Oct 04, 2010

Every Monday morning, Fix blogger Chris Cillizza discusses who made news over the weekend and previews the week ahead for Congress, the Obama administration and the world of politics.

Good morning everyone.

Soundtrack for today's chat is the "M. Ward" station on Pandora...seemed fitting on such a dark and dreary day bere in DC.

29 days until the election. Let's do it!

Can we count on a Fix and deputies chat on election night?

Plans are being finalized now but I think so...we have been using coveritlive to live blog primary nights and that has been really fun -- aside from Fix Felicia beating me and Fix Aaron out as favorite member of the Fix posse.

Is that something people want to see?

Hi Chris, How is Lisa Murkowski's bid to educate voters about the spelling of her name going? Do you think she wishes her name was Joe Miller? But more seriously, how much weight do you give a small poll last week that found her ahead of both Miller and McAdams? Is there any new polling on that race? Thanks!

Murkowski isn't helped by having a name like "Murkowski" in her write-in bid.

She is spending money on TV ads that aim to educate voters on how to write her name in -- and that's smart. But, it's also a very difficult proposition....voters barely like to vote much less take the extra step of writing someone's name in..

I wrote about the polls in the race last week...I would be skeptical of them because it's impossible to gauge the actual effect of a write-in candidacy.

Did you see Linda McMahon tweeted about having Triple H knocking on doors for her campaign? Do you think he brought the sledgehammer with him?

More imporrtan question: will Shawn Michaels be with him?

Dx Reunion!

(And, yes, I am already dreading the day when the CT Senate race ends and I can no longer justify bringing out all of my old weird wrestling arcana in this chat.)

Who among the potentially new members of Congress or governors do you see entering the national stage somewhere down the line? Marco Rubio seems to destined to do so. Anyone else? I know Rob Portman got some press as a potential VP for McCain in 2008.

LOVE this question.

People I have been impressed with this cycle:

Rubio (Senate)

Ron Johnson in Wisconsin (Senate)

Susana Martinez in New Mexico (Governor)

Chris Coons in Delaware (Senate)


We've talked a lot lately about Russ Feingold and how it looks like he's behind in his Senate race. But why hasn't his vote against TARP (aka "the bailout") been more useful to him? I thought that was the thing motivating a lot of the rage out there amongst the public?

It's a very good question.

We are working on a piece right now for the Fix -- I believe Fix Aaron is doing the duty -- looking at how TARP will play in the general election after being such a Republican killer during the primaries.

Feingold has one of the most idiosyncratic voting records of any Senator running and I always thought it would insulate him even in this sort of environment.

The problem? Any time he talks about votes he's cast, Feingold reinforces the fact that he is a long serving member of the Senate...and that's a bad thing in a year where people don't like politicians.

Would getting a Chris Cillizza tattoo be the ultimate act of coolness and street cred?

Actually, it would be the opposite of coolness and street cred. When u are 80, you don't want to look down at your bicep and see "The Fix" written in chinese characters.

My "Spring Break 1994" tattoo on the other hand is the essence of cool.

Wow, the Wisconsin Senate race has rocketed up The Line over the last few weeks. What's happened with Feingold? Has Johnson simply run a good campaign and benefitted from the tough economy, or did Feingold lose it somewhere along the way?

Little of both. As I have written, I think Johnson is running one of the best campaigns in the country.

And, I think Feingold underestimated him a bit -- particularly after Tommy Thompson, the former governor, decided not to run.

I also think it's not a great year to be a Democrat in Wisconsin -- or almost anywhere else in the upper midwest these days.

Just curious - on Friday when asked about former Governors, you ranked Branstad, Barnes and Brown most likely to win, in that order. Why do you see the GA gov race as more competitve than CA? I get that Deal is weak, but polls show a pure toss-up in CA and a consistent single digit lead for Deal in GA.

I think it's close between the two.

Barnes is running in a far worse state but also against a far worse Republican candidate in Nathan Deal who has been beset by ethics problems.

Say what you will about Meg Whitman in California, but she has TONS of money and polling suggests she is right there with Brown.

I could live with ranking Brown over Barnes but it's pretty close as to which of them is more likely to win.

What, if anything, will effect the election? Are things "locked" and now just a question of turnout or could there still be some swaying in the breeze?

Well, it's October and we in politics have all gotten famiuliar with the "October surprise" in recent years...Bush and the DWI in 2000, Osama bin-Laden tapes etc.

Barring something LARGE scale like that, it seems to me the dynamic of the election is pretty well set.

The economy is the dominant issue of the day and a majority of Americans disapprove of how the Obama Administration and Democrats in Congress have handled it.

Couple that with historical trends regarding first term, midterm elections for a president and it's a safe bet that Democrats are headed toward major losses.

I still think both the House and Senate are in play. Democrats still have some fight left in them -- as they've showed in recent weeks -- but Republicans will now be at close to financial parity in most of these races so watch where polling goes over the next month.

If Crist loses this Senate race, which seems likely now, does he even have a political future? He probably can't go back to being a Republican, and there isn't really an office for him to run as a Democrat since Bill Nelson holds the other Senate seat.

He doesn't -- I don't think.

He made a gamble to run as an independent. If he lost, he had to know he was done in politics.

Remember that he could have simply bowed out of the primary and tried to rehab his image in advance of a possible race against Bill Nelson in 2012.

By choosing to go down the other path, Crist made this a political do or die race. And, I think we all know where it's headed.

Both Charlie Cook and Stu Rothenberg have largely dismissed the use of public polls. But if we can't use public polls to get an accurate take on things, who should we listen to other than Cook and Rothenberg?

I don't think either has dismissed public polling. I think both have said that there is such wide variance in methodology, sample etc that a lot of public polling amounts to guess work.

Contrast that with polls conducted for a campaign -- on either side -- where you have professional pollsters with more incentive to get it right.

I think we in the political community need a wholesale re-examination of how we cover polling heading into the 2012 election because the rise of automated polls has been so rapid in this cycle.

Will it happen? Probably not.

Sure, Fix live!!! But why are you up against Milbank in the chat forum? I am rooting for you, but not so secretly cheating on you with him by toggling back and forth.

Me vs Milbank?!

Dang. And his chat is about Glenn Beck!

This chat will now be devoted to Lady Gaga.

I'll have to admit, I SUPER curious what you'll be doing on The Fix for the second and third week of November. Not maybe some big despite with happen along the lines of the 2000 Florida recount where control of the House or Senate is left outstanding, that a big IF.

Correct me here, but nobody is officially filed the paperwork to run for the Republican nomination (or the Democratic one either, but that's different). Please tell me you won't be covering the non-campaigning campaigning?

Looooooong vacation.


Pretty sure if you live in Alaska and are interested enough to vote in midterm election, you know the name Murkowski. Besides even if they spell it wrong, haven't judges already ruled that if the voter make his/her intent clear, it's counted?

Yes, the Secretary of Elections has said intent is all that matters.

And, no question that even though it's hard to spell, Murkowski is a well known name in the state. (Lisa's father, Frank, has been in Alaska politics forever.)

She obviously has a chance. I just caution looking at polling that prompts people with her name as an option because that's not how it will work on election day.

So I'm watching Hardball with Chris Matthews last week and he introduces you (for the first time?) as "MSNBC Political Analyst" Chris Cillizza. As you would say, "WHOA!" Does this mean you'll now be taking your Air Fix One private jet to the Catholic U field hockey away games?

That's exactly what it means.

And, yes, I am now officially a political analyst with MSNBC.

Look Ma, I made it!

Maybe looking forward a bit too much, but any thoughts on the 2011 gov races? Kentucky seems like the interesting one, with an incumbent Dem running for re-election and numerous Republicans (including Trey Grayson) looking to move up in the world.

Don't forget that Mississippi will be open too...and that mean me and Politico's Jmart will be at the Neshoba County Fair in 2011...so if anyone has a cabin they want to let two reporters share email me at chris.cillizza@wpost.com.

I understand that voting is compulsory in Brazil, hence the 135 million voter turnout yesterday. I believe voting is also compulsory in Australia, among other democratic nations. Why shouldn't voting be compulsory in the US too? Wouldn't it help eliminate fringe candidates who win primaries solely due to the failure of so many citizens to turn out at the polls, or even to register?

Not sure voting should be compulsory.

Now, making reading of the Fix mandatory....that idea might have some legs...

What would be cool is if Chyna was able to join as well, to make it a full reunion

Where has she gone? Man. I loved Dx.

QUOTE: "And, I think we all know where it's headed." So you're predicting that Marco Rubio wins. You're so vague and hedging your bets all the time that sometimes just wish you'd dropped the implications and state your predictions clearly.

I think Rubio is a VERY clear favorite.

The reality: Things happen in campaigns that change them...even in the last month.

So, I think predicting that Rubio wins without any caveats is crazy town.

And, yes, I am starting to use "crazy town" more often. I really like that phrase. I am also working to bring "book it" back into the vernacular. As in, "we are ten minutes late for church, we have to book it to get there."

Politico labeled Evan Bayh a potential 2012 gubernatorial candidate when reporting his $500K donation. Have you heard about this? As a two-term former gov, is he even eligible?


He has always said he liked being governor more than he liked being in the Senate.

He would almost certainly have right of first refusal in that race and, if he ran, would likely be a clear frontrunner.

I live in New Mexico and the registered Republicans around here aren't too trilled about Susana Martinez. She seems to get more praise from folks who live over a thousand miles away. She's coming off a bit passive and a bit like John Kerry was when he tried to have it all ways on Iraq (I support the war, but ending the war, but not yet, but...). She isn't standing up the anti-Latino immigrant bashing crowd nor is she joining their chorus. Plus overall not impressed with her campaign.

Fair enough.

But she is ahead in independent polling and Republicans remain very optimistic that she wins.

What are the perks that come with your new title? How much weight can you now throw around?

5 lbs. Maybe 10.

And that's our chat for today.

I am going to bget back to building my ark so I can make sure the Fix family can get safely out of DC tonight.

See you Wednesday. And, if you haven't watched the latest episode of our Fast Fix video series, what are you waiting for?

This one is on whether big political rallies really make any difference. LINK: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/special/politics/the-fast-fix/

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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