On both sides of the great Republican divide, there is a strong hunch that Maryland is George Bush country. Pat Buchanan may have grown up in Chevy Chase and spent most of his life in the Greater Washington area, but his appeal to the Maryland GOP hierarchy is nil. All three Republican members of the state's delegation in Congress, all three GOP county executives, every single Republican in the General Assembly, probably all GOP members of county councils -- they are solidly in the president's camp.
Even Seth Stein, who is Mr. Buchanan's campaign manager here, concedes that "expectations are not good" in Maryland. It is not a "conservative state," he says, and has "inherent disadvantages." Nonetheless, Mr. Stein is elated there will be a complete Buchanan slate of 24 delegates on the March 3 primary ballot, something not even Jack Kemp could achieve in his 1988 conservative bid.
This alone is enough to send shivers down the spines of Bush operatives, especially after the president's dismal showing in the New Hampshire primary Tuesday. They worry that if Mr. Buchanan picks up only two or three delegates, the media will interpret this as a bit of a triumph.