Jeb Bush Gets A Makeover, Tries A New Stance, & Begs Barbara for Help
ADAM MICHAEL LUEBKE
edited (hastily) by Hubert Humdinger
It’s late in the campaign season for drastic shifts in strategy, and it’s just in time for the real heat of the presidential race to crank up, yet Jeb Bush’s campaign, in a last ditch attempt to make him appear more masculine and appealing overall, has realized halfheartedly that they’d set out quite a feat for themselves. For there is just not that much in their candidate to work with.
Nobody can say for sure what was or wasn’t said inside the makeshift hotel room serving as GOP presidential nominee headquarters, but my sources gave me plenty of ammunition, and I’ll release only the parts I deem relevant in this race toward the White House.
But some of my sources are sketchy characters with criminal backgrounds (petty stuff, mostly, and in the past), and I wouldn’t trust getting into a car with them. But I’ve always appreciated their generosity for dumping precious information from the political underground.
One such rumor being churned in the mill of online mouths is that the former governor’s campaign staff floated the idea of wide-stance walking (a tactic I once used in Los Angeles to varying results) to enhance, mostly subconsciously, the public’s perception of seeing a so-called ‘real man’ in Jeb Bush.
At best, the wide stance gait is used to swirl a vague mixture of pride and primal desire in both men and women without them knowing it. It’s an old tactic for political stumping, and it leaves in those who attended a weird, lingering sexual desire while feeling strangely guilty.
It seemed in at least the last debate Bush was trying a new, staggering sort of stance. A kind of bullish, ambrosial posture. Standing lanky and tall beside the other munchkins on stage, with his legs noticeably spread apart past his shoulder span to suggest, ever so subtly, that maybe he carried more, was endowed with more than most (and especially the others on stage). If anybody out there noticed, the numbers in the polls did not.
Which is not surprising. The Jeb Bush campaign has been run like a locomotive without steam or diesel. Nothing can budge that heavyweight machine down the tracks. But why? We’re a fickle society, meaning Bush’s advisers should not try to dig too deep into why their man can’t seem to break 3 percent (and that’s with a +/-3% margin).
The answer has to lie on the surface of Bush’s character, like an ugly oil slick floating on the ocean somewhere. Slippery, bloated animal carcasses keep washing ashore, but you can’t figure out why. Well, don’t try to change the whole world. It’s got to be something simple. As soon as you find it, it’s not pretty, but at least you can begin to decide how to pretend to start mopping it up, hide it, and steer public consciousness around it.
Whatever the truth, we’ll hardly know it all, but the following information does, at face value, seem accurate enough, and that’s always been sufficient for me.
Which brings us to that messy hotel room, filled with underpaid, clueless campaign staffers, eager to get back to their college classes. It wasn’t soon after the question of “Well, what the hell can we do to curb this rout in the polls?” that they decided they couldn’t do much about his face, aside from a very risky micro-cosmetic surgery session to relieve some of the more brutal stress lines around the candidate’s mouth and eyes.
Not that plastic surgery was ever really an option. Too late for cheap tricks. The surgeon came anyway, to the room where the staff sat along the edges of both beds, and set straight away eating the smoked mini-dogs and swishing around that processed garlic aftertaste with micro-brewed beer, which seemed to loosen him up enough to give in-depth insights about Bush’s very serious, but overly-lacking facial game.
What he noticed stuck in the minds of all the advisers and their low level staffers–such as the boys and girls who pop the popcorn and stir the drinks for the more seasoned political bangers.
“His grin looks like a frown,” the plastic surgeon said. “His lips are formed in such a way that he cannot smile upward, toward his cheeks, but only downward, into scowling jowls. I would fix that if I were him. But I’m not God. I can make the cuts, but I can’t make them heal overnight.”
One of those popcorn maidens spoke up at that moment. “Why don’t he grow a beard?” She’d heard some other presidential material grew a beard once and it had spawned good results for him. She wasn’t too vocal about it, but still she wanted to float it out there first before somebody else did.
It is hard to get credit being a nobody in a flailing presidential campaign. But on the bright side, it’s easy to fly beneath the radar once the blame storm begins. Nobody in their right mind will say it was the quality of the drinks that were stocked in the mini-coolers, or the peculiar brands of potato chips turning up at every staffer luncheon that tanked the whole show.
“He can’t,” said an older woman, Bush’s beauty technician. “The Good Lord didn’t endow this man with those kinds of genes required to grow a real beard.”
A comment about which the plastic surgeon would later tell his friends, and add, “What’s the most initial and striking difference between a man, compared to both children and woman? Isn’t it facial hair?”
The candidate at that point had become uneasy, a little upset, agitated. “I can, too, Martha,” Mr Bush said, bobbing his head a little, “but I’ve told, I don’t know how many times I’ve told you, it takes awhile to get them started.”
Nobody said anything back to him. The outlook was bleak. They were on the team of a bumbling candidate. He stumbled and mumbled his way through TV interviews and debates. Why couldn’t he be more solid like the other guys on the stage? And, did anybody dare to say it? Why couldn’t he be more like his brother, you know, the former president?
More people had gathered into the hotel room. The candidate sat at the edge of the bed, in front of the TV, which was muted, but showed the snarling mouths of his opponents on the campaign trail. The fast moving circles and graphics of the news channels lulled him into a blurry haze.
“He could ditch the glasses,” another staffer said. “They make his eyes look…buggy.”
Jeb Bush slumped further and let his knees fall away from each other. “I like my spectacles. I don’t like contacts. And I’ve got to be able to see when I’m out there greeting people.”
“You’ve got to quit sounding like you’re whining, governor,” an adviser said. It was such a habit with him, and they were trying to break him of it.
The plastic surgeon, who had been standing still and listening, who somehow still believed in the Bush dynasty and couldn’t sleep at night thinking about it drying up, said, “You people have got to strong-arm Barbara into campaigning.”
He shook his head and lifted a leg on the bed as he stared out at the dreadful suburban parking lot. It was nearly midnight. “We’ve got to get Mama Bush slugging away on the campaign trail. She’s from old honky-tonk. People’ll appreciate that.”
Nods of agreement went off across the room.
There is not much left to say at this point. Bush has risen slightly in the polls. But how creative can Barbara get? How hard can she hit? I’ve heard there are legions of Barbara Bush fans out there, but I’ve yet to meet one of them. Maybe they mostly stay indoors? Relegated to riding in wheel chairs and playing card games in the sickly sweet smelling dining hall after lunch. Their best years of being Bush fans behind them.
Who knows how much wind she’ll put into her son’s furled, tattered sails?
[header photo of Jeb Bush from Gage Skidmore; Bush’s test stance photo from Michael Vadon; Barbara Bush photo public domain from U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Demetrius Patton]