Perhaps it is unfair to heap high expectations on a political neophyte, but if you spend months discussing your political future and publicly weigh which office you intend to grace with your presence, you had better perform when you get the chance. That was the challenge facing George P. Bush on Friday when he delivered the keynote address at the Texas Legislative Conference in New Braunfels, where I participated in a panel discussion on “Post-Election Impacts on Texas.”
Bush didn’t quite measure up. His speech came across as too pat, as if it had been carefully rehearsed with a consultant. He talked about veterans issues and PTSD as well as public education. He referenced the legislative session but did not engage in policy. Although he used the word “passion” regarding education, he displayed little of that quality in his remarks. The question that lingers is whether he really does want to go into the family business, or does he feel that he has little choice? After all, as his uncle was contemplating his first race for president, he complained that he felt like a stick in a rushing river and that his destiny was not in his own hands.
Bush received a standing ovation at the end of his remarks, but I had the sense that the applause was more for the family name than for the particular individual. The lesson he should take away from his appearance is that when you raise expectations, you had better deliver on them. We’re still waiting.