Mike Kueber's Blog

January 16, 2013

Money in Texas politics

Filed under: Issues,People,Politics — Mike Kueber @ 7:58 pm
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A couple of weeks ago I blogged about the outsize role that money is playing in races for San Antonio’s City Council.  Today’s edition of the San Antonio Express-News has so many articles on money in Texas politics that it makes me sick:

  1. George P. Bush, about whom I blogged a few days ago, has already raised $1.35 million even though he hasn’t even decided which office he will run for.  Because Texas has no limits on contributions, Bush was able to collect $50,000 from his dad Jeb and $50,000 from his uncle Bush-43; 449 contributions from 29 states, with 65% from TX and 26% from FL.   
  2. The Pre-K 4 SA initiative received $345,000 in contributions in the last few days before the election, mostly from HEB, and $30,000 from the Castro for Congress campaign.  The Castro contribution is shocking because that is federal money, which is limited to $2,500 per contributor.  But then again, it isn’t shocking because Joaquin Castro was not in a competitive race and therefore didn’t need the money.  And from his family’s perspective, the defeat of Pre-K 4 SA would have been devastating.   
  3. Attorney General Greg Abbott has accumulated an incredible $18 million, which some suspect is an indication that he plans to take on Governor Rick Perry, who has a mere $6 million.  Texans should wonder who is giving these people so much money, and what are these contributors expecting or receiving in return?  Incidentally, the House Speaker Strauss has $4 million and the Lt. Governor Dewhurst has a mere $2 million. 
  4. If these money articles weren’t enough, the front page of the Express-News is headlined with an article on the former deputy city manager, Pat DiGiovanni, receiving a letter of admonition for having a conflict of interest in approving a multi-million dollar contract to a business run by a person he was interviewing for a job with. 

I suddenly feel the need to take a shower.

January 14, 2013

Why is George P.G. Bush in the news again?

Filed under: People,Politics — Mike Kueber @ 6:35 pm

Two months ago, I blogged about George P.G. Bush, Jeb’s oldest son, after news reports indicated with was planning to run for state-wide office in Texas, probably for State Land Commissioner.  In my blog, I indicated that Bush seemed like a fine young man, but I was concerned that he was an aristocrat who wanted to be a career politician.

This morning’s Express-News contained an extensive Associated Press article/interview on P.G. Bush that essentially rehashed the same information.  Accompanying the article was a large photo of P.G. golfing with Bush-43.  This unfair advantage of free, favorable publicity given to political aristocrats like him is a major reason why I generally root against these guys.  

The article contained several revealing comments from P.G.:

  1. On his job experience.  “Instead, he spoke of how his past experience as an asset manager would help him manage the Permanent Schools Fund, which pays for public education and is managed by the land commissioner. He also said his perspective as an Afghanistan war veteran will help him use the post to become a leader in veterans’ affairs.”  First, his experience as an asset manager is nominal.  Second, the job of Land Commissioner has nothing to do with veterans’ affairs, but it never hurts for an American politician to gratuitously mention status as a veteran.
  2. Running for governor instead.  “Some have speculated that Bush could challenge Perry for governor — and even if he doesn’t, what Perry decides will trigger political dominos falling.  Bush suggested he’d be willing to wait his turn politically rather than immediately seeking top positions coveted by others in the state GOP.  ‘We’ve said that we want to be team players in the party, providing a younger, fresher vision for our values,’ he said in the interview Friday.”  Seriously, which non-insane person would suggest that P.G. run for governor?  Team player?  Maybe Team Bush.
  3. Hispanic takeover of Texas.  “Bush’s mother Columba is from Mexico. Conservatives view George P. Bush on the ballot as a way to solidify support among Hispanics.  A Democrat has not won statewide office in Texas since 1994, but Hispanics tend to vote overwhelmingly Democratic and accounted for two-thirds of Texas’ population growth over the last decade. Bush noted: ‘We’ll be majority Hispanic in six years.  I don’t necessarily agree with the idea that having a candidate of Hispanic origin, or someone who can speak Spanish, can automatically obtain these votes,’ Bush said of Hispanics. ‘Having said that, it’s important tactically to have candidates that understand issues of the community.’”  That sounds like talking out of both sides of the mouth or, in other words, like a politician.
  4. Discrimination against Hispanics in Texas.  “Bush’s mother has said that one of the reasons she and Jeb Bush left Texas for Florida in the 1970s was because she felt like she had experienced racism here. But George P. Bush said, ‘the way I view it, rather than an issue of discomfort, is economic opportunity.’    He said he didn’t think there was more intolerance toward Hispanics in Texas.  ‘Obviously, I think that issue exists wherever you go.  I don’t think it’s just unique here.” “  Huh, what does discomfort have to do with economic opportunity?  Columba’s comment sounds like Michelle Obama saying she had never been proud of America until it elected her husband?
  5. P.G. as an undeserving aristocrat?  “Bush said of trying to stand out among his famous political family, ‘It’s always been the thing of my grandmother to say, ‘Go out and make a name for yourself’ and that’s something that I’ve followed.’”  As I pointed out in my previous blog posting, Barbara Bush actually said, “Make a name for yourself, have a family, marry someone great, have some kids, buy a house, pay taxes, and do the things everyone also does instead of just running out and saying, ‘Hey, I’m the nephew of or the son of or the grandson of…‘.” 

Unfortunately, P.G. has decided to ignore Barbara’s sage advice.

November 13, 2012

George P.G. Bush

Filed under: Biography,People,Politics — Mike Kueber @ 12:57 am
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A Facebook friend of mine (Randy Bear) recently blogged about Texas rising star George P. Bush.  Actually it is more accurate to say George P.G. Bush because his full legal name is George Prescott Garnica Bush.  (While Prescott comes from his dad’s family, Garnica comes from his mom’s.)  Bush is in the news because he recently filed a Treasurer-naming document that is required in Texas before potential state or local candidates can start raising or spending money. 

For those not familiar with P.G., he is the oldest child of Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor who was recently listed by Time magazine as a Republican presidential frontrunner for 2016.  Jeb’s claim to fame, other than his family name, is his moderation on the immigration issue (he is married to a naturalized citizen from Mexico) and his heavy involvement in education reform. 

P.G.’s claim to fame, other than being Jeb’s eldest, is being a poster child for bringing Mexican-Americans under the Republican tent.  This poster-child role started in 1988, at the age of 12, when he spoke at the Republican convention that nominated his grandfather – Bush-41 – and he reprised the role in 1992.  Then in 2000 and 2004, P.G. campaigned for Bush-43, who unsuccessfully pushed much harder than President Obama for illegal immigrants to have a path to citizenship.  That probably explains why Bush-43 was able to garner up to 40% of the Hispanic vote.

I have two problems with George P.G. Bush – (1) he has minimal experience in the private economy (i.e., he wants to be a career politician), and (2) he is a part of the political aristocracy.  America is better served by politicians who can relate to the middle class. 

Someone who apparently agrees with me on this matter is none other than Barbara Bush.  According to Wikipedia, she provided P.G. with the following advice a few years ago:

  • Anyone thinking about entering politics should distinguish himself in some other field first: “Make a name for yourself, have a family, marry someone great, have some kids, buy a house, pay taxes, and do the things everyone also does instead of just running out and saying, ‘Hey, I’m the nephew of or the son of or the grandson of…‘.”

I couldn’t have said it better.  Although P.G. seems like a fine person with a strong education and commendable military service in his background, I don’t think his brief work in corporate law followed by a partnership in an Austin real estate investment company and a Fort Worth business consultancy (none of which has experienced any significant success) satisfies Barbara’s criteria.  But you can’t blame him for being impatient; Obama was, too, and look what happened to him.