This year’s convention for the Republican Party of Texas has been a lively one, having its share of notable energetic moments, not the least of which was James Dickey’s re-election over the best efforts of challenger Cindy Asche. Over the course of the next week, Texian Partisan will be recounting some of the highlights from the RPT convention, but before the current week is out, we had to comment about the convention’s reception of General Land Office Commissioner George P. Bush… It wasn’t a warm one.
At Friday’s general session, following remarks made by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, Bush, in his first big appearance since winning his primary, addressed the RPT delegates. Despite defeating three other opponents to carry his party’s standard into the general election, P. remains a deeply unpopular and controversial figure within the GOP. The small-regard with which his party seems to hold for him was on full display tonight.
Though he was initially greeted with tepid applause, once he began his speech, the groans and jeers almost immediately crept into audibility. The words with which Bush addressed the assembled (a collection of perennial, red-meat, GOP applause-lines) normally would have been well-received… had they been delivered by anyone else. However, it was Bush’s mere presence that many conventioneers found so offensive, not his words. Although he occasionally was able to get a break from some of the negative attention by invoking Trump or the governor, pretty much for his whole presentation, he was harangued by boos and rebuking calls.
“He seemed like the least-liked person at the whole convention,” said SD 12 delegate Todd Bullis, who was on-hand to witness Bush bomb. “Basically what I saw from all the constituents around me was that, instead of him talking about his accomplishments, he talked a lot about other accomplishments of other people. And every time he brought up something about the Alamo, everybody just went crazy booing him and him jeering him!”
Things actually got so bad that Bush had to pause and bemusedly ask the crowd, “I did win, right?” After Bush’s mismanagement of the Alamo and some of his other scandals (the likely source of his rejection), the delegates were probably wondering something very similar: “How did this guy win, anyway?”
In the face of humiliation, Bush awkwardly soldiered-on, trying his best to ignore the jeers, throwing out some more Trump references and invocations of conservatism. He then forecasted Republican victory in November, waved, and made his exit.
Although Bush dealt with the difficult reception fairly well, to some extent, this latest disaster did highlight the looming difficulties in store for Republicans wanting to retain this office in the fall. Bush’s unpopularity, combined with the fact his Democrat opponent seems to be running to P’s right (promising to return management of the Alamo to the Daughters of the Republic of Texas and keep the cenotaph in place), might even spell the end of this iteration of the Bush dynasty: a brand that could really use rest, anyway.