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Heads Up: Another Member of THAT Family Waiting in the Wings

Com­ment: Against the back­ground of six hours of inter­views on the sub­ject of Russ Bak­er’s remark­able recent book Fam­i­ly of Secrets, it is worth con­tem­plat­ing the pos­si­bil­i­ty that Jeb Bush might attempt to per­pet­u­ate the Bush fam­i­ly’s polit­i­cal dynasty. Con­cerned cit­i­zens should care­ful­ly weigh the Bush polit­i­cal machine and its legacy–so amply illus­trat­ed by Russ Baker–and its poten­tial exten­sion by Jeb.

“The Bush Revival: How Jeb, Rove, Gille­spie Are Lead­ing the GOP Again” by Sam Stein; Huff­in­g­ton Post; 7/15/2010.

Excerpt: Simon Rosen­berg is the most bull­ish of Demo­c­ra­t­ic strate­gists. The for­mer Clin­ton admin­is­tra­tion offi­cial and head of the young non-prof­it group NDN has been the chief pro­po­nent of the belief that Barack Oba­ma’s elec­tion pro­duced the oppor­tu­ni­ty for a “30-to-40-year era of Demo­c­ra­t­ic dom­i­nance.” A spe­cial­ist in the polit­i­cal habits of dif­fer­ent demo­graph­ic groups (specif­i­cal­ly His­pan­ics), he insists that, absent a dras­tic makeover, the GOP risks cement­ing itself “as irrel­e­vant to the 21st cen­tu­ry.”

Sag­ging poll num­bers and pol­i­cy set­backs have done lit­tle to dis­suade these rosy prog­nos­ti­ca­tions. There’s only one thing that makes Rosen­berg ner­vous: anoth­er Bush.

“Jeb [Bush] is mar­ried to a Lati­na, is flu­ent in Span­ish, speaks on Uni­vi­sion as a com­men­ta­tor, his Span­ish is that good,” Rosen­berg said of the for­mer Flori­da gov­er­nor and broth­er to the 43rd pres­i­dent dur­ing a lunch at NDN head­quar­ters last week. “And if you look at the elec­toral map in 2012, you have to assume that Oba­ma is going to have a very hard time in hold­ing North Car­oli­na and Vir­ginia. The indus­tri­al Mid­west, where the auto decline has been huge, has weak­ened Oba­ma’s num­bers... a great deal. So Ohio, Michi­gan, Indi­ana and Wis­con­sin become a bit more wob­bly. So if you’re Barack Oba­ma, the fire­wall is the Latin belt from Flori­da to south­west­ern Cal­i­for­nia. And there is only one Repub­li­can who can break through that fire­wall. And it is Jeb.”

Such a sen­ti­ment, Rosen­berg admits, car­ries a slight hint of hys­te­ria. After all, there is a good chunk of the coun­try that recoils at the idea of anoth­er pol with the Bush sur­name. But that chunk has begun nar­row­ing. And even with­in Demo­c­ra­t­ic cir­cles, there is an emerg­ing belief that in a Repub­li­can Par­ty filled with base-pleas­ing dra­ma­tiz­ers or bland con­ser­v­a­tives, Jeb stands out. . . .



10 comments for “Heads Up: Another Member of THAT Family Waiting in the Wings”

  1. They’re Baaaaack...

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | February 11, 2012, 6:59 pm
  2. I used to be a con­ser­v­a­tive”:

    Repub­li­cans seek Jeb Bush can­di­da­cy

    Pub­lished: March. 1, 2012 at 11:31 AM

    WASHINGTON, March 1 (UPI) — Some Repub­li­cans are hop­ing for­mer Flori­da Gov. Jeb Bush enters the pres­i­den­tial race, say­ing he has the minor­i­ty sup­port Mitt Rom­ney and Rick San­to­rum lack.


    Bush con­tin­ues to win praise, despite declin­ing to run in the 2012 race. “I have the per­fect can­di­date — Jeb Bush. But he’s not run­ning,” Andy Card, who was chief of staff for Pres­i­dent George W. Bush, told CBS Wednes­day.

    Jeb Bush’s crit­i­cisms of Rom­ney have won the atten­tion of con­ser­v­a­tive pun­dit Ann Coul­ter and offi­cials with Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma’s re-elec­tion cam­paign, who sus­pect he may be gear­ing up to launch a cam­paign of his own.

    Bush told audi­ences at a gath­er­ing in Dal­las last Thurs­day, he hopes the can­di­dates’ approach­es will change by the gen­er­al elec­tion.

    I used to be a con­ser­v­a­tive and I watch these debates and I’m won­der­ing, I don’t think I’ve changed but it’s a lit­tle trou­bling some­times when peo­ple are appeal­ing to peo­ple’s fears and emo­tion rather than try­ing to get them to look over the hori­zon for a broad­er per­spec­tive,” he said.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | March 1, 2012, 9:51 am
  3. @Pterrafractyl, on top of things as usu­al.
    Imag­ine Jeb Bush emerg­ing out of the Repub­li­con con­ven­tion as the nom­i­nee play­ing out under the “Taqqiya Sun­rise” sce­nario out­lined in FTR #735 & 736. Octo­ber Surprise,anyone? The Bush team would pre­sum­able have inside info that it could use to mes­sage as one step ahead of Oba­ma on for­eign pol­i­cy.
    Is it just me, or are events in the MidEast play­ing out very much like Dave Emory pro­ject­ed in FTR #735 “Bay of Pigs Meets the Octo­ber Sur­prise: Lee Har­vey Oba­ma and the Pig­gy Back Coup in the Mid­dle East”? When Dave is right—as he often seems to be—it’s gen­er­al­ly not good news.

    Posted by GrumpusRex | March 1, 2012, 11:47 am
  4. @Grumpusrex: It’s sur­re­al to see anoth­er Bush pres­i­den­cy emerg­ing as the thing that could save the GOP brand from the “dan­ger­ous extrem­ist” label its flirt­ing with in this pri­ma­ry sea­son, and yet here we are. And there’s no rul­ing out an “Amer­i­can’s Elect” stunt either. A 3rd par­ty run could end up peel­ing more off from Oba­ma than the GOP, espe­cial­ly with the shiny new ex-con­ser­v­a­tive Jeb lead­ing the tick­et. There are so many strate­gic objec­tives that could be simul­ta­ne­ous­ly car­ried out with a Jeb Bush run that the phrase “killing two birds with one stone” does­n’t quite cut it (A more aggres­sive type of metaphor­i­cal­ly imagery might be nec­es­sary).

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | March 1, 2012, 2:56 pm
  5. By the way, any­one hear about the death of Andrew Bre­it­bart?


    This should be an inter­est­ing show for Dave to do when­ev­er he can get back on WFMU. =)

    Posted by Steven L. | March 1, 2012, 10:34 pm
  6. @Steven L
    It’s my per­son­al spec­u­la­tion from observ­ing Mr. Bre­it­bart at press con­fer­ences and inter­views that he may have been a coke­head of some sort, and that this may have con­tributed to his ear­ly death. I have no evi­dence to sup­port this the­o­ry oth­er than my own gut feel­ings. He exhib­it­ed that inor­di­nate amount of blus­ter, aggres­sion, and high self regard that is char­ac­ter­is­tic of users of that drug.

    Posted by GrumpusRex | March 2, 2012, 7:16 am
  7. @GrumpusRex: Fur­ther inves­ti­ga­tion into pos­si­ble drug habits would cer­tain­ly be inter­est­ing.

    Posted by Steven L. | March 2, 2012, 4:42 pm
  8. Oh Mit­tens, we hard­ly knew ye:

    Busi­ness Insid­er
    Jeb Bush May Have Just Pushed Mitt Rom­ney Out Of The 2016 Race
    Hunter Walk­er Pol­i­tics Dec. 17, 2014, 5:41 AM

    With for­mer Flori­da Gov. Jeb Bush ® offi­cial­ly begin­ning prepa­ra­tions for a poten­tial 2016 pres­i­den­tial bid, it may mean the GOP’s last nom­i­nee, Mitt Rom­ney, is out of the race.

    Hours after Bush announced his inten­tion to “active­ly explore the pos­si­bil­i­ty of run­ning for Pres­i­dent of the Unit­ed States” on Tues­day morn­ing, Fox Busi­ness Net­work Senior Cor­re­spon­dent Charles Gas­pari­no report­ed the ex-Flori­da gov­er­nor was also telling fund-rais­ers there would be no bat­tle between him and Rom­ney.

    Sources tell @FoxBusiness that @JebBush assur­ing GOP fundrais­ers will be NO FACE OFF between he and @MittRomney its either one or the oth­er— Charles Gas­pari­no (@CGasparino) Decem­ber 16, 2014

    Gas­pari­no also inter­viewed one of Romney’s biggest donors, hedge fun­der Antho­ny Scara­muc­ci. In that inter­view, Scara­muc­ci indi­cat­ed Rom­ney is unlike­ly to enter the pres­i­den­tial race if Bush offi­cial­ly launch­es a bid. Both Bush and Rom­ney are rel­a­tive­ly mod­er­ate Repub­li­cans who would like­ly com­pete for many of the same vot­ers and donors.

    “If he does announce, my guess is that Gov. Rom­ney will not run,” Scara­muc­ci said. “I’m a Rom­ney guy. I do not think Romney’s going to run.”

    Scara­muc­ci also not­ed he does not “think Jeb would be mak­ing this announce­ment if he didn’t see him­self being the estab­lish­ment front-run­ner.”

    In addi­tion to offi­cial­ly express­ing his inter­est in the race on Tues­day, Bush announced his inten­tion to form a lead­er­ship PAC. That com­mit­tee will allow him to raise up to $5,000 for him­self and oth­er indi­vid­ual can­di­dates. More impor­tant­ly it will per­mit him to hire a staff and pay for trav­el around the coun­try, cru­cial for any nation­al cam­paign.

    Pri­or to Bush’s announce­ment, Rom­ney, whose spokes­peo­ple did not imme­di­ate­ly respond to a request for com­ment on this sto­ry, seemed to be con­sid­er­ing mount­ing anoth­er cam­paign.

    In Octo­ber, The Wash­ing­ton Post report­ed there had been a “flur­ry of behind-the-scenes activ­i­ty” that Romney’s “friends” said made him “more seri­ous­ly con­sid­er” run­ning again. This includ­ed meet­ings with donors and “sup­port­ers in key states.” Rom­ney also cam­paigned for Repub­li­can can­di­dates around the coun­try ahead of November’s midterm elec­tions.

    Ear­li­er this month, Rom­ney met with some of his key donors in New York. A source who attend­ed those meet­ings told Busi­ness Insid­er they left with the impres­sion Rom­ney would run in 2016.

    How­ev­er, despite show­ing some inter­est, Rom­ney and his fam­i­ly have also indi­cat­ed Bush could keep him out of the race. In a a Sep­tem­ber inter­view, Romney’s wife, Ann, indi­cat­ed he would be dis­cour­aged from run­ning if Bush was in the mix.

    Short­ly after Bush’s announce­ment Tues­day, Wash­ing­ton Post polit­i­cal reporter Dan Balz also tweet­ed about a con­ver­sa­tion he had with Rom­ney about the 2012 pres­i­den­tial con­test. Accord­ing to Balz, Rom­ney said he may not have entered that race if Bush was in the mix. Rom­ney also report­ed­ly spec­u­lat­ed Bush would have had a bet­ter chance of beat­ing a Demo­c­rat than he would.

    Well, that set­tles it. Based on those above com­ments and quotes it sounds like it’s a done deal: Jeb just pushed Mit­tens out of the 2016 spot­light, although he’ll nev­er be pushed out of our hearts. Or, at least, GOP pri­ma­ry vot­ers’ hearts:

    TPM Livewire
    Poll Of GOP­ers: Jeb Bush Leads 2016 Field With­out Rom­ney

    By Daniel Strauss
    Pub­lished Decem­ber 16, 2014, 2:58 PM EST

    On the same day that for­mer Flori­da Gov. Jeb Bush ® announced that “active­ly” explor­ing run­ning for pres­i­dent in 2016, a new Wash­ing­ton Post-ABC News poll of Repub­li­cans and Repub­li­can-lean­ing Inde­pen­dents said that Bush leads the poten­tial Repub­li­can pri­ma­ry field if Mitt Rom­ney does­n’t run.

    The poll found that, with­out Rom­ney, Bush gets 15 per­cent fol­lowed by Sen. Rand Paul (R‑KY) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R‑WI) with 10 per­cent each.

    But in a field in which Rom­ney did run, Bush is in sec­ond. The poll found Rom­ney with 20 per­cent fol­lowed by Bush with 10 per­cent, Paul with 9, then Ryan with 8, and then Sen. Ted Cruz (R‑TX) with 7 per­cent. Not a sin­gle name left on the list gets more than 6 per­cent.


    So if some­thing hap­pens to Rom­ney that caus­es him to def­i­nite­ly not run again Jeb would be in the undis­put­ed GOP pri­ma­ry leader?

    Let’s hope Rafal­ca’s sta­ble has a good secu­ri­ty sys­tem.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | December 17, 2014, 2:49 pm
  9. It’s gen­er­al­ly assumed that if Greece drops the euro it will revert back on the drach­ma. But keep in mind that there’s noth­ing stop­ping Greece from pow­er­ing itself with the mag­ic of Bit­coins:

    Greek Reporter
    Yanis Varo­ufakis: “Greece Will Adopt the Bit­coin If Eurogroup Doesn’t Give Us a Deal”

    by Anas­ta­sios Papa­pos­tolou — Apr 1, 2015

    While Greece’s lenders are push­ing the Greek gov­ern­ment to accept their terms in order to allo­cate funds so the coun­try will not go bank­rupt, Greek Finance Min­is­ter Yanis Varo­ufakis seems to have anoth­er ace up his sleeve. The sec­ond top thinker in the world accord­ing to prospect mag­a­zine sur­prised even his clos­est aides at a secret meet­ing when he said “We ‘ve had enough, we ‘ll run on Bit­coin.”

    Sources very closed to Greece’s min­is­ter of finance told Greek Reporter that today Yanis Varo­ufakis held a top secret meet­ing with high-rank­ing finance min­istry offi­cials to pre­pare them in case nego­ti­a­tions at the upcom­ing Eurogroup fail. The anony­mous source not­ed that every­body in the room was star­ing at each oth­er when Varo­ufakis – also a promi­nent blog­ger – said “We ‘ll go to Bit­coin, we will be ahead of all the world economies and although it may be painful in the begin­ning, Greece’s econ­o­my will thrive in the long term.”

    The Greek Finance Min­is­ter went on to explain what is the cryp­tocur­ren­cy and how it will be imple­ment­ed into Greeks’ day to day life by using a spe­cial mini com­put­er­ized card with a chip. All cit­i­zens will car­ry the card as an elec­tron­ic wal­let. The card will be dis­trib­uted for free to all Greek cit­i­zens via the local tax offices but it will also be avail­able for pur­chase at the country’s entry points for 45 euros, or 0,20 Bit­coin each. The sale of the card to tourists is expect­ed to be anoth­er form of rev­enue for cash-strapped Greece.

    “This is the smartest move to beat cor­rup­tion and tax eva­sion, all trans­ac­tions will be record­ed to the Greek Min­istry of Finance new secure and ded­i­cat­ed Bit­coin servers and we ‘ll be able to track tran­sanc­tions at any giv­en moment,” said Varo­ufakis defend­ing his deci­sion.

    Many offi­cials object­ed say­ing that Greece doesn’t have the knowhow to start such a glob­al move­ment but the Greek Finance Min­is­ter said that he does what the Ancient Greeks would do in his posi­tion – and that is: be the future!

    “As Greeks we are inno­va­tors, look at our his­to­ry,” exclaimed Varo­ufakis who added “The first com­put­er was used in Greece, the mech­a­nism of Antikythi­ra, nobody knew what we were start­ing then.”

    “The future starts in Greece and we will be the first coun­try to use the cur­ren­cy of the future, a cur­ren­cy that doesn’t allow third par­ties to tell us what to do or how to live, this is the Greek thing to do,” said the Greek min­is­ter.

    Bit­coin uses peer-to-peer tech­nol­o­gy to oper­ate with no cen­tral author­i­ty or banks; man­ag­ing trans­ac­tions and the issu­ing of bit­coins is car­ried out col­lec­tive­ly by the net­work. Bit­coin is open-source; its design is pub­lic, nobody owns or con­trols Bit­coin and every­one can take part while it can be used for trans­ac­tions world­wide.

    Ear­li­er in the day Ger­man Finance Min­is­ter Wolf­gang Schaeu­ble had made state­ments putting down once again Greece’s nego­ti­a­tion efforts and this might have been the rea­son his Greek coun­ter­part held this impor­tant meet­ing today.

    “This is the way to be ahead, they want us to back up and they say we don’t have a clue on what we do, but this is the solu­tion for Greece’s future,” said Varo­ufakis accord­ing to the same high-rank­ing finance min­istry offi­cial who was present at the meet­ing.


    Accord­ing to a source close to the Greek Prime Min­ster the Finance Min­istry is plan­ning to hold free spe­cial sem­i­nars for all Greek cit­i­zens on how to use the Bit­coin. As of today a forum on the Bit­coin and its use has been set up in Greek here. It is expect­ed that the Greek Econ­o­my will be run­ning on Euro and Bit­coin simul­ta­ne­ous­ly at least for one year until all cit­i­zens get famil­iar with the use of the dig­i­tal cur­ren­cy.

    The next cru­cial Eurogroup for Greece’s future should be held in the next two weeks.

    April Fols!

    Yeah, Greece prob­a­bly isn’t going to vol­un­tar­i­ly throw itself down a defla­tion­ary death spi­ral. That’s the troika’s job.

    In oth­er eco­nom­ic fan­ta­sy-relat­ed news, here’s an April Fool’s day arti­cle about how Jeb Bush is using Glenn Hub­bard, chief archi­tect of his broth­er’s noto­ri­ous tax cuts, so the US can rely on the mag­ic of trick­le-down eco­nom­ics

    These are the Repub­li­can eco­nom­ic vet­er­ans who are advis­ing Jeb Bush

    Steve Hol­land, Anna Yukhananov and Lau­ren Tara LaCapra, Reuters
    Apr. 1, 2015, 5:36 AM

    WASHINGTON/NEW YORK (Reuters) — Glenn Hub­bard and Kevin Warsh, vet­er­an Repub­li­can eco­nom­ic pol­i­cy­mak­ers and crit­ics of the Fed’s ultra-loose mon­e­tary pol­i­cy, have emerged as top eco­nom­ic advis­ers to like­ly pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Jeb Bush, Repub­li­can sources said on Tues­day.

    Hub­bard, who served as the top White House econ­o­mist for for­mer Pres­i­dent George W. Bush, was one of the archi­tects of Bush’s tax cuts. Hub­bard also advised Mitt Rom­ney in his 2012 bid for the pres­i­den­cy and togeth­er with Warsh was moot­ed as a pos­si­ble Trea­sury sec­re­tary if Rom­ney made it to the White House.

    Hub­bard, dean of the busi­ness school at Colum­bia Uni­ver­si­ty, has close ties to finan­cial com­pa­nies, includ­ing insur­er Metlife Inc and Black­Rock Inc, the world’s largest mon­ey man­ag­er.

    Warsh served on the Fed­er­al Reserve’s Board of Gov­er­nors dur­ing the Bush years.

    Jeb Bush has been weigh­ing a pres­i­den­tial bid and is expect­ed to make a for­mal announce­ment with­in the com­ing months.

    Two Repub­li­cans famil­iar with the mat­ter con­firmed the roles of Hub­bard and Warsh. A Bush spokes­woman was not imme­di­ate­ly avail­able to com­ment.

    Hub­bard, in an emailed state­ment, would not con­firm the con­nec­tion with Bush, say­ing he was will­ing to dis­cuss eco­nom­ic poli­cies with any pres­i­den­tial con­tender, includ­ing Demo­c­rat Hillary Clin­ton.

    “I think Gov­er­nor Bush would be an excel­lent pres­i­dent, with his focus on eco­nom­ic growth, work, and oppor­tu­ni­ty. I would be hap­py to talk with any can­di­date about eco­nom­ic ideas – includ­ing Sec­re­tary Clin­ton,” he said.

    Warsh was not imme­di­ate­ly avail­able to com­ment.

    Bill Simon, a for­mer Wal-Mart chief exec­u­tive who served on Bush’s team when he was gov­er­nor of Flori­da, is assem­bling pol­i­cy experts for his prospec­tive can­di­da­cy, Repub­li­can sources said.


    Jeb Bush laid out his eco­nom­ic vision in Feb­ru­ary, say­ing he want­ed to close the “oppor­tu­ni­ty gap,” and reduce income inequal­i­ty with solu­tions that do not rely heav­i­ly on gov­ern­ment.

    Hub­bard has also called for less gov­ern­ment. He has described Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma’s sig­na­ture health care law as a job killer and oppos­es Demo­c­ra­t­ic pro­pos­als to raise the min­i­mum wage.

    He has advo­cat­ed cor­po­rate and indi­vid­ual income tax cuts and shift­ing toward con­sump­tion tax­es. He also favors expand­ed tax cred­its for the work­ing poor.

    Hub­bard has kept his Rolodex up to date since leav­ing gov­ern­ment, invit­ing cor­po­rate exec­u­tives and eco­nom­ic pol­i­cy experts to events and lec­tures at Colum­bia, accord­ing to a for­mer col­league in the Bush admin­is­tra­tion.

    But he has also come under fire for his close ties to the finan­cial world.

    In the 2010 doc­u­men­tary “Inside Job,” film­mak­er Charles Fer­gu­son ques­tioned him about his rela­tion­ships with big banks includ­ing his involve­ment with Gold­man Sachs Group Inc’s Glob­al Mar­kets Insti­tute while serv­ing as dean of the busi­ness school.

    He was also a researcher and expert wit­ness in 2012 for sub­prime mort­gage lender Coun­try­wide Inc in a law­suit over tox­ic mort­gage secu­ri­ties.

    The crit­i­cism prompt­ed Colum­bia to change its pol­i­cy to require busi­ness school pro­fes­sors to pub­licly dis­close out­side activ­i­ties that could pose a con­flict.


    Not April Fools! Also not sur­pris­ing.

    So will the US elect Jeb­by and throw itself a the trick­le-down gold­en show­er one more time? We’ll see but it was so much fun last time it will be hard to resist!

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | April 1, 2015, 11:18 am
  10. Last month, there were some rather alarm­ing reports about the video pre­sen­ta­tion make by George P. Bush, Tex­as­’s new Land Com­mis­sion­er, address­ing his agen­cy’s staffers: The agency, accord­ing to Bush, was fac­ing a threat. An inter­nal threat:

    The Texas Tri­bune
    George P. Bush: Land Office Faces Inter­nal “Threat”

    by Jim Male­witz and Neena Sati­ja
    Aug. 14, 2015

    In a wood-trimmed room packed with his employ­ees, George P. Bush spoke mat­ter-of-fact­ly of “many threats, asym­met­ric threats” swirling around the Texas Gen­er­al Land Office, the ver­sa­tile state agency he over­sees.

    But the land com­mis­sion­er, still in his first few months of office, wasn’t talk­ing about the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment or plum­met­ing oil prices.

    “The real threat, real­ly, is inter­nal­ly,” Bush said in a rough­ly three-minute address to staffers late last month, accord­ing to a video obtained by The Texas Tri­bune. “And some things that I’ve seen, along with the lead­er­ship and along with you, have to be rec­ti­fied as soon as pos­si­ble.”

    Fol­low­ing those remarks, one of Bush’s most senior staffers had even harsh­er words for the agency.

    “I don’t and won’t suf­fer indi­vid­u­als that sit on their lau­rels or count on their con­nec­tions to get by,” said Anne Idsal, Bush’s chief clerk. “No one gets or is enti­tled to get a free ride on this sled. ... Amass­ing per­son­al pow­er is out.”

    The video high­light­ed the ris­ing polit­i­cal star’s com­mit­ment to shake up the 179-year-old agency he inher­it­ed.

    Bush and Idsal out­lined a “reboot” of an agency that has gained pres­tige over the years, but has been crit­i­cized in a series of recent audits. They are lead­ing an over­haul of the agency, chang­ing salaries — mean­ing rais­es for some and cuts for oth­ers — and like­ly trim­ming its work­force.

    The land office is also con­sol­i­dat­ing its sprawl­ing net­work of divi­sions. “It’s very easy to pass the buck with a struc­ture like that,” Bush said in the video. “We need to have more abil­i­ty to hold each oth­er account­able.”

    Bush has already fired two high-lev­el offi­cials just months after tout­ing their skills and expe­ri­ence in press releas­es: Jorge Ramirez, who head­ed the coastal resilien­cy and recov­ery pro­gram, and Rene Tru­an, direc­tor of the new Per­ma­nent School Fund Income Divi­sion. Joey Lon­g­ley, the for­mer direc­tor of pro­gram man­age­ment, has also left.

    The office would not com­ment on why Ramirez and Tru­an were fired, and their ter­mi­na­tion let­ters do not spec­i­fy.

    Bush’s speech came after State Audi­tor John Keel found “sig­nif­i­cant weak­ness­es” in the Gen­er­al Land Office’s con­tract­ing process, out­lined in a report made pub­lic in late July. Oth­er inter­nal audits done in recent months have also found numer­ous prob­lems at the agency. The Tri­bune obtained those reports under open records laws.


    Many of the audit find­ings date back to the pre­vi­ous admin­is­tra­tion, led by Jer­ry Pat­ter­son, and the now-Bush-led agency said they’ve already been fixed. The gift card pro­gram has been nixed, for instance, and the agency said it wrote new con­tract­ing stan­dards in Jan­u­ary.

    Pat­ter­son bris­tles at the sug­ges­tion that the agency he led for 12 years was any­thing but com­pe­tent, not­ing that it raised $9.1 bil­lion in min­er­al wealth (which flows to the state’s Per­ma­nent School Fund) dur­ing his tenure – far more than in pre­vi­ous decades.

    “Those ‘inter­nal threats’ must’ve been doing some­thing right,” Pat­ter­son said after view­ing the video.

    His­tor­i­cal­ly, the land office has been viewed as a place to get things done. It has inher­it­ed a num­ber of tasks after goof-ups at oth­er agen­cies, includ­ing han­dling bil­lions of fed­er­al dol­lars for dis­as­ter recov­ery. The office has also tak­en over man­age­ment of the Alamo after alle­ga­tions of mis­man­age­ment by the Daugh­ters of the Repub­lic of Texas.

    On Fri­day, the land office declined to com­ment on Patterson’s admin­is­tra­tion, say­ing the shake­up mere­ly show­cased Bush’s con­ser­v­a­tive prin­ci­ples.

    “Com­mis­sion­er Bush believes in tak­ing action to shrink the cost and size of gov­ern­ment mak­ing it more effi­cient for our tax­pay­ers,” Brit­tany Eck, a spokes­woman, said in a state­ment. “In the next few months we will be mak­ing addi­tion­al announce­ments about fur­ther fis­cal effi­cien­cy ini­tia­tives and increased account­abil­i­ty mea­sures being imple­ment­ed at the GLO.”

    “I don’t and won’t suf­fer indi­vid­u­als that sit on their lau­rels or count on their con­nec­tions to get by,” said Anne Idsal, Bush’s chief clerk. “No one gets or is enti­tled to get a free ride on this sled. ... Amass­ing per­son­al pow­er is out.”

    Well, the “inter­nal threats” have appar­ent­ly been iden­ti­fied and based on Bush’s chief clerk, Anne Idsal, it sounds like those “inter­nal threats” involve the amass­ing of per­son­al pow­er. And that’s now out. Along with most of the agen­cy’s lead­er­ship staff. Hope­ful­ly George P. Bush’s cam­paign staff does a bet­ter job run­ning the agency since they’re run­ning it now:

    The Hous­ton Chron­i­cle
    George P. Bush ‘reboot’ of land office has cam­paign, fam­i­ly ties
    Many of agen­cy’s top jobs weren’t pub­licly post­ed

    By Bri­an M. Rosen­thal
    Sep­tem­ber 18, 2015 Updat­ed: Sep­tem­ber 20, 2015 4:35pm

    AUSTIN — Less than a year after being elect­ed to lead the old­est state agency in Texas, Land Com­mis­sion­er George P. Bush has dra­mat­i­cal­ly remade the Gen­er­al Land Office by oust­ing a major­i­ty of its long­time lead­ers and replac­ing many of them with peo­ple with ties to his cam­paign and fam­i­ly.

    Eleven of the top 18 offi­cials on the agen­cy’s orga­ni­za­tion­al chart a year ago have been fired, forced out or quit, and more could leave soon under an ongo­ing over­haul that Bush has described as a “reboot.”

    In their place, Bush has giv­en top jobs to two of his law school class­mates, two rel­a­tives of mem­bers of two Bush pres­i­den­tial admin­is­tra­tions and at least three oth­ers with ties to the fam­i­ly or oth­er polit­i­cal lead­ers.

    In all, Bush has hired at least 29 peo­ple who worked on his cam­paign or have polit­i­cal con­nec­tions, accord­ing to a review of thou­sands of pages of per­son­nel records. The agency did not adver­tise any of the open­ings pub­licly.

    State law requires all agen­cies con­sid­er­ing exter­nal can­di­dates for a job to post the open­ing with the Texas Work­force Com­mis­sion. New­ly elect­ed statewide offi­cials often ignore the require­ment for some core posi­tions — Attor­ney Gen­er­al Ken Pax­ton and Agri­cul­ture Com­mis­sion­er Sid Miller already have been pub­licly crit­i­cized for doing it a hand­ful of times this year — but Bush’s hir­ing dif­fers because of how far-reach­ing it has been, with the hires rang­ing from a tem­po­rary tran­si­tion direc­tor to five cam­paign vet­er­ans hired per­ma­nent­ly for the new posi­tion of “region­al out­reach coor­di­na­tor.”

    Bush made many so-called “appoint­ment hires” before even tak­ing office but has con­tin­ued them well into this year.

    The Gen­er­al Land Office did not return mes­sages seek­ing com­ment for this sto­ry. The agency, which was estab­lished in 1837, over­sees all state pub­lic lands and leas­es min­er­al rights to oil and gas com­pa­nies, gen­er­at­ing bil­lions of dol­lars for schools. Bush, a Repub­li­can, the grand­son and nephew of pres­i­dents and son of cur­rent pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Jeb Bush, was elect­ed last Novem­ber.

    Bush has said the reboot is need­ed to address “inter­nal threats,” such as over­lap­ping job duties and a lack of account­abil­i­ty, and to set an exam­ple of con­ser­v­a­tive lead­er­ship by cut­ting the agen­cy’s bud­get by 10 per­cent.

    The office also has said that most of the employ­ees under for­mer Com­mis­sion­er Jer­ry Pat­ter­son have stayed under Bush.

    Over­all, about 500 peo­ple in the agency of rough­ly 600 have stayed, accord­ing to per­son­nel records and inter­views with for­mer employ­ees. Some of the 100 depart­ed staffers have been replaced, and some have not.

    Among the agen­cy’s top lead­er­ship, how­ev­er, the changes have been more com­pre­hen­sive.

    A half-dozen of the lead­ers left just after Bush was sworn in ear­ly in Jan­u­ary. Lar­ry Laine, who as chief clerk was in charge of man­ag­ing the agen­cy’s day-to-day oper­a­tions, stepped down from the top job in May. This month, the agency oust­ed offi­cials such as gov­ern­ment rela­tions direc­tor Susan Biles and agency spokesman Jim Suy­dam.

    The changes have low­ered the aver­age tenure among the top three dozens offi­cials at the agency from 11 years to five years, accord­ing to an analy­sis of per­son­nel records.

    Of the 36 slots, just 11 are filled by the same peo­ple as when Bush was elect­ed. Ten are new to the agency and six are new to their posi­tions. Nine of the jobs cur­rent­ly are vacant.

    Pat­ter­son said the turnover has “implod­ed” the agency.

    The Repub­li­can, who held the job for 12 years, said the agency had been mak­ing record prof­its from its min­er­al lease sales and out­per­form­ing oth­er agen­cies with its invest­ments while increas­ing­ly being trust­ed with new respon­si­bil­i­ties, such as the man­age­ment of the Alamo.

    “You don’t lead by mak­ing change for the sake of change,” Pat­ter­son said. “You don’t lead by cre­at­ing an atmos­phere with all of the employ­ees are hun­kered down, wait­ing to be fired. You don’t lead by demand­ing loy­al­ty oaths. You don’t lead with week­ly purges.”

    Pat­ter­son added that the appoint­ment hires he made after Bush was elect­ed were at his suc­ces­sor’s request.

    Chap­ter 656 of Title 6B of the Texas Gov­ern­ment Code pro­hibits appoint­ments from out­side of the agency except in cas­es of reor­ga­ni­za­tion ordered by the Leg­is­la­ture.

    “Any agency, board, bureau, com­mis­sion, com­mit­tee, coun­cil, court, depart­ment, insti­tu­tion, or office in the exec­u­tive or judi­cial branch of state gov­ern­ment that has an employ­ment open­ing for which per­sons from out­side the agency will be con­sid­ered shall list the open­ing with the Texas Work­force Com­mis­sion,” the law states.

    Work­force Com­mis­sion spokes­woman Lisa Givens said she did not know who was respon­si­ble for enforc­ing that law. The com­mis­sion does not check to ensure that jobs are post­ed, she said.

    The Attor­ney Gen­er­al’s Office referred ques­tions about the law to the Work­force Com­mis­sion.

    Per­son­nel records show that Bush has direct­ed at least 40 exter­nal hires between Novem­ber 2014 and July 2015 but list­ed only four of those with the Work­force Com­mis­sion.

    The aver­age salary for those four jobs was about $65,000. The aver­age salary for the 36 jobs that were not post­ed was about $90,000.

    Ten jobs went to cam­paign aides, includ­ing tem­po­rary tran­si­tion direc­tor, Trey New­ton, who made $17,500 per month, and the five region­al out­reach coor­di­na­tors, who are mak­ing annu­al salaries of $55,000. New­ton, the cam­paign engi­neer Bush once called “our Karl Rove,” left in Jan­u­ary. He did not return a call seek­ing com­ment.


    Offer let­ters were miss­ing from 13 of the per­son­nel files reviewed by the Chron­i­cle. In cas­es when they were includ­ed, they showed that job deci­sions for unpost­ed posi­tions were made quick­ly. For exam­ple, Becky Din­nin, who had worked for the San Anto­nio Cham­ber of Com­merce, applied for Alamo Divi­sion Direc­tor on Jan. 30 and received an offer let­ter that day.

    Among the non-cam­paign-relat­ed hires with per­son­al con­nec­tions were a pair who, like Bush, grad­u­at­ed from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Texas law school in the spring of 2003: Hec­tor Valle land­ed the job of spe­cial coun­sel with a $120,000 annu­al salary, while Bri­an Carter was named head of the asset man­age­ment divi­sion, with a salary of $138,500.

    No “appoint­ment hire” has been more impor­tant than that of Anne Idsal, who was named gen­er­al coun­sel last Novem­ber and then quick­ly was pro­mot­ed to chief clerk, the top job, with a salary of about $200,000. She grad­u­at­ed law school five years ago.

    Idsal is the grand­daugh­ter of Anne Arm­strong, a for­mer ambas­sador to the Unit­ed King­dom and close advis­er to Pres­i­dent George H.W. Bush, and the daugh­ter of Katharine Arm­strong, a well-known Texas GOP donor.

    Idsal’s own résumé includ­ed a stint work­ing for U.S. Sen. John Cornyn — and an intern­ship with for Pres­i­dent George W. Bush’s re-elec­tion cam­paign in 2004.

    No per­son­al pow­er get­ting amassed here! No siree!

    Chap­ter 656 of Title 6B of the Texas Gov­ern­ment Code pro­hibits appoint­ments from out­side of the agency except in cas­es of reor­ga­ni­za­tion ordered by the Leg­is­la­ture.

    “Any agency, board, bureau, com­mis­sion, com­mit­tee, coun­cil, court, depart­ment, insti­tu­tion, or office in the exec­u­tive or judi­cial branch of state gov­ern­ment that has an employ­ment open­ing for which per­sons from out­side the agency will be con­sid­ered shall list the open­ing with the Texas Work­force Com­mis­sion,” the law states.

    Work­force Com­mis­sion spokes­woman Lisa Givens said she did not know who was respon­si­ble for enforc­ing that law. The com­mis­sion does not check to ensure that jobs are post­ed, she said.

    The Attor­ney Gen­er­al’s Office referred ques­tions about the law to the Work­force Com­mis­sion.

    Per­son­nel records show that Bush has direct­ed at least 40 exter­nal hires between Novem­ber 2014 and July 2015 but list­ed only four of those with the Work­force Com­mis­sion.

    Take that ‘inter­nal threat’! Your days are num­bered.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | September 22, 2015, 2:46 pm

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