The Fix Live

Jan 04, 2013

The Fix's Chris Cillizza discussed the latest in political news.

Follow @TheFix on Twitter.

Good morning everyone.  I am sipping a cinnamon dolce latte and wearing jeans.  Life is good.

Let's do this thing.

Some of the newly-elected republicans are saying that they didn't come to Washington to get along with their colleagues in Congress. I think the new Congress will be just as terrible as the old Congress. They just want to be obstructionists and are already dug-in with their ideas (Sen. Cruz, I'm talking about you!). What are your expectations for these newbies?

Well, I think you combine the fact that huge majorites of these Members -- on both the R and D side -- got elected with 55% of the vote or higher with the tremendously difficult problems Congress is going to be called on to solve and you start to sense things are going to get worse before they get better.

Read this too:

Your ranking of Boehner, Cantor, and McConnell in terms of power lost or gained following the fiscal cliff actions?

From gained to lost




I mean, Cantor didn't do all that much while Boehner clearly took a hit. McConnell emerged as the guy who knows how to make deals which, I think, is still a good thing in this political world.

Are you going to the Redskins/Seahawks game on Sunday?

You have mistaken me for a Washington power player.

How was your "Most hated holiday bar none?"

Good. Early dinner with friends and then ignoring the fact it was New Years for the rest of the time.

Worst holidays

1. New Years

2. St. Paddy's day (and I am half irish)

3. Halloween pre-kids

Given his 'yes' vote on the fiscal cliff bill, is Ryan more likely to become a practical deal-maker or to remain an ideological leader? Which is better if he wants to run in 2016?

His vote + his statement explaining the vote made clear that he is latching himself to the problem-solver messaging going forward.

It's an interesting contrast to Marco Rubio who voted "no" on the cliff compromise.

But I went double-or-nothing on Boehner finishing his term as Speaker (I took the under). Well, we settled on a case of Bell's Two-Hearted either way (much better than cash), but we'd like a professional opinion on our respective chances.

I think he finishes his term. I also think -- it's a total guess -- that this is his last term in Congress.

Hi Chris, Is Marco Rubio's vote against the Senate "cliff" bill an early sign that for 2016 the GOP presidential primary race will be a race to the far right? Do the Republicans feel they lost the last election because Mitt was too moderate?

Primaries in both parties do tend to be a race to please the base...

That said, Republicans have nominated John McCain, Mitt Romney and George W. Bush in the last three contested primaries. None of them was the most conservative candidate in the field.

True or false: As we get more polarized, we should see more protest votes because they help incumbents protect vs. their flanks, and primaries become determinative without toss-up general elections.

True.  And bad for democracy.

Chris Will Boehner now retire the 'Worst Week in Washington " trophy or would he had to have lost the speakership for that to happen ?

Well, Boehner isn't even close to the Gehrig-like streak put together by Anthony Weiner back in 2011 when he won Worst Week 4 times straight.

why wasn't Cantor a viable option? Or Ryan?

There just isn't the desire to overthrow Boehner. They may disagree with some of his legislative choices but most members of the GOP majority still like him and respect him. And, aside from Paul Ryan, I am not sure anyone -- including Cantor -- could knock off Boehner at this point.

What is the future for GOPers like Labrador and Amash?

Sort of what they are doing now.  They will be conservative agitators who don't have all that much power in the House but could have some real power out of it.

How far will Reid go with filibuster reform?

Not very far.

How realistic is it that Biden will make headway on gun control with this Congress?

Depends how you define headway. Yes, I think we will have some sort of gun measure -- maybe banning large ammo clips -- make it through Congress. I am much more skeptical that Biden or anyone else can get the assault weapons ban through Congress -- but I have been wrong many times before.

Do you have something against those particular holidays that people view as a reason to go out and drink excessively, then engage in bad behavior as a result? :-)


How much good did he do himself for 2016 with his work with McConnell for creating appendix #1 of the fiscal cliff negotiations saga? Also, how much will Hillary's recent health scare affect her chances in 2016?

Biden: I think he helped himself among insiders by proving he was a real player in the negotiations and knew how to make the deal happen. I don't think the average person or even the average primary voter noticed all that much.

Hillary: I think her health will now be a front and center issue for her if she decides to run now.  I wrote about it here:

How does Barney Frank wanting the interim appointment for the seat being vacated by Senator Kerry affect Ed Markey's chances? It is common knowledge here that Barney is none too happy with Markey for how the redistricting process played out.

I don't think it affects it much. 

Being the interim Senator who pedges not to seek the full term means Frank wants this as a sort of career-capper not as a strategic, political move.

Markey is still the VERY likely Dem nominee in the special.

Hi Chris, Happy New Year! I know the holidays are both fun and stressful with little ones, hope yours was good. Two questions: 1/Do you think the Republicans in the House voted yes b/c they knew the public was so fed up with the whole cliff thing or to cozy up to the leadership? 2/Why did some Democratic senators vote no?

1) Most of them voted "yes" because they knew they would get blamed if the country went off the liff

2) Those Dem Senators who voted no did so because a) they wanted taxes raised on a broader swath of people or b) they wanted a deal that did more to resolve the long term financial problems of the country.

Bachmann finally voted for Boehner, is not that surprising?

I think she probably decided that she had made her point by not voting for him the first time around and didn't want to see it go to a second ballot.

It was definitely a bit of pragmatism from Bachmann.

Are we going to miss Ron Paul in the House? Who will replace him?

Rand Paul in the Senate.

those bring out the amateurs, the people who give drunkenness a bad name. I'm a professional drinker so I know these things.

Glad to have a professional in the chat.

What is the general national consensus on how Paul Ryan came out of the presidential race. Was it a help, hurt, or push?

Push to a positive.

He got FAR better known among Republicans (and everyone else) nationwide, which will help him. Also, being the last VP nominee gives you immediate entre into the next presidential race.

Congressional dysfunction is being blamed on the polarization of the electorate. But I haven't seen analysis of why we are becoming more polarized or why Dems are tending to live among Dems and Repubs among Repubs. Would you like to take a stab at these questions?


I wrote about this in my book "Gospel According to the Fix". (Available for purchase here:

The simplest answer is that gerrymandered congressional districts driven by partisan line drawers has created a large number of House districts where the only electoral worry for the incumbent is in a primary election.

That means that being as conservative or as liberal as possible is the best possible way to get reelected. And that compromise is not prized or valued.

Redskin Nation, prepare to feel the wrath of Russell Wilson...

Russell Hustle-And-Bustle-Man-Muscle Wilson.

After watching Biden's performance at the mock swearing in yesterday, it's apparent if the Presidency thing does not work out in 16' car sales might be a calling.

That was political gold. It's gold, Jerry!

Is that why she walked out of the hospital in full view of cameras?


Don't you think it's inevitable that the Democratic nominee will come from the governor's mansions? Other than Gillibrand and Klobuchar, there aren't that many contenders among Democratic Senators, but among Governors, there's Cuomo, O'Malley, Schweitzer, Hickenlooper, and Markel.


Or a former Senator like, say, Hillary Clinton.

No, but they were (at least perceived) to be the most electable. Would you agree that, especially in the case of McCain & Romney, they were damaged goods due to the pull to the far right?

Yup.  Bush was able to avoid getting pulled too far right.

Arbor Day not on the list. Really?

Who hates Arbor Day?  That's like hating Flag Day.

Also: Is Groundhog Day a real holiday or not? Cause I like it a lot -- if only because of Bill Murray in "Groudhog Day".

The wiki tells me that a seahawk is a nickname for an osprey, or fish eagle. I will be rooting against the fish eagles on Sunday.

I love me some RGIII. Who doesn't? I hear Sal Palantonio say yesterday on Kornheiser's show that RGIII could lead men into (real) battle. That's pretty high praise.

For both the Ds and the Rs, who are the three new faces that you anticipate being "guided" to facetime status for the party in the next three years? Or, which new members are viewed by their party as future gamechangers?


1. Tim Scott

2. Rubio

3. Ted Cruz


1. Tammy Baldwin

2. Heidi Heitkamp

3. Michael Bennet

It dawned on me yesterday as I read coverage of Tim Kaine's swearing-in: this is a guy that was chairman of the DNC, and he is building 100% of his goals in the US Senate on working across party lines and compromising. How do you think this transformation happened so seamlessly? And do you think he has ambitions beyond the Senate?

A very good question. I think he is a little bit underrated as a politician actually.

Not sure if he has ambitions that end in the White House but I think it's a safe bet to assume anyone who has been governor and then Senator (as well as DNC Chair) is politically ambitious.

Antonio Villaraigosa? Where does he go after he's done? What's the history of big city mayors making it to the national stage?

I thought the DNC Chairmanship but Debbie Wasserman Schultz is coming back for a second term.

Dare I say a potential presidential run? He would be the most prominent Hispanic in the field...Or maybe governor if Jerry Brown decides not to run for a second term.

Is he a Senate lifer who essentially becomes the Kennedy vote of the Republican caucus?

I don't think of Corker as a lifer...he just got re-elected though so he will be there for at least 6 more years. Remember that he started off as an executive -- mayor of Chattanooga -- so I can't imagine the legislative atmosphere of the Senate is all that appealing...

Please immediately take him to Senate floor so Biden can swear him in.

That would rule.

Also, if you missed Biden's performance yesterday, watch this:

Glad to see that Obama has his LBJ at work in the Senate, especially with the ineffectual Harry Reid. Does Obama have someone in the House who can carry water for the administration?

I think Chris Van Hollen, who is a mighty impressive pol, is becoming that person.

Has any Presidential nominee ever faded from public view quite as quickly and thoroughly as Mitt Romney? Re Paul Ryan, not sure his public showing was entirely positive. My father (age 93) and son (age 32) both regard Ryan as evil incarnate (and they don't agree on a lot). His politics may be pleasing to some segments, but he also was personally off-putting to a fair number of people.


Read this -- my writeup on Romney's bad year:

I was surprised that you never listed Harry Reid as one your weekly or fiscal clliff losers. It seemed to me that he got sidelined by Boehner in favor of Biden in almost an insulting manner. By the end of the negotiations, he seemed almost inconsequential to what was going on. Your thoughts?

I thought about it for a long time.  And, you may be right. 

Groundhog Day is to holidays what auto racing is to sports.

HMMM.... I am not sure if this answers my question.

Will we see ever Pelosi's district represented by a republican?? She'll last forever xD

No. Never. When she leaves, there will be a giant Dem primary to replace her. And whoever wins that primary will hold the seat for as long as he/she wants to.

I prefer The Fix who leads us to the good coffee.

I can lead real men into Spotify playlists like no other. Take that Bob Griffin.

When the president says he will not nogotiate around the debt ceiling what do think he means?

That he won't negotiate on the debt ceiling.

I also think he is staking out some territory for the debate to come. I will be fascinated to see if he can stand his ground on that pledge.

We could be the poster child for electoral dysfunction. Our two senators of different parties both voted against the fiscal cliff bill for exactly opposite reasons. This does not give me hope for compromise down the road in March.

But Des Moines is a wildly underrated town...

RGIII is the new Chuck Norris who was the new Bill Bradsky.


I agree that it's not certain how ambitious he is, but all the 2008 books say that he was Obama's 2nd choice for V.P. He could be a good balance if a Democratic Governor is at the top of the ticket.


It seemed that if Romney won there is a good chance the VA governor would have been the Attorney General. Now that that is not possible, and with just a year left in office, what is next?

No idea. Run for Senate?  Probably not.  Bide his time to see what else opens up? I guess. No good options for McDonnell thanks to the ridiculous and outdated one-term limit on governors in Virginia.

So, polarization is not real, just an artifact of gerrymandering? The hateful comments on Washington Post articles and elsewhere on line sure make us look polarized!

Oh, it's very real. I just think, in Congress at least, the way the lines are drawn determines the kind of people who get elected.

Do you think this week's dust up over Ed Markey's residency will be 'why would I shake hands outside of Fenway' (the grassroots disconnect which took down Martha Coakley) or more the 'Native American' side-issue which Warren survived?

Read our piece on this:

How did that work out for Sarah Palin?

She is the exception, not the rule.

And I think comparing Paul Ryan to Sarah Palin does him a tremendous disservice.

That's the halfway point between the winter solstice (the midpoint of winter on any rational calendar) and the vernal equinox, which makes it the actual start of Spring. It was celebrated by the Celts as Imbolc, so not only can you drink, but you can run around the fire naked.

I am for any holiday that allows that.

Top 5 off year races you will be watching?

I wrote a post on it!

What about Ted Cruz? I think he would be able, likely, to be Governor of Texas if he wants, or maybe climb higher..

Am interested to see what he does next. Saw him on CNN yesterday. He is definitely a comer.

It wil be fun to follow Senate foreign relations committee now with McCain, Rand Paul, Rubio..

Yes it will.

Too many reporters bought into the conservative argument that Biden was a joke. He cleaned Paul Ryan's clock. I think non-politicos who aren't unpersuadable Republicans find Biden authentic. Still that big disconnect in DC?

Interesting. Well, if he runs for president in 2016, your theory will be put to the test.

Who is the most likely woman to run for president if Hillary doesn't run - Klobuchar, Warren or Gillibrand?


Tough. I think Gillibrand. But I could definitely make the case for Warren (and have before) as well as Klobuchar.

Christie approval now somewhere north of "apple pie," and rapidly closing in on "Mom." Okay, he's destined to come down a few notches. But if it's only a few, who challenges him for nomination? (Of course this assumes his party is interested in actually WINNING the presidency.)

Rubio, Jindal and maybe Jeb Bush. That's the 2016 top tier along with Christie.

But, I agree, Christie has an authentic-ness that is uncommon in modern American politics.

Come on, being the losing VP candidate does little to no good for the next election. Mondale, Lieberman, Edwards, Palin immediately come to mind. Ryan will not be president in 2016. You can bank on it.

Didn't say he would be president. Said he would have a natural progression to RUN for president, which, by the by, all of the people you mentioned with the exception of Palin did.

Did John Boehner repeat his Worst Week in Washington this week with the Sandy Storm vote being delayed and his performance in vote on New Years Day?


Here's the writeup:

As unpopular as Tom Corbett is at this time, the Democratic bench in the state is pretty thin. Do you see Bob Casey Jr. entering the Gov race? That seemed to be the job he wanted all along.

I thought so...until he came out in favor of the assault weapons ban.

Hi Chris, "but I have been wrong many times before" - that was some kind of typo wasn't it?

Yes. I think that was the caffeine talking.

Will there be a Rounds v. Noem primary and who wins?

I don't think so. I think Rounds keeps out all other ambitious Republicans.

Is too late to get Fix Aaron a Xmas gift?

Never. Suggested gift: 100 copies of "Gospel According to the Fix."

He cleaned Ryan's clock? He interrupted all debate and looked like a baffoon. He tried to use that "your no Jack Kennedy line" and Ryan flung it off like a fly. Biden is a joke.

The answer! Also, buffoon.

Groundhog Day is celebrated on Candlemas, which used to be a Holy Day of Obligation.

Is Candlemas anything like Festivus?

I agree with you that it is stupid but if the Cooch ends up being my gov. I will fall on my knees daily and thank God for it.

The VA Gov race is already the runaway winner of best nicknames race.

Cooch vs The Macker.

Doesn't get any better than that.

Luck is superior. RGIII is nothing more than a product of the hyped up Beltway media.

Luck is awesome.

Not sure RGIII is overrated though. Dude is legit.

Groundhogs are also known as whistle pigs, and we celebrate it in Fairyland by whistling.

I was not aware of that.

... is smarter than Sarah Palin, but that's roughly equivalent to saying he's taller than Danny DeVito.

That's Frank Reynolds to you.

And that's all folks!

Thanks for spending your Friday morning with me. Remember I do this every Friday at 11 am so spread the word. 

See you next week. Until then, be excellent to each other.


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 sons.
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