Jeb Bush on GOP's 'mullet' problem
March 15th, 2013
10:15 PM ET
1 year ago

Jeb Bush on GOP's 'mullet' problem

(CNN) – Taking his inspiration from a photo unearthed earlier this week by CNN Political Reporter Peter Hamby, Jeb Bush on Friday compared the current state of the Republican Party to a happily outdated hairstyle from the last century.

"We used to be the party in the front. After this last election, sadly, we're the party in the back," the former Florida governor told a gathering of conservative activists outside Washington, recalling a 1970 photo Hamby posted on Twitter recently featuring a mullet-topped Bush.


"The question is, how do we get to be the party in the front again?" Bush asked at the Conservative Political Action Conference, launching into an examination of the GOP's faults.

"Way too many people believe Republicans are anti-immigrant, anti-woman, anti-science, anti-gay, anti-worker, and the list goes on and on and on," Bush said.

He characterized some Republicans as dismissive of certain segments of the population, calling to mind Mitt Romney's secretly recorded comments about the 47% of Americans dependent on government.

"Never again – never again – can the Republican Party simply write off entire segments of our society since we assume our principles have limited appeal. They have broad appeal," Bush said, a direct rebuttal of Romney's assertion on the tapes that it was "not my job" to try and woo people supported by the government.

"I'm here to tell you there is no 'us' or 'them.' The face of the Republican Party needs to be the face of every American, and we need to be the party of inclusion and acceptance," Bush said to loud applause. "It's our heritage and our future, and we need to couch our efforts in those terms."

He spelled out a series of key principles – including reforming the education system and reducing the role of government in regulating business – and declared it was time that financial success "be cool again."

"We need to reestablish in America the idea that success is a good thing, rather than being viewed with distaste and suspicion," Bush said.

But despite the gloomy outlook at the top of his speech, Bush ended on a more optimistic note, borrowing words his father, former President George H.W. Bush, used during his hospital stay earlier this year.

"As my dad said, 'Put away the harps,'" he said. "We have within our grasp the means by which our country will reclaim its momentum, leave its mark upon this remarkable century, and secure a better future for all."


Filed under: CPAC • Jeb Bush
soundoff (51 Responses)
  1. JamVee@hotmail.com

    Bush is exactly right. The GOP, much to my personal disappointment, has clung to it's outdated and archaic position on so many issues, I'm surprised they admit the earth is, in fact, ROUND!

    March 16, 2013 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  2. WiredweirdinSF

    The dopers, welfare frauds, corrupt union thugs and of course the liberal mainstream media will focus on the mullet picute from 30 years ago and heap their hatred of Jeb Bush all over this site. Anything to draw attention away from the most inept, incompetent, corrupt, lying, uniont toady president this country has ever had.

    March 16, 2013 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  3. Donkey Party

    The GOP wants to be the party of inclusion? They're better off remaining the party of delusion.

    March 16, 2013 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  4. James Bond

    Excellent speech, but your no different than the rest, talk a good game, but go right along with the rest them anyway. they understand that they dont hold our principals, but cant seem to change. if you think for one minute this guy is different, look at his record, and hear what he is saying. its good to be sucessful, means more for the rich, and less for you, that is what all their pproposals are, nothing for the common worker, they try to scare you into thinking they are your only hope, we are doomed without their guidance. same old philosophy, feed the rich, and prosper in the trickle down effect, nothing new here, at all

    March 16, 2013 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  5. L.Sanfod

    True. The Republican party is anti everything but rich white men. They will probably soon change that to anti everything but rich white male millionaires.

    March 16, 2013 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  6. nintex

    ". . . face of every American. . .party of inclusion and acceptance. . .In other words, they need to become Democrats.

    March 16, 2013 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  7. Rob

    What the GOP does not seem to get is that we aren't falling for the "successful people are victims" marketing message they are trying to sell us. Rich people are not under attack. We have lots of statistics that prove that folks on the upper end of the financial spectrum are doing extremely well in America. This is not an "us against them" or "rich vs. poor" conversation. The GOP itself has been attacking lower income people: teachers, fire fighters, etc... the GOP itself slams hard working people. The GOP has been sending the vile messages calling working people "lazy". And then they try to garner sympathy for people in this country who hold most of the country's wealth. It boggles my mind. Who falls for this stuff? Paul Ryan proposed a budget to cut the highest income earner's taxes from 38% to 25%. Who is the GOP serving? Not America. They only choose to serve a small population of Americans who hold the most money. I'm sure that lines their pockets very well .... but it no longer wins elections.

    March 16, 2013 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  8. James Bond

    Rather wear a mullet than be one of theese guys

    March 16, 2013 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  9. JohnnyE

    Every time they deregulate business we get another financial crisis. Fix the regiulations that don't work but you need to keep the crooks and reckless predatory speculators from ruining things for everybody else.

    March 16, 2013 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  10. LakeRat1

    Mullett? That's not a mullett! That's just a normal longer cut for 1970. I don't consider myself an expert, but Mulletts were shorter in the front and longer in the back, and didn't show up until later in the 70s.

    March 16, 2013 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  11. Gurgyl

    -–these guys need to come the the planet called EARTH, and think with brains if any leaving the GREED, JEALOUS at home not saying socialistic ideas etc, work for this nation's middle class–not just rich oil companies. Did I tell you these. Men sold this nation to Saudi Arabia for Oil.

    March 16, 2013 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  12. LakeRat1

    Some people in the GOP are intelligent, but GEEZ! how many more decades is it going to take before they realize that they have to get rid of the NUT JOBs and religious zealots in their party? I guess we'll just have to enjoy the Dems in the meantime.

    March 16, 2013 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  13. GCV

    Greed, ignorance, bigotry, and paranoia are not outdated ideas, they are wrong ideas. People like Karl Rove figured they would be clever and build a party for the people that don't want to pay taxes by appealing to the inherent ignorance, bigotry, and paranoia found in simple miseducated country folk. That is wrong, wrong, wrong.. It is outright evil.

    March 16, 2013 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  14. llinmpls

    Here's how out of touch they really are – that's no mullet. Mullets did not have bangs or a part down one side, this is just a 70's hair-do. If you want to see a mullet go find a picture of Tim Pawlenty from about six years ago then you have something. That is just a photo of a rich kid with "long" hair. I wonder if Ol' Jebber will run the United States of Corporations like another trust fund baby with an unlimited checkbook too?

    March 16, 2013 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  15. rs

    Mullett? More like the powdered wig!
    Bush is correct, but that doesn't explain the hateful and divisive nature of the GOP as we've seen in their laws and platforms of late. The whole war on women- subjugating women to the rights of rapists to reproduce; the rights of guns not to be destroyed (Az.'s newest!); arming teachers instead of telling the NRA to take a hike; the whole anti-worker ethos that is embodied in their anti-min. wage, anti-union stuff we've seen in Michigan and other states. Let's not forget all of the efforts to strip off voter's rights: 8-hour voting lines across the country, stripping away democracy with their appointed overseers' laws.
    No, it isn't just a bad haircut- it is bad code.

    March 16, 2013 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  16. Adam

    Success is still cool in America. What isn't cool is success at the expense of others, or success the relies on breaking or evading the law. What we want is honest success that leaves you with your integrity.

    March 16, 2013 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  17. ea

    The problem with the republican party is Karl Rove and those tools who push for and fund idiot republicans like Bush and Romney. They don't push for true conservatives who fiscally conservative ideas will help generations to come. They might as well fund the democrats because the republicans they fund are too faced non-fiscal candidates driving this country into more debt.

    March 16, 2013 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  18. Thomas

    Jeb also said he thinks History will be kind to his brother GW Bush .

    March 16, 2013 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  19. Ron

    "Way too many people believe Republicans are anti-immigrant, anti-woman, anti-science, anti-gay, anti-worker, and the list goes on and on and on," Bush said. Yep, that's what people believe because it's true. Republicans on the science committee that don't believe in science, Republicans that are opposed to equal pay for equal work, Republicans who believe you can't get pregnant if you are raped, Republicans that are opposed to a living wage, and yes, the list goes on and on....

    March 16, 2013 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  20. rs

    Seriously, the basics of the GOP's problem is this: they actually used to care about people- all people. Hence they were pioneers in Civil Rights, and modern social policies- including reasonable and logical tax codes that maintained balanced budgets.
    They have grown fat and lazy, and look after only the richest 1%- and boy they take care of them! Mr. Ryan's new "budget" slathers each and every millionaire in America with a $400,000 tax break. Never mind the free-ride corporations (experiencing absolutely record levels of profits) get.
    One could assume the GOP simply can't see people, or are sadists looking to inflict great pain upon the lowest and most needy in our society- including our retired elderly (OUR PARENTS!).
    Sure the GOP feels that in reward for managing only for the rich, the rich will reward them with endless camapign cash- with which the GOP can BUY their elections, and not worry about the problems associated with actual votes (and voters!).
    Bad haircuts indeed. Between bank runs, and S & L destruction the Bushes should live in Gitmo.

    March 16, 2013 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  21. Dave Harris

    Trouble is, Republicans have based their party on people who actually believe the idiotic things Bush is criticizing. They do hate and fear science, reason, and large segments of the population. They think the president is an illegal alien communist dictator. They're just sure that the United Nations is going to send black helicopters to take away their guns, and Obama wll shoot a drone at them. With this kind of rampant craziness in their party, no reasonable candidate has any hope of getting elected by them. Bush is going to find this out.

    March 16, 2013 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  22. Rosslaw

    The republican party passes American style sharia law mandating forcible rape style "ultrasounds" for women seeking abortions that no doctor recommneds and ol' Jeb can't figure out whty women question the right-wing's sincerity.

    March 16, 2013 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  23. Homer10

    One of the big problems that the GOP face is that they are seen as the party of the rich corporate interests that hide behind PACS, and where we don't know how much bribe money has been paid for political favors. They hold secret contributor meetings behind closed doors where we get clandestine cell phone videos glimpses of the corruption going on in there. Then when they try to put a face on their party, they turn to the aluminum foil hat wearing far right wing gun toting nut cases to put on their public face. These kinds of images scare off all but other paranoid schizophrenic gun toting nut cases. The GOP has been spending the last 4 years purging their party of all the main stream moderates who could add a voice of reason. The result are more and more strange statements coming out of the GOP that have even ardent main stream Republicans asking "Who's running the asylum in there?". It seems that at every turn lately they have made statements that do not put their party in a good light. There is a huge reserve of ethnic voters that would like to vote Republican, but just can't bring themselves to vote that way because of irresponsible statements made by top members of the party that disparages one ethnic group or another. Bobby Jindal is right. The Republicans have to stop acting stupidly.

    March 16, 2013 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  24. Wanderer

    He spelled out a series of key principles – including reforming the education system and reducing the role of government in regulating business –

    Jeb Bush still cares for the riches after all, by deregulating business …

    March 16, 2013 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  25. misands

    These speeches are nothing but slapping lipstick on a pig. The GOP can't make a genuine change because they have dumbed down their fanatical supporters to the point of utter stupidity. They also made a fateful deal with the devil by promoting radical radio and cable personalities, and now the GOP finds themselves hostage to these countless dumb-headed windbags who are making loads of money spewing their non-sense and dumbing down and making GOPers even more extreme.

    March 16, 2013 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
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