The Live Fix with Chris Cillizza: Why Sarah Palin is old news

Apr 08, 2011

Get your Friday Live Fix as Chris Cillizza discusses the Friday Line, the Worst Week in Washington, Congress, the Obama administration and all the latest political news.

Hello all.

I am up against a DC Cupcake chat so I need to bring my A game here.

We are 13 hours away from the shutdown of the federal government.  I still think a deal is the more likely outcome since the political danger of a shutdown is high for both sides.

But, in a world where Donald Trump is tied for second in a 2012 GOP presidential primary poll, who knows what will happen.

And, what if c-a-t spelled dog?

That and other existential questions are waiting. Let's do it.

How many House Republicans will support and vote with Speaker Boehner if the final budget deal he negotiates to avert a government shutdown does not contain riders on social issues like abortion? If Boehner were to rely on Democrats to help pass the budget deal he negotiates, would that jeopardize his Speakership (e.g., might tea partiers in the House revote)?

I think that's what Boehner is hoping to figure out in the meeting with the House GOP conference at noon today. 

What are the parameters of what he can accept as a deal that will keep the majority of his people in the "yes" column. (No bill will satisfy all House Republicans, some of whom won't vote for any bill that has anything short of $61 billion in cuts.)

As for Boehner's speakership, I don't think that's in any sort of jeopardy at the moment. Boehner has said, as recently as this week, that there is no distance between himself and the tea party on the budget.

Time will tell if that stays true -- particularly if Boehner cuts a deal.

Everyone is asking who the American people will blame for a gov't shutdown-- I wonder how many Americans even know a shutdown is looming. On one of the late-night shows yesterday, a reporter asked people on the street who was the leader of the Republicans in Congress and no one could come up with a name. How can they blame someone who they don't know. So I think Obama will get the blame as everyone knows who he is-- There is a vast difference in " the American People" and the small political community who follow every news conference. This is making me depressed-- I feel like we are becoming "Palinized" -- even as Palin herself has become less influential-- people like Donald Trump can spread untruths on network TV and both the entertainment and political press cover it like it is news. So who to blame? the American people for getting the gov't they deserve--

I agree that most average folks are not all that well aware of the looming government shutdown or what it might mean.

That said, if the government DOES shut down, the wall-to-wall coverage virtually ensures that people will get up to speed on it -- and fast.

And, as for the blame game, I can only go by what polling says...which, according to the latest WaPo poll, is that people would blame congressional GOPers and President Obama about equally if the government shut down.

I liked your column about Sarah Palin's fading star. I think you missed an important factor--Dana Millbank's decision to ignore her in February. In one respect, she is like Tinkerbell--if you don't applaud she fades away. Dana's and some other's decision not to cover her 24/7 have allowed her to demonstrate just what she is really made of. I wonder if the same thing would work with Donald Trump?

So, Milbank was the tipping point?!

Man, talk about power.


His February boycott of Palin was the tipping point. Just like his book brought down Glenn Beck. Stay on his good side, Chris!

Two votes for the power of Milbank!

If Sarah Palin is old news, then why are you making her "news" by putting her in your headline? It reminds me of the legendary line from the original Saturday Night Live crew: "Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead."

Because I think there is a real sense in the political world now -- in the wake of the WaPo/ABC and NBC/WSJ polls -- that Palin is a fading light in the Republican party.

I am well aware that many Democrats and Independents have long felt that way but she remained a very popular figure in the GOP during that whole time.

So I think the stepping back of Republican voters from her is both important to note and meaningful as it relates to her interest in a 2012 presidential race.

I was thinking the other day: we all know when Bobby Jindal ceased to be the Next Big Thing in national Republican politics, but when did that happen for Brian Schweitzer on the Democratic side? He seemed to be all the rage a few years back, and had his spirited "Stand Up!" speech at the 2008 convention. Today, however, it seems like you never hear anything about him--why? Or is there a lot more happening with him below the radar screen?

I did float him as a potential 2016 candidate in a chat recently.

I think Schweitzer is lying in wait. Montana doesn't get much press but he will be term limited out of office at the end of 2012...and can then go to work at building -- or building up -- his national profile.

Did you get any interviews with any Friday Night Lights star who may have been on Capitol Hill yesterday?

I was offered a sitdown with Tami Taylor aka Mrs. Coach aka Connie Britton and demurred because, in truth, all I wanted to do was ply her with questions about FNL.

Speaking of which, we are only ONE WEEK away from Season 5 premiere on NBC.

Hard to exaggerate how excited I am. This is like how I felt when I heard about the Arrested Development movie.

Or the opposite of how I felt when America tried to vote Casey Abrahms off of Idol. Have you no shame!

I should think the Trump showing is mostly name recognition. Does anyone know what Trump stands for, other than firing people on TV, wearing some kind of hopefully dead or drugged animal on his head, and being one who wonders where Obama was born?

No. And I wrote about this yesterday.

The strength of Trump at the moment is two fold:

1. He has total name recognition and is a celebrity

2. He is viewed as someone taking the fight to President Obama.

Now the fight he has decided to pick -- on President Obama's birth certificate -- is a ridiculous one that suggests he is not really serious about the race.

And, as several consultants pointed out to me when I wrote the piece, Trump's best day in the race (and I don't think he is running) would be his first one.

What is your favorite kind of DC Cupcake?


I have put HUGE amounts of thought into this.

1. Baked and Wired

2. Hello Cupcake

3. Lavender Moon

4. G'town Cupcake (I just can't do the line)

Chris, you turned me onto the Avett Bros. before they were cool. What are the cool kids listening to these days?

The Low Anthem. Album is called "Smart Flesh". AMAZING.

(Hat tip to Fix music muse and former college roomate John Moye for the recommendation.)

How is it even constitutional for Congress not to pass funding of the government that it was elected to run? And why does Congress continue to be paid during a shutdown while military families are left in the lurch?

And in two question you have summed up why shutting down the government is so politically perilous (and why I STILL think they find a way to make a deal.)

I am a confused dyselxic. I wonder about the existance of Tac.


What precisely is the appeal of Debbie Wasserman Schultz? She makes Ed Schultz seem likable.

1. Florida

2. Woman

3. Great fundraiser

4. Good on TV.

Done and done. And remember, the head of the DNC's job is to be the face and voice of the party -- often going on offense against the GOP. This is not someone who is supposed to the one to appeal to independents. That's the president's job.

Past the celebrity contest, is there any possible chance Trump could win? If folks think Shumer is bad because he's too much of a New Yorker. How could Trump relate to the average American?

There is as much chance that Trump can win as:

1. I will dunk a basketball.

2. I will hit a homerun in Yankee Stadium (or anywhere).

3. I will score a goal in the English Premier League.

Why is Dana Milbank getting credit? The one (if not only) thing I'll actually give credit to former Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin is making herself old news.

So, in sum:

Milbank: 2

Palin: 1

You shouldn't let Milbank ask questions about himself in the chat.

Really good point.

We can never know who's going to get the blame for a Government shut down before the blame, but if you were to sort out the probabiliyt of blame by percentage likely to recieve it, how would it be distributed between House Republicans, Senate Democrats, and President? I think the President comes out in the clear, and the probability of the other two is 40/60% House/Senate respectively.


Like you said, impossible to predict. But in terms of chances of getting lion's share of blame:

House Republicans: 50%

President Obama: 40%

Senate Dems: 10%

If there is going to be a government shutdown, is there any room on the Fix crew?

FixAaron and FixRachel are cranking up the generator right now -- so we can keep writing  through a shutdown.

It will be like Christian Slater riding around in that jeep broadcasting his radio show in "Pump up the Volume".

Related: Did Christian Slater's kid jinx Pia last night on Idol?

Do you believe that Planned Parenthood funding is the deal breaker?

I honestly don't know and I don't think anyone outside of the small number of people in these negotiations really do know.

I think that these sorts of showdowns tend to get so mired in public spin that it's hard to know how large/intractable the real differences are in private.

Here's the thing we know: There will eventually be a deal on the budget. Whether it comes before midnight tonight is an open question.

Aspirations to wealth for common people, particularly those with the good sense to be born to a millionaire developer daddy.

I do think there is an element of wanting to be like him in his support level right now. (I CANNOT believe I just wrote that last sentence.)

Trump is wealthy, brash and confident. Lots of people want to be like that.

Not sure there is as large a constituency for replicating his haircut.

Come on, you don't think it would be cool to have "Trump White House" in big gold lettering, visible from space?

I mean, obviously the answer to that is yes.

Rank from most likely to run to least likely to run the following presidential possibilities: Mike Huckabee, Sarah Palin, Mitch Daniels, Donald Trump, Jon Huntsman, and Chris Christie?

Ok. Most likely to least likely.

1. Jon Huntsman

2. Mitch Daniels

3. Mike Huckabee

4. Sarah Palin

5. Chris Christie

6. The Donald

Agree? Disagree?

If the current plan passes, do you think Steve King and Tom Latham will actually face off in a primary? Or will one move to another district?

I think it does pass. And, no.

Latham knows he can't beat King in a primary. So, he has two options:

1. Run against Rep. Leonard Boswell

2. Retire

Iowa redistricting, by the way, is awesome. A map that puts not one but TWO sets of incumbents together.

A political junkie's dream!

Springsteen v. Christie. When Sawyer asked him about Springsteen's letter to the editor, he seemed to really struggle with formulating an answer. How do you think this all plays out?

Racing in the Streets.

No, not Boehner or Reid or Obama...Jon Stewart! Now he's going to have to do some actual work developing material instead of just playing Glenn Beck clips and listening to his audience shriek. Oh, and by the way: I told you to get on the Husky bandwagon, but did you listen?

The "Husky bandwagon"?

Is that the one where the coach will be suspended at the start of next year for recruiting violations?


It seems like all is quiet on the primary challenge to Orrin Hatch front. Any word on whether Chaffetz or someone else is going to jump in?

I think there is a wait and see attitude. I am almost certain that Hatch will have a serious challenge at the state party convention next year though -- whether it comes from Chaffetz or someone else.

The question is... Will you soldier on if your voice-modulator is broken, thus revealing the true voice of the Fix?

Slater was in three of my fav childhood movies.

"Pump up the Volume", "Gleaming the Cube" AND "Heathers".

Man. He was a king. And now he is on something called "Breaking In".

Who will be moderating this debate?

To be determined!

We are co-hosting with Bloomberg so I assume they will have one person and we will have one.

In case you haven't heard, the WaPo/Bloomberg debate is Oct. 11 at Dartmouth. (It's the best chance the Fix has ever had to get in to an Ivy League school)

Did you, like the rest of the nation, fall asleep during that brick-athon of a title game between UConn and Butler?

I, literally, fell asleep. Mrs. Fix was a witness.

PS. I am old.

please tell me that you are training your son to be a soccer prodigy who will one day lead the US to World Cup glory. Make him train 16 hours a day at dribbling, passing and shooting. He will hate you for this, but American soccer fans will love you for it.

He will be the next Clint Dempsey, a dark brooding talent who will go to England and show them that the US does produce soccer talent.

In all honesty Fix Jr can kick the heck out of a soccer ball. And he's only 2. Drogba in the making.

So which is the bigger danger to the appearance of leadership for the President: a shutdown or conceding to the Republican riders and deeper spending cuts?

I think -- and it's only a thought -- the shutdown.

The entire Obama brand is centered around getting government to work better. A government shutdown would be a clear repudation of that message.

Of course, he would not be the only one to take blame on it. But it would strike at the core of the Obama brand.

Do you think DHS Secretary Napolitano has any interest in running for Senate? Is being in the Senate considered a better job than a mid-level cabinet position.

I don't.

She already turned down running for the 2012 open seat where she would have been a clear favorite for the Democratic nomination.

If she wanted back into elected office, that was the seat to run for.

Dont we all need More Cowbell?

I think it was his failure as head of DGA. His works well in Montana, but no so much outside of Montana. An example was when he was campaigning for Gov. Corzine in 2009 somewhere in New Jersey. Now the audience is full of Democrats and Schweitzer gives his "my version of gun control I'll control my guns and you control yours" line which he has said about a billizion and one times. Yet in urban and suburban New Jersey, the line fell flat. Important remind, especially to Democrats, that gun control isn't unpopular EVERYwhere in the Union.

A good point. The positions -- particularly on social issues -- that Schweitzer has taken to get elected in Montana could make it VERY difficult for him to be viable in a Democratic presidential primary.

Those contests tend to be dominated by liberals which Schweitzer most definitely is not.

Do you feel that half your audience has been taken from you due to the DC Cupcake competition chat?

I hope I can overcome the cupcake appeal. It's going to be tough.

One addendum to my list of best cupcakes: The clear #1 is Magnolia Bakery in NYC. But since I am up there only sparingly, I went with an all DC list. But, Magnolia, I have much love for you.

Stefano looks like [redacted character name] from Growing Pains and can't sing. In fact, he can't even keep his eyes open onstage. Way to go, America.

Stefano looked like he was going to pass out when they named Pia as the one who was going home.

I think everyone was genuinely sad except for Haley who we all know is the least nice person on the show.

My revised winner predictions:

1. James Durbin

2. Casey Abrahms

3. Paul

4. Lauren Alaina

For your admission on Gleaming the Cube, you have earned unwavering loyalty in perpetuity throughout the universe from this reader. Tony Hawk drove a pizza truck!

My gosh. So good. Always on the lookout for empty pools.  

Best moment of that movie: When he skates under an 18 wheeler.  Umm.....

Hearing that Rick Berg might jump into the U.S. Senate race, but safe bet he won't and stay in the House. But any buzz from either political party on who is likely to get the nomination for U.S. Senate election in North Dakota in 2012?

I think whoever the Republican nominee is has a leg up given the conservative nature of the state.

Berg is clearly thinking about it but has made no decision yet. If he runs, he's likely the frontrunner for the GOP nod despite having only been in Congress for three months.

I'll also give credit to Palin for making herself old news, although she didn't do it on purpose while Milbank's whole Palin-Free Month was purposely trying to make her old news.

Palin: 2

Milbank: 2

Barn. Burner.

Would you be willing to put a "Count down to Shut Down" clock on your home page. Seems this is missing from the world as I google.

We have one on our local homepage!

Won't this be the most exciting? Everyone will just be waiting for Allen to make a gaffe and will under a microscope. If Kaine doesn't perform well, his party will rip him a new one. What's your take?


Virginia is the marquee contest of 2012 and could wind up in the pantheon of great Senate races.

Think about the storylines...

George Allen: One time rising national star brought low by an off hand remark that ushered in the You Tube era of politics.

Tim Kaine: Popular former governor who was a whisker away from being vice president. Morphed into DNC chair and biggest advocate of Obama policies.

Going to be a VERY good one.

Will we ever see a Ric Flair reference on Hardball?


And, yes, if Hulk Hogan can make a guest appearance on Idol then I can work Flair into Hardball.

"I live in the biggest the biggest side of town!"

I like DWS for the DNC chair. I always thought Kaine was too nice and bland. Debbie is fiesty without being off putting-- and she sure isn't bland.


DWS is a fighter and is willing to throw a few rhetorical punches when the moment demands it.

The one consistent criticism of Kaine was that he was too nice -- not willing to get down and dirty.

Where are all the GOP hopeful's on the budget? Haven't heard many embrace the Ryan Roadmap either.

I wrote about this earlier this week on Fix. Basically all the major 2012ers said they liked the idea of Ryan's budget without offering any embrace of specific proposals.

The truth is that none of them want to be saddled with some of the more controversial provisions -- like the overhaul of the Medicare program.

It's called a political football for a reason.

Have you already done cases for/against Huckabee? If he does not run in 2012, do you think he would be waiting for 2016 or something else? I look forward to more profiles of Huntman even if Romney is the guy. [Gleaming the Cube, you say.] Do you have a favorite museum that will be closed this weekend?

1. Fav museum: National Gallery

2. I have done Huck case for/case against. Fix super producer Andrea can u link.

3. I don't think Huck ultimately runs. But I also didn't think Friday Night Lights was ever going to be canceled so....

I know Democrats have announced that they have enough signatures for two state senator recalls. Any idea how many signatures have been collected for the other six? Isn't time running out?

Democrats are a little more than halfway through the 60 day window.

The Dems I talk to sound confident about their ability to get more recall elections on the ballot by the end of that time frame.

We shall see.

Where did you take your talents today? And South Beach may have James, but Chicago has the MVP. Sorry, East Coast contrarians.

I TRIED to take my talents to Northside Social in Arlington.

But, while they have terrific muffins, they have terrible wifi.

So, I had to head into the office.

And, agree on D. Rose. Ridic. Somewhere Chris Hayes is smiling.

I just to don't imagine Tom Perriello not getting back into elected politics and not like the Dems have anybody with as much potential for national media attention as well as fundraising. Also it could be pretty interesting if the Republican gubernatorial nominee is Ken Cuccinelli. Tom Perriello v. Ken Cuccinelli would be pretty interesting, potential even more then Corey Booker v. Chris Christie in 2013 races. (although I think Perriello is more likely to run then Booker at this moment).

Paging Terry McAuliffe....

Chris, I'm as conservative as anybody who chats here--and I would have put Palin about 10th on my preferred list for the nominee to beat Obama and return America to greatness. I like her just fine--hence, "popularity"--but I can't see how I would ever have voted for her for president.

Right. This gets at another Palin phenomenon: There is a gap between those who like her and those who say they would vote for her if she ran for president.

Again, I think the tipping point has been reached. But I am always willing to be surprised.

First; FixAaron's redistricting posts are GREAT. Are you training your replacement? Second, with the reality of the census and how difficult it will be for the GOP to expand their map even though they control much of the process; will grown ups in the GOP try to moderate the message before 2012? Can they?

The Fix stable of talent -- FixAaron, FixRachel and graduate FixFelicia -- is strong.

All great young reporters I am proud to associate myself with.

I find it interesting that people mention Rand Paul as a possible Presidential candidate. Although I doubt this will happen, it would be interesting if both Rand and Ron ran for President. I do not believe we have ever had both a father and a son running against each other for President. This could make for interesting dynamics.

Percentages of Pauls running for prez in 2012:

Ron 65

Rand 35

Chris, you frequent a lot of cafes. I am looking for one that has a decidedly Parisian feel. Yes, I know this is not your typical kind of question, but I do consider you an expert on the subject. Thanks!

Um, I haven't found one.

My old reliable was Buzz in Old Town. But, it's SO crowded now that there is no room for the ole Fix.

I hold out some hope for the Ballston location of Buzz...I like Northside Social in Arlington but as I said above the wifi unreliability is maddening.

You and the Little Fix looked good!


Mrs. Fix=star.

Take Mrs. Fix next time you're in town.

Thanks for the rec!

It's something like "A Brother's Honor" now.

Wait, what? Is this true?

Per Wikipedia: "Gleaming the Cube (also known as A Brother's Justice and Skate or Die) ..."

I blame Gwen Stefani. The dress she wore on Wednesday was atrocious. The outfit she wore last night was amazing. Gwen Stefani ruined her chances.

Mrs. Fix is with you!

Pia is also kind of a robot on stage. Great voice, no showmanship.

Are me and Mrs Fix the only people who think Scotty McCreery's microphone-holding is just plain weird?

Casey Abrahms for President. Paul for Veep.

Aren't we, your loyal and nerdy chatters eligibile for your precious Fix Badge?

Sure. Do you comment regularly on Fix blog? If so, send me username. I will make it rain. Um, make it happen.

Who does Georgetown play in November? That is, while they're getting ready to exit in the second round...

That hurts. Bad.  Really bad.

Palin is old news because the press is not writing stories everytime she tweets something. Only wish they would give the Donald the same treatment.

It's coming....I hope.

And, scene!

That's all for today folks. Thanks for joining me.  Do not forget, I will be back at it Monday at 11 am with the Fix Faceoff! Come one, come all.

Have a great weekend!


In This Chat
Chris Cillizza
Chris Cillizza is the managing editor of PostPolitics and he writes "The Fix," a politics blog for The Washington Post. He also covers the White House for the newspaper and website. Chris has appeared as a guest on NBC, CBS, ABC, MSNBC, Fox News Channel and CNN to talk politics. He lives in Virginia with his wife and son.

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