GILFORD, N.H. — Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush has responded to sagging poll numbers and a lackluster debate performance by showing up at a fundraiser with a look that reflects his “outsiderness” and “devil-may-care attitude,” says his newly appointed campaign manager, L.A. tattoo artist and former hardcore band frontman Eric Roach.
The new image is not meant to signal a shift in Bush’s overall election strategy, his staffers insist, but rather communicate that Jeb — or “Jebel,” as his supporters have been instructed to call him — has always been the Bush family rebel.
“Jebel’s the type of guy who isn’t afraid to speak his mind, even if it pisses off his old man or earns him the frosty stare of his more successful brother George,” Roach said. “Jebel might be a Bush by name, but in his heart, he’s totally rock ‘n’ roll.”
“We just inked his back with a blazing three-headed elephant, hot rod wheels instead of legs, blasting guns for trunks,” he added. “It’s gnarly.”
Sources close to the candidate have confirmed that Bush has always been rather subversive. As a teenager, he once told the headmaster at Phillips Academy that the cafeteria food “sucked private parts,” and another time he defiantly turned away from his grandfather, Prescott Bush, who was scolding him for tying a poor Windsor knot.
Appearing at a Senior Citizens for Bush 2016 event at the Gilford Community Center on the banks of Lake Winnipesaukee, Bush wowed supporters for nearly 30 minutes by showing off his proficiency with a bass guitar. Afterwards, staffers handed out cheap beer served in plastic red cups while the former two-term Florida governor explained why he deserves to be president.
“Don’t listen to what my opponents say about me,” he said. “Look at me and judge for yourself. What you see if what you get. I’m just a dude who likes kick-ass guitar riffs and chicks who party till the break of dawn.”
“I love fast bikes and surfing, too,” he added after an aide whispered in his ear.
According to a hastily composed press release that was sent out minutes after Wednesday’s GOP debate, since he left the Florida governor’s office eight years ago, Bush has been pursuing activities that have always interested him, yet which were looked down upon in the staid world of state politics, such as learning how to breathe fire, juggle with devil sticks, and use his tongue to tie a cherry stem in a knot.