The Buzz

April 13, 2014

Ready for Hillary? It’s looking like KC just might be

Group gathers on Southwest Boulevard to give expected campaign an early boost

The Buzz

The facts, faces and hum of local politics with Steve Kraske and Dave Helling

One of the stiffest tests in politics is the trick of following a two-term president with a new chief executive from the same party.

It doesn’t happen often. Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush pulled it off in 1988. And Democrats still insist that they did, too, in 2000, even if reality proved far different.

So Democrats face a particular challenge in 2016 in following Barack Obama with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who is widely expected to make the race.

One issue typically is a lack of enthusiasm from the party in power. Usually partisans are tuckered out. And the party often runs out of policy ideas to gin up the excitement quotient.

Well, those latter concerns may not be an issue if Hillary Clinton runs, as she’s widely expected to do. Seeking to become the first woman to win the presidency itself could be enough to rev up partisans.

That’s why The Buzz opted to check out the first “Ready for Hillary” event Friday evening at La Fonda El Taquito, 800 Southwest Blvd. We wanted to see just how many partisans would show up 2 1/2 years before the next presidential election for a candidate who’s not even declared yet.

Clinton herself, of course, wasn’t anywhere close to Kansas City Friday.

The turnout wasn’t bad. At least 60 Democrats showed on a fine spring evening, but the number could’ve topped 100. It was tough to tell if some folks were there for the event or just to have a cold one after a long week.

And the enthusiasm level was high. Democrats were handing out “I’m Ready for Hillary” stickers and buttons and, just as importantly, getting names and e-mail addresses.

“It’s never too early to start,” Kansas City Councilman Scott Taylor said. “We all know what a great leader she is and what a great president she will make.”

Clinton is, Taylor added, ready to take that 2 a.m. call about the latest world crisis.

Former Kansas City Mayor Kay Barnes said she hoped for an army of millions to boost Clinton into the White House.

“Let’s do it,” she said.

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