Viva George P! A new Bush steps on to US political stage
Speculation is already growing that Jeb Bush's eldest son may make a bid for the White House
Stephen Foley is a former Associate Business Editor of The Independent, based in New York. He left in August 2012. In a decade at the paper, he covered personal finance, the UK stock market and the pharmaceuticals industry, and had also been the Business section's share tipster. Between arriving with three suitcases in Manhattan in January 2006 and his departure, he witnessed and reported on a great economic boom turning spectacularly to bust. In March 2009, he was named Business and Finance Journalist of the Year at the British Press Awards.
Monday 18 June 2012
Oh no, not another one! If that is the reaction of many Americans to the emergence on the political stage of another George Bush, then it isn't deterring the energetic George Prescott Bush, pictured below. Nor is it damping the speculation that this new scion of the presidential dynasty might make his own bid for the White House.
The eldest grandson of President George HW Bush – and nephew of George W – is traversing the country trying to attract a new class of young businessmen into Republicanism and fundraising on behalf of Latino candidates. It is no coincidence these are the two constituencies the party must win from Democrats and which will be crucial to any Republican candidate's presidential aspirations. In the past week, George P has popped up to support the idea his father, ex-Florida governor Jeb Bush, could be the vice-presidential running-mate for Mitt Romney, and to encourage twentysomethings to demand political leaders tackle the country's $13trn (£8.27trn) debt.
All this has raised the possibility that the US might overcome what George P once called "Bush fatigue" – particularly if the family can re-establish itself as the voice of the moderate centre of the Republican Party.
Now 36, George P is the most handsome of the Bush brood, and offers the tantalising hope of marrying a patrician heritage with a parentage reflective of the modern US. His mother, Columba, is a naturalised Mexican-American. When the first President Bush took his grandchildren to see Ronald Reagan, George P and his siblings were affectionately called "the little brown ones".
Jeb Bush conceded last week that his own moment for a presidential bid had probably passed, and said the Republican Party had swung so far to the extremes of social conservatism and Tea Party anger that it would probably no longer welcome Reagan or the first President Bush.
George P has launched an action committee called MaverickPAC to push centralist themes. "There is a perception that our generation could very well be the first generation that inherits a country in a worse condition than the generation before us ... reflected in terms of the size of the debt," he told an interviewer. "We're less focused on social questions, because of the nature of our membership being lawyers, doctors, business folks, entrepreneurs. We're looking for a limited government, a government that can rein in its spending."
Youthful indiscretions, such as a reported arrest for breaking into the home of an ex-girlfriend, are of the sort the public has forgiven before. A bigger obstacle may be the legacy of his uncle's presidency, but the family's political organisation supports him. As 16-year-old George P shouted at the Republican National Convetion two decades ago: "Viva Bush!"
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