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By Jwilkes from Eyes on Obama:

Love them or hate them, the Bushes are one of the most significant political families in American history, enduring for close to a century at the highest levels of government. Don't be fooled into thinking that relative unpopularity for one of its own today will spell the end of the family line. A look at what- and who- is to come for the Bushes.

The American experiment began as one of the only lasting governmental structures in modern history to eschew the politics of familial lineage for a system based strictly on popular election.  And yet, throughout US history, a number of families have risen to power a number of times, with each successive generation building upon the power and influence of the last.

Following in the footsteps of the Adams, Harrisons, Udalls, and Roosevelts, the Bush family tree is one of the most significant in American history.  Not only has it endured close to a century of rough and tumble politics, it has maintained its position at the very highest levels of government, boasting senators, governors, vice presidents, and presidents.

The family that began in New England and migrated south to become one of the most prominent houses in Texas society is at what some might see as its apex- two presidencies and two governorships in the past 20 years alone.  But the emerging sons of the House of Bush may prove over the next decade or so that the prominence of its dynasty is far from over.

The Past

The Bush family tradition is one of the longest and most extensive of any in American history, rivaled in modern history only perhaps by the Kennedys on the other side of the aisle.

Paternally, the direct Bush line begins in the 1930's with Samuel Bush, a close advisor to President Herbert Hoover.  His son, Senator Preston Bush represented Connecticut for just over a decade.  The next generation featured, among others, George H.W. Bush, who built upon the family's existing political ties, rising from Congressman, to Ambassador, to national party chair, to CIA director, to vice president, and finally the President of the United States in a political career that spanned over 20 years.

Indirectly, the Bushes trace their heritage back beyond the turn of the 20th century.  Genealogists connect the Bushes to as many as 13 other presidents.  With the marriage of George H.W. to Barbara Pierce Bush, the family added a connection to the 14th U.S. President, Franklin Pierce.

The Present

Though recent years have been difficult ones for the popularity of the Bush name, a political family is nothing if not resilient.  The relative unpopularity of a single member may indeed be potentially damaging in the short run.  However, time and circumstance have proven to be mitigating factors in the past.  In the long run, what's most likely is that the bevy of resources and persistence to maintain the status of political power will drive the Bush family into the hunt for the nation's highest offices again.

The Future

Certainly, the next four to eight years are most likely off-limits.  But what happens in the years that follow the departure of George W. from Pennsylvania Avenue in 2008 may very well set the stage for the next crop of Bush leaders.

If John McCain's bid for the White House is ultimately successful, and if the current GOP nominee is popular two or four years into his tenure, a House, Senate, or gubernatorial candidate with the surname of Bush may fare rather well, particularly with the backing of the man who came up just shy of the GOP nomination in 2000.  The same might be said if Barack Obama ends up in the Oval Office, and experiences any kind of a rough patch.  Moreover, if Democrats lose their grip on the Congress, a Bush seeking a legislative seat in the federal government might find success.

The question before the Bushes is not whether it will continue on, but rather which of its members will carry forward its legacy.  There is no shortage of candidates eager to receive the family torch.

Jeb Bush

John Ellis "Jeb" Bush is the only member of the third generation of Bushes to even approach the success of George W.  He left the governor's mansion in Florida with an approval rating of 56% in a state with more registered Democrats than Republicans.  During his tenure, he made considerable inroads with a number of new groups outside the traditional bloc of the Republican rank-and-file.  He took decisive steps toward establishing and fostering free trade agreements, and made education a central focus of his administration.  Plus, he made overtures to social conservatives by taking stances, for better or for worse, on controversial topics like gay rights and right-to-life issues.  In any future campaign, he'll claim not only experience, but also success in those areas.

Had his older brother managed to leave the White House with a higher approval rating, Jeb would have been a top choice for the vice presidential slot for his executive experience, name recognition, and popularity in a big swing state.  His reentry into politics will be a touchy issue.  It's doubtful that he'd pursue anything but the big prize on Pennsylvania Avenue, but because the climate for Bushes in national politics is so questionable, his future will require a great deal of planning and strategy.  And with his history and family connections, he'll have all the resources he needs to craft a formidable approach, if he chooses to pursue his political career any further at all.

George Prescott Bush

George P. just might be the Bush family's secret weapon.  The 32 year-old lawyer and real estate developer is the son of Jeb and Columba Gallo Bush.  Fluent in Spanish, he has an undergraduate degree from Rice University and a Juris Doctor from the University of Texas, and was recently commissioned as an intelligence officer in the US Navy.  He's openly expressed interest in politics, and has been outspoken on a number of hot button issues, including US policy in Central and South America.  He lives in Texas with his wife, now an attorney he met while they were both in law school.

George P.'s potential appeal is wide.  His own Hispanic background (his mother is Mexican-born) builds on the popularity already enjoyed by his uncle in Washington and father in Florida.  Plus, the active participation of both he and his father in the Catholic Church taps back into the Christian voting bloc that was so instrumental to his uncle's election.  His involvement in the GOP could be a boon to the "big tent" effort Republicans have been after for years.  Combining that with a commitment to the Reagan conservatism that carried his grandfather to the White House could be all he needs to launch a successful career.  Put it all together- an outspoken, educated, multilingual naval officer/lawyer/businessman with the strongest political ties- and you'd be blind not to see an emerging heir to the Bush legacy.  And with Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson retiring at or before the culmination of her current term in 2012, his opportunity might be just around the corner.

Henry Hager

The newest addition to the Bush family, Henry Chase Hager has political pedigree of his own.  The son of the Chairman of the Virginia GOP, Hager served as an aide to the Republican Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez, and later to Karl Rove, before marrying First Daughter Jenna Bush on May 10, 2008.

Hager might be a long shot at this point, but the M.B.A. student has spent the last several years laying down political roots of his own.  Certainly, with the influence of both his father and his father-in-law, Hager stands just as good of a chance of any to carry on the Bush line.

If you like EyesOnObama post, click here to read more of all our writers like Jwilkes' last article: Everything You Need to Know About the Final Week of the Democratic Primary

Originally posted to timran on Sat May 31, 2008 at 01:41 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Where I want to see the future of the Bush (10+ / 0-)

    political dynasty: flushed down the toilet.

  •  fuck them in the neck. nt (6+ / 0-)

    We don't have time for short-term thinking.

    by Compound F on Sat May 31, 2008 at 01:45:53 PM PDT

  •  The Bushies are to America (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    what the Capetians were to France.

  •  W was the weakest link in the chain.... (6+ / 0-)

    I happened to know a man who was the CIA liaison at the Moscow Embassy, a high position that put him in close contact with the then CIA director Poppy, George H. W. Bush.

    He once told me about Bush pere's worrying about his oldest son, who could never focus on anything and seemed destined to be a failure in life.  Of course it didn't turn out that way....or at least what a traditional failure is.  

    So if W could become President, the Ur Slacker of his generation, who among us can count out the rest of this amazing clan.  Jeb is the one with personality and political smarts.  He may pay the price for his big brother's debacle.

    But they do have the "right" stuff, that's for sure.  They will be around long after I'm gone.  

    •  unless we do something about that. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      neroden, luckylizard

      Whether or not the Bushes are around for much longer on the national scene depends on whether they can get traction for a run for office.

      About which we'all can do much.

      What we need to do is track them like detectives on the trail of gang members.

      Their every public move ought to be recorded for posterity.  Total surveillance and archiving.  Sooner or later, each of them will say something or do something that, if brought up later, can become an issue to keep them away from elected office.  

      Now it may be that one or another of 'em turns out to be a decent person and a real moderate, whose run for office shouldn't be subject to the curses of the family's history.  Fine, we can deal with that when we come to it.

      But the history and the danger are more than sufficient to make it worthwhile to have audio, video, witness accounts, court records, and everything else it will take to derail any of them who attempt to carry on the "legacy" in the manner we have seen so far.  

      •  And the sins of the father shall be .... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        neroden, edbb, luckylizard

        upon the descendants for seven generations.

        As an atheist, some of these biblical words are still remembered.  Let's be fair.  Political position really isn't genetic.

        W was exactly what his father warned against.  Dad saw neo cons has having a type of mental disease.  (but then again, he saw Atheist's in a similar light)

        But he would never have invaded Iraq, and he gave a clear cogent reason why not.  And he was fiscally responsible compared to his son.  And, of course, there was his personal bravery.  He flew his fighters in combat, as opposed to W's over Texas (when they could track him down)

        •  and now he's a MOONIE. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Go search "Bush Moon" and see what comes up.

          Yes, he was a reasonable president, and yes he was a war hero, but holy cow the man is in bed with someone who is just a click this side of Jim Jones.

          I don't follow the genes. I follow the memes.  And it's more than reasonable to keep an eye on these people, as well as anyone else who shows signs.

          Consider where we would be right now if there had been even ONE video of GWB snorting coke at a frat party.  Even ONE video.  Even ONE snort.  

  •  The Bushes will never again feature in American (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ivorybill, neroden, obiterdictum

    public life.
    Unless of course George W. is actually prosecuted, put on trial and condemned as he deserves for his crimes against humanity by the standards of Nurember = conspiring to wage and actually waging an unjustified and immoral war of aggression.

    We're shocked by a naked nipple, but not by naked aggression.

    by Lepanto on Sat May 31, 2008 at 01:47:48 PM PDT

    •  I guess it depends on what you mean (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      neroden, marykk

      by public life. The Bush family has deep connections into the highest levels of the American Power Elite. The elder Bush is--of course--part of the Carlyle Group. You want to meet your shrouded overlords? Take a look at Carlyle. The Bush Family may recede from the daily news, but their influence over all of us will reamin.

      Is that a real poncho, or is that a Sears' poncho? - Frank Zappa

      by JoesGarage on Sat May 31, 2008 at 01:55:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Oh, they'll stay in the military-industrial (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        complex, that's for sure.

        But to be perfectly honest, George H. W. Bush, the elder, was a pretty smart guy, who called Reaganomics "voodoo economics", explained why overthrowing Saddam Hussein in Iraq would cause disastrous chaos, and attempted, with some success, to govern in a vaguely competent manner.

        W destroyed that legacy of competence.  He has tainted the name so that Bush's other sons, the ones who aren't drug-addled idiots, will never be able to run for office.

        -5.63, -8.10 | Impeach, Convict, Remove & Bar from Office, Arrest, Indict, Convict, Imprison!

        by neroden on Sat May 31, 2008 at 02:25:34 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  It's going to be hard for (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    neroden, edbb

    the "NEW" Bush family members to run for office when "W" is behind bars along with half his cabinet for Crimes against Humanity.

    Just a thought.

    F*CK the Bush family.  DO you actually think we are that lame that we would let people forget about this?  His presidency will go down in history as the most destructive in the history of this country.

    Clinton insists she is winning the popular vote. She's right..only if you tally votes with the same degree of selectivity as Robert Mugabe. - Guardian UK

    by jjmn on Sat May 31, 2008 at 01:51:38 PM PDT

  •  Ordinarily the sins of the father (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ivorybill, stratocasterman

    ought not to be visited on the sons (or relatives).

    But in this case Bush himself has poisoned the family name forever. May every member of his family be eternally aware of his failure, his intransigent obtuseness, and his dishonor.

    "I cherished my hate like a badge of moral superiority." - Mark Rudd

    by Bob Love on Sat May 31, 2008 at 01:52:05 PM PDT

  •  Jeb Bush quote (6+ / 0-)

    when asked about his brother and the effect on his political future:

    "No tengo futuro"

    May that be the motto of the entire family.

    Si los pendejos volaran, no se veria el sol.

    by ivorybill on Sat May 31, 2008 at 01:58:51 PM PDT

  •  Take a long look at dumbya. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    He's the end of that entitled bunch of plutocrats.
    And good frakking riddance to a truly nasty clan.
    Argue if you want; but the same dynasty was predicted of the Kennedys.

    St. Ronnie was an asshole.

    by manwithnoname on Sat May 31, 2008 at 02:12:52 PM PDT

  •  They're all toast thanks to W. (0+ / 0-)

    They'd have to throw their brother (/father-in-law) under the bus, metaphorically, to have any chance in hell.

    Jeb must be furious.  His political career was looking really great until his idiot brother became President.

    -5.63, -8.10 | Impeach, Convict, Remove & Bar from Office, Arrest, Indict, Convict, Imprison!

    by neroden on Sat May 31, 2008 at 02:22:20 PM PDT

  •  they're on the losing side of history (0+ / 0-)

    they're part of the old boys' club that grew up around the oil and defense industries.

    They have no ties to Silicon Valley and the coming green economy. Their way of doing business will be swept away in the next twenty or so years.

  •  You forgot Dr. Vannevar Bush, the (0+ / 0-)

    White House Science Advisor for Truman and Eisenhower who wrought all manner of wickedness behind the scenes, and had more to do with inching us closer to Armageddon than any other human.

    You cant always tell what future generations will do, though. Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) was (to the GOP) the 'black sheep' of the otherwise Republican Rockefeller dynasty.  I heard there is also a Republican Kennedy around, somewhere or other...

    "Extremism in the Defense of Liberty is No Vice; Moderation, in the Pursuit of Justice is No Virtue." - AuH2O

    by Press to Digitate on Sat May 31, 2008 at 02:35:56 PM PDT

  •  And where do the the "future's" (0+ / 0-)

    resumes show any military service to this country in a war that the present brought on under dubious circumstances? The "future" is like so many current R's: talk tough but have never contributed to the war effot. How many R's and their talk radio advocates have ever complained about the lack of properly armed humvees, proper body armour, limited tours, proper medical treatment? Little to none is my guess and those are matters that are really supporting the troops.

    •  the political future of this dynasty was .... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      set up to be in the hands of george "p" bush, one of poppy bush's original "little brown ones".

      this long range plan is borne out in w's against-the-grain immigration/border policy. he steadfastly ignored the most conservative elements of his party. Why?

      the dynasty needs voters in 2020. per rove's plan, 12 million illegals from mexico would become a dependable bloc of voters (per amnesty proposals) in time to make p the third bush president.

      of course, with his uncle's difficulties since 2004, the plan isn't so obvious anymore; p has laid low. but, as part of the plan, he has even joined the military to bolster his resume ... by signing up as an intelligence officer in the naval RESERVE - cute, but doesn't that sound like a familiar dodge to stay away from the REAL fighting?

  •  George Prescott Bush (0+ / 0-)

    Named for Prescott Bush - a really wonderful guy!!

     see here

    In 1918 it is said that he robbed the grave and stole the skull of the Native American warrior Geronimo as part of an initiation into Yale's Skull and Bones Society.


    a few of the companies Prescott managed were seized under the Trading with the Enemy Act  because they were fronts for Nazi Industrialist Fritz Thyssen, a financier of Hitler's Third Reich.

    This must be one of 'our little brown babies' that I remember Barbara Bush referring to while still in the Whitehouse - always hated her!

  •  One would think (0+ / 0-)

    that we could learn from history but W has proved that we don't.  I hope that we can manage to impress upon our successors the nature of this beast (Bush family) so that it can never again infest our government.  I am not optimistic but I still hope....

    -7.62, -7.28 "We told the truth. We obeyed the law. We kept the peace." - Walter Mondale

    by luckylizard on Sat May 31, 2008 at 05:28:18 PM PDT

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