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February 25, 2014

2
P.M.

Ask Aaron: The week in politics

Total Responses: 39

About the hosts

About the host

Host: Aaron Blake

Aaron Blake

Aaron Blake covers national politics at the Washington Post, where he writes regularly for the Fix, the Post's top political blog. A Minnesota native and graduate of the University of Minnesota, Aaron has also written about politics for the Minneapolis Star-Tribune and The Hill newspaper. Aaron and his wife, Danielle, and dog, Mauer, live in Northern Virginia.

About the topic

Aaron Blake chats with readers in his weekly Post Politics chat series.

Q.

2016 Republican Presidential Race

What Republican candidate do you think has benefited the most from the Christie and Walker revelations? I would think someone like Mike Pence who is a governor and has no congressional or gubernatorial dirt on him.
A.
Aaron Blake :

I don't think Pence runs, but he would be in the mix if he did.

I think others would be Rubio and Jeb Bush -- basically anybody who interests the GOP establishment. For a while, it was looking like Christie was that establishment standard-bearer. That's not so clear now.

– February 25, 2014 2:01 PM
Q.

TX

The primary in texas is in a few days (March 4th) Do you expect some surprise?
A.
Aaron Blake :

Cornyn should sail. I would be shocked if he needed a runoff.

One of the more interesting primaries is the GOP race to face Rep. Pete Gallego (D) in a swing district. Keep an eye on ex-Rep. Quico Canseco vs. Will Hurd.

– February 25, 2014 2:03 PM
Q.

TX

Does Katrina Pierson stand a chance to win Pete Sessions in next days primary?
A.
Aaron Blake :

This is the one potential shocker. I don't see Pierson winning, mostly because she didn't raise much money, but I've heard good things about her as a candidate.

– February 25, 2014 2:05 PM
Q.

Debbie Dingell

Seriously, the idea that Debbie Dingell will "inherit" her retiring husband's seat is embarrassing. This is just what politics should not be. Is there nobody who can save us from this debacle? Does Debbie really have the family seat in the bag?
A.
Aaron Blake :

She's certainly the heavy favorite.

But it's not like she's being handed the seat. Voters are still voting; it just so happens that they like certain political dynasties. The Kennedy name, for instance, is the Good Housekeeping seal of approval in the Northeast.

In Michigan, that's Dingell.

– February 25, 2014 2:07 PM
Q.

Airizonia Governor

Talk is that Gov. Jan Brewer will veto the bill allowing denial of service to gay customers basically so she balances out her opposition to immigration. What do you think?

A.
Aaron Blake :

I don't think Brewer will attempt to run for reelection (she would have to circumvent the state's term limits law), so it's not like she's worried about her political future.

I think this is more of a legacy item. Does she want this bill to define her tenure as governor? I don't think so. And the fact that all these big-name Republicans (McCain, Flake, AZ GOV frontrunners) are calling for a veto makes this a pretty easy decision.

I don't think it's a counterbalance so much as an easy call.

– February 25, 2014 2:09 PM
Q.

Gov. Jan Brewer

Seems like Arizona Governor Jan Brewer is waiting as long as possible to sign -- or not -- SB 1062 in order to see which way the political wind is blowing. After all, if the bill's enacted, the state risks losing Super Bowl XLIX should there be an ensuing boycott, as well as lots of conferences. Do you think Brewer will dawdle as long as possible, then veto the bill?
A.
Aaron Blake :

In politics, it rarely hurts to let things simmer a little. I think Brewer knows what she wants to do, but wants to make sure the other side doesn't make a compelling argument.

In this case, I don't see a huge clarion call for her to sign this law.

– February 25, 2014 2:11 PM
Q.

RE: Debbie Dingell

In her defense, Debbie Dingell has been active in politics for years. It's not like she graduated college, worked in a completely different area, and then inherited a seat. A little unfair.
A.
Aaron Blake :

True. She's very well-known in politics and should be a very capable candidate.

And as I said, I think that district would be happy to elect another Dingell. They've done it for 80 years, after all.

– February 25, 2014 2:12 PM
Q.

:)

With this joint meeting of Bill Clinton and Alison Lundergan Grimes starts the extremely exciting electoral season! Are you as excited as me?

A.
Aaron Blake :

It really does seem to be ramping up. The first primary is NEXT WEEK!

I love a good midterm, personally. Much more exciting to follow a bunch of races than one presidential race that barely moves for months on-end.

That said, the last two midterms have been very interesting. I can see this one being a little dry if the GOP can't contest the Senate.

– February 25, 2014 2:14 PM
Q.

Political dynasties

"The Kennedy name, for instance, is the Good Housekeeping seal of approval in the Northeast." I think you're forgetting Scott Brown's great line in one of the debates leading up to his election: ""Well, with all due respect, it's not the Kennedys' seat, and it's not the Democrats' seat, it's the people's seat."
A.
Aaron Blake :

That was a good line. And it worked.

But Scott Brown's win wasn't a rebuke of the Kennedy dynasty. It was much more about Obamacare and Martha Coakley's shortcomings.

– February 25, 2014 2:16 PM
Q.

When Texas changes to a Democratic state ...

How long before Texas becomes a Democratic presidential state? 2020? And when that happens, how does the GOP win the presidency?

A.
Aaron Blake :

I'm a little less convinced that Texas is trending blue as quickly as people seem to think (more on that here).

But, if it does go blue, that will certainly change the calculus for the GOP. They will need to move several other purple states into the red column and blue states into the purple column to account for Texas's 38 electoral votes.

But I do think there is something of an equilibrium in American politics, where the country will almost always find itself split somewhat close to 50/50 politically. If Texas goes blue, I think other states probably shift the other direction -- at least eventually.

– February 25, 2014 2:19 PM
Q.

RE: Debbie Dingell

Also in her defense, at least she is from Michigan. It's not like she grew up in Illinois, moved to Arkansas, spent 8 years in DC, and then decided that she wanted to be senator of New York.
A.
Aaron Blake :

I have no idea who you could be referring to...

– February 25, 2014 2:20 PM
Q.

Scott Brown

If you had to guess, does Scott Brown run for the Senate in 2014?
A.
Aaron Blake :

I'm starting to think no. If he wanted to run, he's given away a ton of fundraising time (almost a year). I know he can raise money quickly, but it's get VERY late.

– February 25, 2014 2:21 PM
Q.

Obama post-presidency

Hi Aaron. Thanks for doing these chats. Where do you see President Obama ending up in 2017 and beyond? He's still pretty young. Go the Clinton Global Initiative route? How about Michelle? Any future in politics there?
A.
Aaron Blake :

The first lady could probably walk into the Senate when Dick Durbin (or Mark Kirk) retires, but I'm not sure she has that desire.

I think the philanthropy thing is the natural route for an ex-president and former first lady. But I'm also not sure I see Obama setting up a huge apparatus like the Clintons have.

– February 25, 2014 2:23 PM
Q.

Edwin Edwards

Favorite Edwin Edwards quote?
A.
Aaron Blake :

"The only thing we have in common is we're both wizards under the sheets." 

-while running against David Duke in 1991

(More here)

– February 25, 2014 2:25 PM
Q.

Mark Begich

Besides Joe Miller, who would Begich like to face out of his current opponents?
A.
Aaron Blake :

I think Treadwell scares Begich less than Dan Sullivan. Sullivan has proven himself to be the best fundraiser.

– February 25, 2014 2:25 PM
Q.

Colorado

Who's in better shape for 2014 -- Udall or Hickenlooper?
A.
Aaron Blake :

It really depends on who wins those GOP primarys. If Ken Buck is the nominee against Udall, then it's Hickenlooper. If Tancredo is the nominee against Hick, then it's Udall.

If both those guys win, I think both Democrats are safe.

– February 25, 2014 2:26 PM
Q.

Obama post-presidency

You don't think he returns to academia, except in an endowed chair instead of as a non-tenure-stream lecturer?
A.
Aaron Blake :

That makes a lot of sense, in my opinion. But it almost seems too small for a former president.

– February 25, 2014 2:28 PM
Q.

Obama Post Presidency

You said that the huge apparatus isn't there for Obama. As someone who is on his mailing lists and who receives all sorts of stuff because of it, I would say that the apparatus is there, particularly since many of the messages ask if we have his back.
A.
Aaron Blake :

I was more thinking that Obama himself wouldn't necessarily want something like the Clinton Global Initiative. His aides have certainly put stuff together -- with the goal being to help him become and serve as president. Once that's gone, I don't know if he wants that behemoth.

– February 25, 2014 2:29 PM
Q.

George Miller

Does he stay in DC or return to California? If the latter, what happens to his famous Capitol Hill house (sell, rent)? After all, Schumer and Durbin still need a place to hang their hats.
A.
Aaron Blake :

Schumer put up a great tweet when Miller announced his retirement.

– February 25, 2014 2:31 PM
Q.

Jeb Bush

Has anybody tried to poll voters to determine how many people would just reject Jeb Bush simply on the basis of his surname, rather than his own record? Labeling one politician with the record of a family member seems plain silly to me. Anybody who lived in Florida during Jeb's term knows that he's very different from his brothers (and father).
A.
Aaron Blake :

And this is a great counterargument to all the dynasty-bashing. There are certainly two sides to this issue.

– February 25, 2014 2:32 PM
Q.

HOC

Kate Mara looks just like Kasie Hunt, right?
A.
Aaron Blake :

Hmmm, maybe a little. Kasie is a much better reporter, though.

– February 25, 2014 2:32 PM
Q.

purpose of your chats

With only 43 people here, this chat obviously doesn't benefit the Post financially. Do you get ideas from us? Boswell always says he does the chat partly for column ideas. Do you?
A.
Aaron Blake :

100 percent. It's a great chance to bounce ideas around and hear from the readers. I get more out of it than you guys do.

(Also, my hope is that this chat, which is less than a year old, expands in the months ahead. Stay tuned for more on that.)

– February 25, 2014 2:34 PM
Q.

Scott Brown and NH

Maybe stay out of Iowa then, champ.
A.
Aaron Blake :

Yeah. Curious move if you're going to run for Senate in New Hampshire.

– February 25, 2014 2:35 PM
Q.

Greg Abbott

Assuming that he wins the Texas governorship against Wendy Davis (which it appears that he will), is he in the running for a possible VP slot in 2016?
A.
Aaron Blake :

I think Abbott will be on the radar down the road. Aside from this Nugent stuff, he's got a good reputation and a great life story.

But 2016 is probably too early, given he will have been governor for less than two years.

– February 25, 2014 2:36 PM
Q.

Hillary

People should never leave their home states in case they might want to run for office someday. Smart take.
A.
Aaron Blake :

Devil's advocate: Having a longstanding connection to the people you serve is certainly an asset.

– February 25, 2014 2:37 PM
Q.

Michigan

When do Democrats hit the panic button in Michigan? The last polls have shown Peters behind Land.
A.
Aaron Blake :

I think now would be a good time. I still see Democrats as favored and think Peters is a good candidate, but Land has shown herself to be capable and a good fundraiser.

And anything can happen in an open seat. Much easier for the GOP to pick off one of those than beat an incumbent.

– February 25, 2014 2:39 PM
Q.

Steve Stockman

Over/under 30% in the primary?
A.
Aaron Blake :

I'll take the under.

– February 25, 2014 2:39 PM
Q.

Grimes-McConnell

Does McConnell sweat the primary or general election more? And lots of polls have Grimes and McConnell in a dead heat, but does the conservative bent of the state mean Grimes has a ceiling of around 45%?
A.
Aaron Blake :

I think you're right that Grimes has a ceiling. I don't think it's 45%, but I think she'll have a very hard time getting from 45% to 50%.

That's why I think some of these early polls are a little misleading.

– February 25, 2014 2:41 PM
Q.

Senate Elections 2014

Who wins? Michelle Nunn or Mark Pryor?
A.
Aaron Blake :

Speaking of dynasties...

Pryor has a better shot, but that changes quickly if Paul Broun is the GOP nominee in Georgia.

– February 25, 2014 2:41 PM
Q.

Paywall

I used to read more WaPo before the paywall. I know I'm probably in the minority, but I think your bosses should know. There are many sources for the same news. I'd like your take but it's not worth it.

A.
Aaron Blake :

I sympathize. But I hope everyone else will start charging for their labor like we have. Newspapers are having a tough time because we are giving our product away for free.

Until everyone stops doing that, we're all going to struggle and the journalism will suffer because of it.

– February 25, 2014 2:46 PM
Q.

UT

Ok, We can already say that Mia Love is a congresswoman.. right?
A.
Aaron Blake :

I wouldn't assume anything. That state has a very unusual nominating process, and her primary opponent, Bob Fuehr, is a capable candidate.

– February 25, 2014 2:47 PM
Q.

Final Four

As of today, I have Arizona (by default), Kansas, Duke, and Syracuse (sort of by default). You?
A.
Aaron Blake :

You can't leave out Wichita State. I'm sorry.

– February 25, 2014 2:47 PM
Q.

GOV

Which governor got it easier to get reelected: Kasich or Walker?
A.
Aaron Blake :

Kasich.

– February 25, 2014 2:47 PM
Q.

yes, speaking of dynasties

The Dems in Georgia are hanging their hats on a Nunn (with no political experience) and a Carter (who hasn't shown anything in the time he was given a seat in the legislature based on his name).

A.
Aaron Blake :

In a state where you're the underdog, sometimes you have to take a chance on a wildcard with a golden name. And by the way, I think both have done pretty well so far.

– February 25, 2014 2:49 PM
Q.

Music

1) Lorde - yay or nay? 2) Is Cillizza really listening to Beck?

A.
Aaron Blake :

1) Nay. That Royals song is the bane of my existence.

2) I choose not to answer for The Fix Boss's musical choices.

– February 25, 2014 2:51 PM
Q.

Obama post-presidency

I could see Obama as a Supreme Court justice one day. He has that legal-analysis thing working.
A.
Aaron Blake :

Could be. The William Howard Taft route.

– February 25, 2014 2:51 PM
Q.

WAPO / Cuomo

Two things: I'm happy to pay for WaPo and NYTimes since my local paper is somewhat limited. Even as a liberal Democrat from NY state, I for the life of me can't see Andrew Cuomo as a viable presidential candidate. Why is he so often mentioned as one? What am I missing?

A.
Aaron Blake :

Simple: He's the governor of a very big (and very tough) state who has been quite successful at it. Plus, his dad was seen as a potential candidate in 1988 and 1992. I think it's natural to think of him as a potential candidate for president.

All of that said, I'm not sure he's done much of anything to encourage such talk. And until he shows interest, I don't think he runs.

– February 25, 2014 2:55 PM
Q.

Obamacare

Do you foresee Obamacare being an overall winner or a loser for Republican candidates (i.e., do they gain or lose seats based on campaigning against it) in November 2014?
A.
Aaron Blake :

I do think it helps. The question is how much. It could be just a little, or it could deliver them the Senate. It will depend on how they play their cards and how the law pans out.

– February 25, 2014 2:56 PM
Q.

2016

Florida and Kentucky both have laws on the books prohibiting candidates from being on the ballot for two different offices. How are Rand Paul and Marco Rubio going to deal with this since they're both up for re-election to the Senate?
A.
Aaron Blake :

I believe those laws only apply to the same election date. So they only come into play (1) if Rubio or Paul is the GOP nominee or (2) if either state holds its state primary on the same day as it's presidential primary (which most states don't do).

– February 25, 2014 2:58 PM
Q.

Aaron Blake :

Thank you to everyone for coming out. We had some great questions today -- so many that I unfortunately didn't get to all of them.

We'll see you next Tuesday at 2.

Q.

 

A.
Host: