If you’ve ever wondered what Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush would look like in denim overalls, workman boots and a hard hat, look no further. As of Monday, the Internet has got you covered.
The former Florida governor was in Tampa at the start of this week to launch an attempt at breathing life back into his campaign. As The Washington Post’s Sean Sullivan reported, “Speaking in a bayside garden club under a banner declaring ‘Jeb Can Fix It,’ Bush delivered an optimistic speech meant to emphasize the leadership credentials he burnished as governor of Florida.”
On the tails of a lifeless debate performance, the “Jeb Can Fix It” tour aims to reinvigorate the image of a candidate who has become a symbol of insider, establishment politics in an election cycle that’s favoring outsiders in the GOP primary field. In late October, the onetime front-runner instituted pay cuts, slashed his budget and reduced the size of his staff.
“After seven years of incompetence, corruption and gridlock in Washington, we need a president who can fix it,” Bush told the crowd in Florida. “I can fix it.”
To his credit, the new slogan has really taken off online — just presumably not in the way he had hoped.
The hashtag #JebCanFixIt was trending on Twitter and Facebook on Monday, with social media users putting their creative juices to use in spoofing a catchphrase that many by now have concluded was ill-advised, at least where Internet traction is concerned. Bush and his earnest new slogan have inspired droll comparisons to car repairmen, plumbers and even marriage counselors.
The most popular meme appears to be a play on the slogan’s echoes of the theme song for “Bob the Builder,” a popular British children’s animated series starring the titular jovial, round-faced building contractor. The show’s signature refrain involves Bob asking, “Can we fix it?” to which the other characters chime, “Yes we can!” (And no, the line doesn’t quite resonate in the same way that it did when it was uttered by a different presidential candidate in 2008.)
Netizens really ran with this one.
Here are some elaborate Photoshop efforts from a Donald Trump supporter, followed by a jab from Trump himself:
Some of the jokes strayed into more serious territory, like this reference to Florida’s role in determining the 2000 presidential election results.
All of this is reminiscent of the responses to Bush’s campaign logo, which was similarly lampooned. Many commenters mocked the candidate for his use of a bright red exclamation mark, while others couldn’t help but point out that it reminded them of the rock band “Panic! at the Disco.”
Of course, Bush isn’t the only 2016 presidential candidate whose attempts at messaging and outreach have been derailed by the social media masses.
In August, some were taken aback when Democratic presidential hopeful and former secretary of state Hillary Clinton tweeted, “How does your student loan debt make you feel? Tell us in 3 emojis or less.” This sparked a slew of spoofs, including “How does finally handing over your server to federal investigators make you feel? Tell us in 3 emojis or less,” and “How does losing to Bernie Sanders in the polls feel? Feel free to use as many emojis as it takes.”
Clinton survived that particular snafu, but with many already believing that his campaign is floundering, Bush may need all the tools he has to fix this one.