I love Barbara Bush. It was that glorious silver-haired dowager who spoke for all decent Americans when she opined in August 2013 that "we've had enough Bushes." This brutally honest assessment of her son Jeb's nascent presidential campaign was one with which the citizens of this republic happened to agree.
It is difficult to see why the former first lady is the only member of her clan wise enough to recognize the obvious wisdom here. Perhaps it is because she has a life outside politics, a charming dream kingdom of crime novels, dogs, pearls, and grandchildren.
In any case, I wish her grandson would take heed. George P. Bush, Jeb's oldest child, is currently running for re-election as the Texas state land commissioner. Taking a leaf out of his old man's book, he is trying to buy it. Recall that in his pathetically ill-fated campaign Jeb spent more than $150 million, including untold amounts on miniature turtles that even small children mocked. He came in sixth in Iowa, two spots below the candidate who made his attempt to stab his own mother a regular talking point; then fourth in New Hampshire; then fourth in South Carolina despite (or perhaps because of) a handful of campaign stops with his brother. Then he dropped out, to the surprise of zero living persons.
According to The Guardian, George P. is spending around $2 million a month on his land commissioner race. How is that even possible? Do people put up yard signs and have bumper stickers for something like this? Do they run primetime commercials? Where could all that cash possibly be going? More to the point, why? There are some offices that you insult yourself by trying too hard to win. Expending a small fortune in a bid to continue serving as the head of the Texas General Land Office is like offering bribes to be elected prom king. It's supposed to be something you get because you are qualified. If you've done it for four years and have a challenger in your own party, it's probably a signal that the public no longer requires your services. Bow out graciously.
This ludicrous election comes in the middle of a slow but so far moderately successful attempt at rehabilitating the legacy of his uncle, former President George W. Bush. Only a few years ago in those stupid polls released by groups of historians, Dubya was rightly considered one of the most spectacular failures ever to inhabit the Oval Office. Recently he has climbed to somewhere near the middle ranks, just below Rutherford B. Hayes of blessed memory. Polling suggests that he is viewed favorably by more than 60 percent of Americans, including a majority of Democrats. Whatever happened to NO BLOOD FOR OIL and all that? Apparently you can turn multiple countries into piles of rubble in the pursuit of non-existent nuclear weapons and a terrorist leader you never end up catching, institutionalize torture and the use of secret prisons, attempt to sell Social Security to Wall Street, set the entire economy on fire and offer fire extinguishers only to the nation's largest and greediest financial institutions, and still achieve a roughly Chester Arthur level of goodness in the eyes of your contemporaries as long as you are not rude on Twitter.
It is worth pointing out that his father's tenure in the same office was far more successful. Indeed, George H.W. Bush is almost certainly our greatest living president, a man who superintended the end of the Cold War with sobriety and cool intelligence. Every day that you wake up in a world in which Uzbekistan is not a nuclear power you have Bush the Elder and his secretary of state Jim Baker to thank for it. Unfortunately it would seem to be the case that in his old age Bush 41 has become an incorrigible pervert. Before him, Sen. Prescott Bush (R-Conn.) was an unabashed proponent of eugenics whose support for Planned Parenthood disgusted the good people of Connecticut.
So there you have it. An advocate of mandatory sterilization of the "unfit," an ageless monomaniacal groper, the guy who basically destroyed the Middle East before trying to turn the social safety net into a commercial fishing operation, a nerd whose own mom didn't want him to be president, and the dork spending roughly twice the cost of having your own island in Belize in the hope of being able to make decisions about grazing rights in the Lone Star State. What is this family, and why did we ever think it would be a good idea to let them control the destinies of multiple generations of the American people?
Thank goodness it looks as if George P.'s re-election bid is not going to be successful. Republican primary voters in red states are, oddly enough, the only sizable group of Americans who do not think much of the Bush legacy. "I think we're going to have him in a runoff and then no matter how much money he has, he's toast," his rival, a gun-toting amateur historian named Jerry Patterson, told The Guardian.
Listen to your beautiful and intelligent grandmother, Commissioner Bush. Texas, and the nation, have at long last had enough of your family.