Republicans are scrambling to find a candidate to replace George W. Bush in time for the Republican National Convention in New York City this August. While six months ago President Bush looked like such a shoo in for the nomination that the GOP never even bothered to have a Primary Race, many Republican Party Leaders are beginning to regret that omission.
"We should have looked around a little bit, you know, read the writing on the wall," said one highly placed party member, "but even as late as December it still looked as if Bush could beat anybody hands down. Of course, in December we thought Kerry was finished and we would be running against Dean."
Dr. Howard Dean's abortive run for the White House may have been a deciding factor in keeping potential candidates in the Republican Party from mounting a challenge to Mr. Bush's leadership, as well as the eight other candidates that at the time seemed to fracture the Democratic field. But December's wisdom looks very different in the harsh light of June. With the War in Iraq going badly, gasoline and other fuel oil prices at near record levels, housing prices leveling off, a still anemic stock market and negative territory job loss despite recent gains, President Bush is scrambling to find an issue he can hang his hat on and point to with pride.
Republicans had also failed to take into account the "Anybody But Bush" phenomenon that has swept the Democratic and Independent factions in the country that has galvanized support for John Kerry as the only opposing candidate. But in a way, the lack of a Republican Primary Race could help a Maverick Republican Candidate.
Said one official, "Since there were no Primaries, no Delegate has actually pledged to the Bush/Cheney ticket. If we could convince say, John McCain to mount a dark horse challenge at the Convention we may just have a chance at a win in November."