, was governor of Florida.
Attorney George P. Bush is Jeb Bush’s son and Prescott Bush’s great grandson; he is the great great-grandson of businessman Samuel P. Bush, born in Orange, New Jersey in 1863. Members of the Bush family no doubt had high hopes for his campaign for Texas attorney general, but those hopes were dashed on May 24.
The Bush family’s negative “contributions” to politics, Murphy notes, include “the never-ending War on Terror; two wars with Iraq; Iran-Contra; torture; war crimes; Clarence Thomas; Samuel Alito; same-sex marriage bans; tax cuts for rich people; illegal surveillance; global warming; the AIDS epidemic in the U.S.; private equity; the Department of Homeland Security; air pollution; the Florida recount; Terri Schiavo; ‘school choice’; the bungled Hurricane Katrina response; the savings and loan scandal; the Great Recession; Willie Horton; the War on Drugs; and the Texas Rangers’ baseball stadium.”
But as much as Murphy bashes the Bush family in his article, he is even more contemptuous of Paxton. Essentially, Murphy makes an argument that the GOP, thanks to the MAGA movement, has gone from bad to worse — or from toxic to even more toxic.
“You do not have to shed any tears over George P. Bush — son of Jeb, nephew of Dubya, grandson of H.W. — face-planting in his bid to unseat Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton in Tuesday’s Republican primary runoff,” Murphy writes. “In fact, it would be weird if you did. Bush, the state’s land commissioner, has coasted through his political career on the back of his family name, and he’s now come to at least a temporary stop, in part because of it.”
Murphy continues, “But as notable as it is that the Bush dynasty is over for now, the most important story from the race is that Paxton’s own career isn’t. Paxton, who narrowly held on to his job in the 2018 Democratic wave, heads into the general election as a clear favorite against either Rochelle Garza or Joe Jaworski.”
Murphy’s article was written before the final results in Texas’ Democratic primary for state attorney general — which also went to a runoff — were in. Garza, a former attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), won, defeating fellow Democrat and former Galveston Mayor Jaworski by about 25%. On the GOP side, Paxton defeated George P. Bush by 35%. So, Garza will be taking on Paxton in the general election.
“Paxton’s biography is a sort of amalgamation of all the kinds of things that tend to cost public officials their jobs,” Murphy observes. “He has been under indictment since 2015 for alleged securities fraud. Much of his staff quit en masse in 2020 and accused him of abusing his office to help a campaign donor whose home had recently been raided by the FBI…. His lawsuit attempting to overturn the results of the 2020 election was so error-strewn and poorly argued that the state bar is now suing his deputy over it. It was also so nakedly cynical that it earned Paxton an invite to the Ellipse on January 6th.”
As vile as Paxton is, he goes into the general election with a major advantage: He is a MAGA Republican in a red state that Trump won by 6% in 2020.
“The work Paxton has done as AG — targeting trans kids; restricting abortion access; making life hell for migrants; and rallying a crowd just hours before some of its members stormed the Capitol — just aren’t deal-breakers right now,” Murphy laments. “George P. had the support of his uncle. But in the end, Paxton had the backing of the one ex-president the party still reveres.”
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