The last time the nation had an open-seat race for president, Emanuel Cleaver got stuck in the crossfire.
Cleaver, Kansas City’s Democratic congressman, stuck resolutely with Hillary Clinton over Barack Obama.
He was called an Uncle Tom.
“You’re not black if you’re not supporting Barack Obama,” Cleaver moaned then.
The congressman should enjoy a far calmer 2016. Hillary Clinton is the Democrats’ lone hope.
We’re about to witness the collision of two very powerful forces when it comes to Clinton: the thirst for the country’s first female chief executive versus the weariness accompanying another Clinton gunning for the White House.
How ready are you for more Whitewater? More Vince Foster, more billing controversy, more Monica? And more Bill?
Her more recent controversy over emails during her time as secretary of state brought all that into sharp relief, and Clinton’s poll numbers dipped. A new survey shows Clinton’s favorable rating almost matching her unfavorable.
The country is Clinton weary already.
But every single leading GOP candidate is in worse shape. Gov. Scott Walker’s unfavorables topped his favorables by 7 points, Sen. Rand Paul’s by 13. Sen. Marco Rubio is underwater by 14, Sen. Ted Cruz by 20 and Gov. Chris Christie by 25.
Former Florida governor Jeb Bush stood at 33 percent favorable, 53 percent unfavorable, thanks, no doubt, to his brother.
If it’s this ugly now, how bad will it be by October 2016? Very.
The GOP field shows enough movement to separate the heavyweights from the never-minds. So in homage to NCAA bracket fever, here’s how I see it today:
Long shots: Christie (budget woes at home), Ben Carson (apparently a great doctor, but he regards homosexuality as a choice), Gov. Bobby Jindal (problems in Louisiana), former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee (no money), and former senator Rick Santorum (popular around here, not elsewhere).
Middle tier: Cruz (John McCain once called him a “wacko bird”), former Texas governor Rick Perry (has Joe Biden disease — people don’t take him seriously) and Sen. Marco Rubio (seems young, but he could move up).
Wild card: Gov. John Kasich of Ohio. Quirky appeal.
Top tier: Bush, Paul and Walker, this spring’s hot ticket.
Fall showdown: Bush-Clinton redux.
The winner: I’m good, but not that good.