With the GOP fundamentally divided, it seems increasingly unlikely that Romney, Santorum, Gingrich or Paul will have enough delegates going into the Convention on August 27th.
This would result in a brokered convention — and the possibility of a “white-knight” scenario.
But who could it be?
First, we must not forget that the Convention is held at the end of August — leaving only two months for any compromise candidate to galvanize support.
As Ezra Klein put it:
“A candidate who emerged during the [brokered] convention — or even slightly before it — would have two months and some change to hire a national campaign staff, raise money, get on the air, craft a message, study up on the issues, decide on an agenda, introduce himself to voters, build out a ground game, etc. They would have two months, in other words, to become competitive with Obama’s ferocious campaign organization.”
Mitch Daniels — despite being a leader on policy with a successful reply to the SOTU , — would not be able to take on Barack Obama in just two months. Moreover, he has said that he does not want to run because of family concerns.
Similarly, Governor Chris Christie who presides over a divided government in New Jersey has made it clear that this is not his year or a presidential run and indeed he is not ready – as evidenced by his recent faux pas on the Civil Rights movement, when he said that civil-rights activists “would have been happy to have a referendum on civil rights rather than fighting and dying in the streets of the South.”
Thus, there is really only one Republican who can galvanize the electorate. And that is Jeb Bush.
Bush is an intellectual leader with a successful record as Governor of Florida, and would attract support from traditional Republicans, fiscal conservatives, Democrats, Independents, and Hispanics alike.
He has endorsed the principles of Bowles Simpson and is the only Republican who is willing to accept that tax cuts need to be accompanied by revenue raising. Bush has also been a leader in the education reform movement, and serves on the board of the Bloomberg Foundation.
Make no mistake, I am not saying that Jeb Bush is the inevitable nominee. In fact, he is not.
Indeed, the major problem with Jeb Bush has nothing to do with his record or his persona. It’s his last name.
But that being said, fewer and fewer people are still blaming George W. Bush for the country’s problems, and at a time when the Republican Party is in a state of chaos, a candidate like Jeb Bush would generate an extraordinary amount of attention and galvanize the country in a way that Sarah Palin did when she came out of nowhere in 2008.
And when people like Rich Lowry from the National Review online have endorsed Jeb Bush, and moderates like myself see him as an entirely acceptable alternative to President Obama, there is every reason to believe that Jeb Bush could easily overcome whatever baggage that is associated with being a Bush.