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LIFE STUDIES

the heir apparent

George P. Bush—nephew of W., son of Jeb—smooth-talks the faithful, disdains Beltway discord, and collects sacred GOP (and family) souvenirs.

George P. Bush

ranch dressingP. rides Montana at the Beaumont Ranch in Grandview, Texas. (Martin Margiela denim jacket. Dunhill flannel shirt. Calvin Klein corduroy pants.)

 

Not even a steady evening downpour keeps 400 members of the Park Cities Republican Women's club from flocking—with large Dallas-lady hair and big-as-Texas diamonds—to hear George P. Bush. "He's a rock star!" squeals club president Lisa Luby Ryan, as "P."—it stands for Prescott—gamely poses for photo ops.

After much ado, the 30-year-old nephew of President George W. and the son of Florida Governor Jeb takes the microphone, positions himself between the Lone Star and 'Murican flags, and recites a prepared fifteen-minute speech that combines GOP platitudes ("faith in God, faith in family, and faith in community"), midterm-election pep talk, and right-wing immigration boilerplate. His delivery is smooth—so smooth, in fact, that one of the husbands who has tagged along asks where, exactly, does P. stand on the status of illegal immigrants? P. parries with an endorsement of his uncle's plan, but the guy interrupts, demanding answers: What about amnesty? Green-card quotas? Citizenship? "I'm opposed to amnesty," says P., artfully sidestepping the rest and moving on. And that, folks, is how it's done.

For someone who has vowed not to run for office for another ten years, P. walks and talks like a seasoned politician in a telenovela actor's body. He is conservative in nature and nurture, and with his dynastic connections, appeal to Latino voters (his mother, Columba, is Mexican), and Pepsodent smile, this container of JFK Jr. charisma and machismo could have been genetically engineered in a GOP laboratory to win the presidency in 2028. Unlike his Tio Dubya, P. has eschewed hard living. His life history will never include a boozy, lost decade—or even a month, for that matter. After graduating from Rice University in 1998, he taught world history to Florida teens, orated at the 2000 Republican National Convention, earned his JD from the University of Texas, landed a job as a corporate securities attorney at Akin Gump, and hit the 2004 convention for an encore.

Oh, and he also got married—to Mandi Williams, a West Texan and law-school classmate. "I was just awestruck by her wit and her charm," says P., and confesses that he resorted to the mortifying tactic of passing her a note during a lecture. "I knew she was a championship golfer in high school. I said, 'Do you want to hit 'em up after class sometime?' I lost by ten strokes—she smoked me."

photo: jonas karlsson
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