Sep 24, 2010

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

BREAKING: I am testing out a new (un)official coffeehouse sponsor for the Friday "Live Fix" chat!

The locale? Northside Social in the now happening Clarendon neighborhood.

Early returns are promising: a solid caramel latte and an AMAZING chocolate, pumpkin muffin not to mention Neil Young playing in the background.

What's that? You came to talk about politics? Let's do it!

Chris, there has been much discussion of the ramifications of Tuesday night's storming of the GOP Bastille by the tea partiers, but I wonder if one angle has been overlooked. With only two moderate Republicans now left in the Senate, and the base of the GOP having become so extreme (some would say nuts, if Christine O'Donnell is really their ideal of a leader), might one or both of the Maine senators take a hard look at what their party's become, and decide to slip off to more sober pastures? Bluntly, I can't imagine they relish the ideal of having to appeal to these people.

We at the Fix HAVE written about this possibility.

Olympia Snowe is up in 2012 and there seems to be a real possibility that she faces a real primary challenge if she decides to run again.

(Maine Republicans nominated a tea party favorite -- Paul LePage -- for governor this year.)

Snowe has proved incredibly politically resilient over the years though and may yet figure out a way to survive the tea party movement.

Collins isn't up for re-election until 2014 -- an eternity in politics. It's not clear whether we are still even talking about the tea party by that point.

Hi Chris. Posting early. I'm genuinely perplexed about all the discussion of how a GOP/Tea Party takeover in Congress would lead to massive change toward small government, tax cuts, etc etc. Haven't the Republicans just set the gold standard on how a minority party can obstruct? Does anyone think a 51-49 majority in the Senate would get anything done? And wouldn't the Prez just veto anything that tried to "repeal" a health care program he fought so hard to get? Seems to me a small-margin GOP takeover just guarantees gridlock until at least the 2012 presidential election, and probably after that unless Obama lost, AND the GOP had a House majority, AND elected 60 GOP Senators. I just don't get it--please enlighten me, oh wise one.

If Republicand take over either the House and the Senate this fall, it's a virtual certainty that very little will be accomplished legislatively over the next two years.

Even if Republicans can push through some of the programs outlined in the "Pledge to America", it's hard to imagine President Obama not vetoing things like a repeal and replacement of the health care bill.

Add to that the reality that the 2012 presidential race effectively starts on Nov. 3 and it's hard to see any major initiatives coming out of Congress between now and then.

Is there a job in the administration that Mike Castle could fill? Might be a smart move.

Oooh...good idea...I know Castle spoke with President Obama and Vice President Biden after his loss...

Of course, Castle is still making noise about a write-in candidacy so until he decides on that it's hard to imagine him entertaining other offers about his future.

Only in Vermont could a guy with the name of Dubie have a shot at being elected Governor.

So. Good.

Is it true Mike Ditka endorsed Pat Quinn? Does that matter since it's been like 20 years since he coached the Bears?

In a gold game between God and Ditka, who wins?


And, yes, Ditka has endorsed Quinn. Ditka is still a well known presence in the state -- remember that he was recruited to run for Senate several times during the last decade as a Republican.

The most powerful person in the GOP is -- Palin, DeMint, McConnell, Boehner, Barbour, Romney, or someone else?

Ranking your list of names from most to least powerful...

1. Barbour

2. Palin

3. Romney

4. McConnell/Boehner

5. DeMint

Do you think people like Olympia Snowe, Scott Brown, and to a lesser extent Susan Collins (since she isn't up until 2014) have anything to worry about from this tea party stuff?

Absolutely. While it's not entirely clear whether the tea party will be able to carry over its energy into the next cycle, it has to be seen as a very real possibility.

And, if it does, I would say Snowe, Scott Brown, Dick Lugar, Bob Corker and a few others should be wary.

Fix chat producer, can we link to the piece by FixAaron earlier this week on this topic?

What does Jim DeMint want? Does he settle back for a long career as a conservative bomb-thrower like Jesse Helms, or does he have ambitions for the presidency or vice-presidency sometime in the future?

A VERY interesting question I don't know the answer to.

DeMint allies insist he is interested solely in electing more conservatives to the Senate -- that this is an ideological fight for him, not a political one.

Maybe. But, in my experience, politicians tend to do things for political reasons -- hence the name.

I know lots of people strategizing about the 2012 race who assume DeMint will run.  I can see it, particularly since he has something close to a guaranteed win in South Carolina -- one of the earliest voting states in the process.

Since this is your home state, I was wondering what your impression was of Dan Malloy? I was very impressed when I met him and I think he is a better candidate than Ned Lamont. Is he the favorite for the Governor's Mansion?

I just posted our latest governor's Line on the Fix and mentioned that Malloy is a solid favorite against Tom Foley in the best state in the union.

Malloy is a down the line Democrat, a safe choice for Connecticut voters who have elected Republicans for the last 16 years.

Foley, meanwhile, has struggled to recpature any momentum following a primary in which a series of personal revelations nearly cost him the nomination.

Aside from Rhode Island, this is Democrats' best pickup chance in governors races in the country.

As an American living abroad, I cringe every time I read your statement that you don't vote. I think you have a duty to vote, though you also have a duty not to tell us about who you voted for. I don't believe you are more objective if you don't vote, if that is your argument. I have confidence in your objectivity even if you vote. Will you reconsider your stance? Thanks.

I think, unfortunately, that people would interpret any vote I made as some sort of indication of my political leanings.

While any single vote doesn't indicate much of anything, I prefer not to even open up that Pandora's Box. The desire to "prove" a political reporter's "real" partisanship is just so toxic that, for me, it's not worth it.

.John Boehner recently stated that he doesnt tan. Who is he kidding. Thats like saying Ric Flair doesnt tan and his look is natural

Hard to pass up a Ric Flair reference.

Not sure if you know this but Flair lives "in the biggest the biggest part of town."


Why did the GOP even release the Pledge? It just opened them up to the charge of being fiscally irresponsible, with the permanent extension of the Bush tax cuts

Because there was a strongly held belief within the strategist segment of the party that in order for Republicans to close the deal with voters, they needed to show what they would do if elected.

Glen Bolger, one of the smarter minds on the GOP side, has described this cycle as an "80-20" election. That is, it's 80 percent about Democrats and 20 percent about Republicans.

That 20 percent is what the Pledge is meant to address.

Are you watching the live feed of Steven Colbert testifying before Congress?

FixAaron is on it! (I am live chatting -- I have only so many eyes.)

Make sure to check out the Fix shortly for a poll on the Colbert testimony....

How about you start a list of "Political One-Hit Wonders..." People who dominate the headlines on an election but then go on to either flame out or are booted out in the next election and their political lives seem to come to a crashing end? For example: Ned Lamont in Conn in 2006 or (likely) Christine O'Donnell in Del in this election.

Like, no, love it.

Remember how Lamont was going to be the new face of the Democratic party? Whoops!

Other suggestions?

Write-in campaign -- do you think it happens or what?

I am very skeptical about it. And, whether or not he runs, I still think Chris Coons is the favorite this fall.

There's a reason no Senator has won as a write-in candidate since Strom Thurmond in 1954. It's, um, really hard to do.

Ads like this come to mind when I see the Pledge to America, though in the case of the Pledge, there is the implication that if it comes to someone having to cut down what they eat, it will just be other people who will need to make that sacrifice.

Some people believe the weight loss ads. Many more believe the Pledge, including some who earnestly believe that they are "entitled" to full Medicare and Social Security benefits because they've paid for them (even if they end up withdrawing more than they ever put in).

Is this a back-handed way of promoting the Shake Weight?

And, while we're on the topic, wasn't there something slightly stomach churning about Rex Ryan using the Shake Weight on "Hard Knocks".

Not sure why. But, it was horrifying.

Dikta is god.

Well said.

In Chicago, this was yesterday.

Was the news media asleep again...stories are seeping out that apparently at the Voters Values Conference last week the GOP's Religious Right was telling the Tea Party to drop the secular view and start pushing their religous agenda or else ?

The Fix NEVER sleeps. FixFelicia (aka the most popular member of the Fix posse) was live blogging the entire thing!

Right here:

You could always vote for yourself. Or Mrs. Fix. Or anyone on FNL.

I am getting two bumper stickers made:

1. "Tammy Taylor is my President"

2. "Astronaut Mike Dexter is my President"

These would sell, right?

But see, most of us think the less than Washington did the better. I don't want them doing more, since everything they do just seems to screw us up more in the rest of the country.

No question this is a strain of thought out there. In that case, a do-nothing Congress is a good thing, right?

Do you walk about town with your computer and sledgehammer (a.k.a. Triple H)?

I do. I walk into coffeeshops all over Washington -- daring them to say "Mr. Fix, can we PLEASE host your Live Fix chat?!"

Instead, they usually say: "Sir, there's no loitering here."

Is his show going to bury O'Donnell? If the race gets out of hand, which candidates get the resources?

I think the burden of proof is on O'Donnell to show that she can step beyond her strong support among tea party types and effectively persuade moderates and even some Democrats that she is a better choice than Coons.

I haven't seen much evidence of an ability or a willingness to do that -- going on hannity's show being a prime example.

O'Donnell will apparently have the money to be competitive thanks to a massive influx of cash via her website after her upset of Castle.

But, unless she can find a more moderate message, it's hard to imagine her winning in a state where President Obama won 62 percent of the vote in 2008.

  • Ross Perot
  • John Anderson
  • Oliver North

Perot was a two hit wonder! (Or maybe a one-and-a-half hit wonder.)

Lauch Faircloth -- Helms protege who was one and done.

John Edwards -- granted he was on the stage for awhile, but when it comes down to it, Bob Shrum was right ("Bill Clinton without the books").

North Carolina produces lots of them. How about Mike Easley, the former NC gov who was once touted as a presidential candidate?

Now, not so much.

You need to do a story about rivalries among states' two senators. We know Lautenberg and Torricelli hated each other, but why do Snowe and Collins allegedly not like one another (or at least seem to be in competition)?

Yes. Have been meaning to do this for a while.

We will do both sides...the ones who really get along and, much more interestingly, the ones who don't.

In the words of the philosopher Homer (Simpson), "Just once I'd like someone to call me 'Sir' without adding 'You're making a scene.' "

This allows me to bring up a debate I was having in the newsroom the other day: Which is the best politically themed Simpsons episode ever?

I say it's when Homer runs for Sanitation Commissioner under the slogan: "Can't someone else do it?"

That's my credo in life.

What's the story there? The polls are so widely varied, what do you think is going on?

Well, the polls are not THAT varied. Most show Ron Johnson ahead although the margin of that lead does vary pretty widely.

I think Wisconsin is a tough place to be a Democrat these days -- bad economy, national party unpopular -- and Johnson is the exact right sort of candidate for this environment. He has never run before for anything -- no record to attack -- and makes it impossible for Feingold to run as the outsider.

It's a tough race for the incumbent.

I always like Sideshow Bob becoming Mayor. Especially the vote totals between Bob and Mayor Quimby

Yes. An absolute classic. Best part is how C.M. Burns is the is the one to line up support for Bob.

"If we hope to defeat this Joe Quimby, we need a candidate with name recognition and media savvy -- a true leader who'll do exactly as he's told."


I downgrade the sanitation commissioner episode for gratuitous use of Bono. I prefer the early episode where Mr. Burns runs for governor.


Lynn Swann

Erskine Bowles


Just a tremendous Chumbawumba reference.

And, am I the only one -- aside from teenage girls -- who thought the Plain White T's were the next Beatles after "Hey there Delilah"?

(And, yes, before the angry emails begin, I am kidding. Every knows Oasis is the next Beatles. Wait, what?)

Do you foresee more mid-decade redistricting this time around like Texas and Georgia did a few years back?

Hard to predict...I wouldn't have told you at this time last decade that Texas and Georgia would go in and re-re-draw their lines in the middle of the aughts.

I think redistricting is the most insider of all political games and, as a result, the possibilities are endless. (He says while rubbing his hands together in glee.)

It begins and ends with immigration reform...and Apu becoming an American citizen.

Well said.

But, how can u do better than this line from the Sanitation Commissioner debate?

"I'm sorry my opponent didn't think enough of you to show up for this debate. I'm sure he had more important things to do.  [Homer imitates Patterson drinking, everyone laughs]"

The Boy Who Knew Too Much -- Bart can clear Mayor Quimby's nephew of a crime, but would have to admit to cutting class in order to testify at his trial.

Be like the boy! Be like the boy!

Bill has been all over the media lately promoting his CGI --- is it just me or does he sound like he would make a better president now than my memory of him when he served? ( Convoluted sentence,sorry). I know former Pres. always look and sound better in retropect-- I began to think he missed his time.

I think ex presidents are like ex-girlfriends/boyfriends: we have a tendency to romanticize what life was like with them -- even if it wasn't all that great the time.

That said, Bubba is a master political mind and I am ALWAYS interested in his analysis of the political scene. If you haven't already done so, go over to Politico and read John F. Harris' (Fix mentor!) pieces from his sitdown with Clinton earlier this week. Good stuff.

No matter what happens on Election Day, my Facebook status will me Mr. Burn's comment "This anonymous clan of slack-jawed troglodytes just cost me the election. And, yet, if I were to have them killed, *I* would be the one to go to jail! *That's* democracy for you!" It works no matter what happens.

Third possible Fix bumper sticker:

"Montgomery Burns is my president"

Your political leanings come across in your writing, and in a conversation I once had with you. You, like most at your newspaper, are a Democrat.

Man, that sure was easy! Congrats!

To my previous point about voting: EVERYONE thinks that (and every other political reporter) have some sort of secret partisan agenda and they will stop at nothing to figure it out.

Ity may make a less interesting story but in my case it's just not true. I love the game of politics -- the personalities, the statistics, the storylines.

I am biased in favor of good candidates, good TV ads and pithy quotes. Period.

I like the stories about the old school senators whose freindships cross the aisle. THAT is true statesmanship to respect your counterpart.

Kennedy-Hatch is the most cited example. But, there are others.

How about Doug Hoffman? He kinda started this whole tea party craziness and now can't even win the GOP Nomination in NY-23


And Eric for Vice Prez.

How about this ticket

Tammy Taylor/Buddy Garrity?


Tim Riggins/Billy Riggins

That later ticket would be VERY interesting to cover as a reporter.

That's grounds for dismissal.

Well played. I couldn't find a tea house.

Sell us a DVD with all of the Simpsons political-themed shows. There have to be enough to skin us for another dvd purchase, er uh contribution to political thought (using Quimby's voice).

Since Groening is undoubtedly following this chat with bated breath, I second this emotion.

Also, DVD gods, PLEASE let "Ed" be released on DVD. Come on now. The $5 bet was a thing of genius!

The Music Man parody episode ("Monorail!") was essentially a political episode, right? He took advantage of Springfield voters ("Maybe it's more of a Shelbyville idea...") to get funding for the monorail.

I loved that episode. L-O-V-E-D.

"What's that sound? MONORAIL!"

Can the Georgetown Hoyas get to 3-1 against Holy Cross? In a bonus pick, can the 5-3 Hoya field hockey team beat Appalachian State tomorrow?

Better question: Can the juggernaut that is the Catholic University field hockey team -- 7-0 and ranked #17 in the country -- be stopped?

Short answer: No.

Um, no. Carter deserves everything that was ever said about him. We see that every day whenever he's around (I'm in Atlanta, so well, we see him A LOT). No romanticizing AT ALL.

Not to ruin the surprise but Carter won the Fix's "Worst Week in Washington" award this week.

Stay tuned for the actual piece.

Always loved the ad with Sideshow Bob using Willie Horton type rhetoric against Mayor Quimby

It's not possible for me to love the Internet more than right now:

"Oh, gosh, I'm, uh, not much for speeches, but I can't begin telling you how happy I am to leave you wallowing in the mess you've made, you're all screwed, bye."

The band plays him offstage with the "Sanford & Son" theme

HOMER: "Old Man Patterson...."

PATTERSON: "I'm two year younger than you!"

SurveyUSA released a LV poll showing Gillibrand up only 1 over DioGuardi.

A Q poll last week put the margin at 6. Coupled with Cuomo's sagging numbers, are Dems going to put some serious cash into ads and GOTV in New York?

There have been a couple of other surveys released in the last few days that show Gillibrand and Cuomo ahead by mid-teens, which seems to me about right.

The overall Democratic drag nationally probably limits how big either Cuomo or Gillibrand can win this fall but it's hard not to see both of them as clear favorites against their Republican opponents.

My fav is when Lisa was in DC for the essay contest and uncovered corruption with her congressman. The FBI and Congress had the guy investigated and, convicted and kicked out of Congress within 22 minutes. Now that's reality!


It was a $10 bet. And I recently purchased Ed on DVD over the can be done.

Wait, what! Where! Is there a black market for "Ed" DVDs? Amazon told me it was not available and I believe EVERYTHING Amazon tells me.

Always loved the part Fat Tony was selling him citizenship. That Apu was from Green Bay, Wisconsin and had a Mets jersey on the next day

"How about those NY Mets!"

The Fix should be the voice for the commentary track for that DVD. You would get paid for the effort and would be immortalized when it would be placed in the Hall of Fame for Politics. Boo-yah....

That would be SO awesome.

Another potential Fix dream job: A Mystery Science Theater 3000-like show where I watch ads/political documentaries and offer commentary.

I have seen "A Perfect Candidate" so many times I could recite that thing word for word. Is there a more uncomfortable moment in modern politics than Chuck Robb chatting up that couple in the grocery store?

$10 bet, not $5. But, yes, genius. There are collections of the $10 bet scenes on YouTube, which I watch a few times a year in the absence of the DVDs.

This information and link has made my Friday. And, yes, I am easily pleased.

The Bush family moved in across the street.

Several mentions of this one. An absolute classic.

The H.W. portrayal is genius.

"The politics of failure have failed! We need to make them work again!"

Probably right.

Which reminds me of one of my favorite lines overall:

Principal Skinner (over the loudspeaker): "These children will never amount to anything..."

From an early Treehouse of Horror: Homer: "Don't blame me -- I voted for Kodos!"


Notice how all our Simpsons references are from episodes more than 10 years old. Sigh.

Bring back Conan! He was the greatest Simpsons writer of all time.

I would personally pay Conan to come back and write a few episodes.

I wouldn't really care if you did vote. I don't particularly find your writings biased in favor of one party or another, but sometimes I worry about the old "even-handedness v. objectivity" angle. I feel not voting just gets you even-handedness, whereas the real goal is (or at least should be) objectivity. Sometimes one party says something so detached from reality, it shouldn't be treated seriously, but more often than not, it is merely addressed with a quote from the other side disagreeing.

fair point.

Simpsons Political Party on DVD

Volumes 1 & 2!!


Holy cow! This is great although it would be better with Fix narration....

Yes it was black market and yes, it's a wonderful thing =)

Impressively done. Go ahead and email me at and let me know how it went down.

IN what world is Romney more powerful than DeMint given this election season. Or McConell for that matter, who while has the personality of office chair, is actually pretty well liked behind the scenes and is a good strategist.

In my world?

Ugh, please don't remind me that the Commonwealth almost elected Oliver North. I can never thank John Warner enough for having the integrity to not only not endorse that slime ball, but to actually get a 3rd party candidate in the race to take away votes!


Ok, folks. It's been real. But I have been squatting at Northside Social long enough. (I am VERY impressed with this place...could it be we have FINALLY found an unofficial chat sponsor)?

Thanks for joining me. And, remember "Can't someone else do it?!"

Have a great weekend. Go Catholic U!

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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