Jeb Bush’s campaign thus far doesn’t seem to have done much to help his chances at becoming president — he has less than 10 percent support in the polls right now. If his candidacy continues to flail, however, he can always just change ambitions and start using his campaign apparatus as a physical rehabilitation tool for aging Republican Establishment political junkies. He only has tested his health program with one person so far, but according to a conversation he had with the New York Times, it has worked wonders in only a short period of time.
Former president George H.W. Bush has been recovering from a fall; according to Jeb, his treatment has included watching too much cable news and building up a strategic reserve of endorphins inspired by simmering rage toward people that make fun of his son. “I notice he’s not watching ‘CSI’ reruns anymore,” he told the Times. “He’s watching Fox, getting mad at people that attack me and stuff like that. I feel like I’m making a contribution to keep him strong.”
Getting frustrated by his sons’ political critics isn’t a new hobby for Bush; according to a book of his letters published two years ago, Bush once wrote to a friend comparing the attacks he had faced 61 years earlier in the Pacific to the verbal ones George W. faced after Katrina. “Now I see some of his most nasty critics trying to shoot down my beloved son — shoot him down by mean spirited attacks,” he wrote. “I was a scared kid back then. Now I am just an angry old man hurting for my son.”
This treatment option has of course not been approved by the FDA, and it is not recommended for adults who have not been president or aren’t the parent of several presidential candidates.
The elder Bush has also helped Jeb fund-raise and gets a shout-out on one of the T-shirts for sale in the candidate’s campaign store: “My dad is the greatest man I’ve ever known and if you don’t think so we can step outside." Bush, who celebrated his 90th birthday by skydiving — again — has to wear a neck brace for at least another month.
Jeb didn’t mention if his mom also took part in the cable-news therapy rituals. Barbara Bush told Jenna Bush Hager in a Today show interview in June that she was over campaign theatrics. “I’m not gonna be musing about someone who does something stupid in the campaign. I’m gonna stop voicing my opinion and sticking up for things I think are right," she said, also saying she had no desire to go on Twitter or Instagram or do any interviews with people not related to her. Her previous statements about the 2016 race included saying that she thought there had been "enough Bushes" in the White House — she changed her mind — and joking that Jeb wasn’t her favorite son.
It seems unlikely that watching too much political coverage would be good for Barbara Bush’s health given the context in which her son brought her name up in front of 23 million viewers. “Forty years ago I smoked marijuana and I admit it,” Jeb said. “I’m sure that other people might have done it and may not want to say it in front of 25 million people. My mom’s not happy that I just did.”