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Saturday, October 22, 2016

A plan to energize Jeb Bush’s presidential campaign:

1. Add another exclamation point to your posters and bumper stickers, so that they look like this: “Jeb!!”

This will put you ahead on the charisma meter, because most other candidates don’t even use one exclamation point on their campaign signs!

2. Provide unlimited Starbucks at all town-hall meetings.

Free coffee would be one way to make sure your supporters appear enthusiastic and alert while you’re explaining your position on, say, Common Core.

To attract more young people, offer cans of Red Bull to anyone willing to jump up and down waving a “Jeb!!” sign.

3. Play cooler music at your campaign rallies.

Donald Trump uses an Aerosmith jam to rock his audience, so why not Zeppelin or the Stones for you? The band members are approximately the same age as the average Republican primary voter, so let’s make that connection!

4. Work on your wardrobe.

Lose the baby-blue Brooks Brothers shirt, OK? And taking off the necktie doesn’t make you look like a casual dude—it just makes you look like a banker who’s getting ready to change a flat tire.

Rick Perry started wearing eyeglasses to make people think he wasn’t so dumb. What if you started wearing blue jeans to make people think you aren’t so wonky?

Unpressed stonewashed jeans — would that blow their buttoned-down minds? Khakis are what they’d be expecting from a Bush, but jeans and Skechers?


5. Tone down the whole Florida thing.

At this point, everybody in the country knows you were governor of Florida. Endlessly bragging about it doesn’t seem to be working.

That’s probably because too many prospective voters have either been to Florida, or read enough wild stories to know that it’s not a model of honest, efficient government. It’s also not a particularly tranquil place to live.

These days, folks in Iowa or New Hampshire hear the word Florida and they think of drug shootouts, Medicare fraud, sinkholes, and giant pythons.

While on the campaign trail, you’d be better off speaking in broad terms about your experience as the two-term leader of a dynamic, fast-growing Southern state.

Just leave it at that.

6. At the next television debate, don’t stand next to Trump.

This is not an issue of height, or hair. You definitely are taller than he is, and you obviously don’t have hair plugs taken from an orangutan’s armpit.

However, Trump is so loud and bombastic that he makes those around him fade into the background. The best way to distance yourself from this preening gasbag is to physically distance yourself.

Demand a podium at the farthest end of the row of candidates, preferably beside Rand Paul or Bobby Jindal, if either of them makes the cut. It’s impossible not to look presidential standing next to those guys.

7. Start spending serious money on ads.

In six months your SuperPAC raised $103 million, more than any of your opponents. It’s ridiculous, really, how much you’ve got in the bank.

But now the wealthy donors who gave you all that dough are watching your poll numbers drop and wondering if they made the right choice. If you don’t turn things around pretty soon, you could wake up with George Pataki and Jim Gilmore—who, by the way, are actual Republican candidates—nipping at your heels.

So use some of that huge stash and crank out a few ads, fast. Go warm and fuzzy at first—generic family stuff. If you’ve got a dog, put him in the commercial.

Next aim for the seasoned, thoughtful, hardworking Jeb—rolling-up-the sleeves type of footage, though please, God, not in the Brooks Brothers.

8. Get mad. Or at least pretend to be mad.

Waiting for Trump to flame out might seem like a sound strategy, but in the meantime you’d better lock up second place. Would it hurt to fight back a little harder?

The jerk slurred your wife’s national heritage, yet you never braced him about it during the first debate, when he’s standing right beside you.

Sometimes there’s a fine line between mild mannered and wimpy. No one’s expecting you to morph into an electrifying personality at age 62, but they do expect evidence of a pulse.

Come on, Jeb! Or, even better, Jeb!!

(Carl Hiaasen is a columnist for The Miami Herald. Readers may write to him at: 1 Herald Plaza, Miami, FL, 33132.)

Photo: Former Florida governor and Republican candidate for president Jeb Bush greets supporters at a VFW town hall event in Merrimack, New Hampshire, August 19, 2015. REUTERS/Dominick Reuter

  • Dominick Vila

    Part of Jeb’s political problems, besides his surname and the fact that most Republicans would never, ever, vote for a man who will deliver a Mexican First Lady, is the fact that he is constantly changing direction on most of the issues he addresses. He has been spending more time clarifying his clarifications than articulating an unambiguous political platform. The other problem he is facing is that he represents the GOP establishment, at a time when many Republicans are leaning towards Tea Party orthodoxy. Barring an internal hanging chad replay, or The Donald committing political suicide, I don’t think he has a chance to win the GOP nomination.

    • Independent1

      Dominick, all the other clown-car candidates tanking may just be what ends up getting Jeb the nomination.

      Scott Walker is already tanking even in Wisconsin. See this from – dated 8/17/15:

      11 reasons why Scott Walker is suddenly tanking in the polls

      A new Fox News poll came out, and it shows what a slew of other polls
      revealed after the first debate: While the media obsessed over whether
      Donald Trump was “over” because he once called Rosie O’Donnell a dog,
      the most surprising post-debate trend turned out to be the fact that
      Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has tanked in the polls.
      While Trump held onto his lead after the debate, Walker is in a free fall….

    • plc97477

      I don’t think jeb!! has a brother in position to help him win florida this time. I tried the double exclamation points and it didn’t seem to help much, I still don’t want to vote for him.

  • John Murchison

    Jeb’s dad had some “wimpy” issues too. It’s not unfixable and these are some good surface level fixes. However, the era of the stealth republican is over. Jeb can’t hide his current right side swing ie anchor baby. The whole compassionate conservative candy coating went out the window with the foul Trump wind. Getting him to gin up his zeal wont fix that.

  • Böcker

    None of the above is going to help Jeb! He is just that bad as a candidate. My advice to Jeb!, go home and stay there.

    • Dominick Vila

      Not telling Americans who hold two jobs and work 50 to 60 hours a week that the solutions to our economic woes is for them to work harder may help a bit. Not much though. His liabilities, in the eyes of most red blooded Republicans, far outweigh his assets and positive attributes.

  • FireBaron

    He’s JEB! That’s about all the razzle-dazzle we are going to see from him. This is a guy who believes he is being “daring” by wearing a blue Oxford shirt instead of a white Oxford shirt!

  • FT66

    Oh! Jeb, you could had listened to you mum. They always know better than anyone else when it comes on anything which suits their kids. Now, you are calling Asians “anchor babies”, don’t you need their votes as well to push you to the winning line? I didn’t expect to write this, but am forced to: you seem to be a dumb person. We all think first, before we say anything.

  • Paragryne

    His campaign is looking more like JEB?

    • Paul Bass


  • Jinmichigan

    Jeb is turning out to be a gaffe machine. Every other day he says something he has to take back or at least explain. He, like his brother, is seriously not up to the task.

    • ikallicrates

      You may think Jeb! is not up to the task, and I may agree, and Republican voters may agree, but it’s not up to us. It’s up the Koch brothers.

  • plc97477

    Am I the only one who wonders why the bush boys can’t seem to spell even their own names?

  • 1Zoe55

    Last night while watching the replays of what happened to New Orleans specifically after Hurricane Katrina, I was reminded of why I and my family (we’re from New Orleans) would NEVER vote for another Bush. Yes, it was a complete failure on the Feds, the dumbass Cajun governor, and the corrupt City mayor before help was delivered to the suffering souls in New Orleans. George Bush, as President, could have and should have overruled that states’ rights argument put forth as the excuse for the Feds not acting more quickly. Jeb!!!!, you sound so much like your stupid brother that it’s frightening. We would never risk the chance of electing you.

  • Daniel Jones

    I think the only way Jethro!, err, Jeb! will ever win over the Hispanic vote is if he lets it be known his wife will run things for him instead of some Cheney Asshat. A stealth Mamacita President might sell–another Dick Cheney hand puppet will not.

  • Paragryne

    He could come on stage juggling chainsaws and he’d still be boring.

  • disqus_k68sqSa7lb

    and then there’s the video clip of his mother saying we don’t need another Bush in the WH. and I don’t think it was referring to shrubbery.

  • paulyz

    Glad to see the National Memo endorse Jebbie Bush, and tips on how to “package” himself as something he is not, like Obama did. This “endorsement” will sink Jebbie even more knowing thet he is the one Liberals want to see as the Republican nominee, & move Trump up higher. LMAO!