The Fix Live

Apr 12, 2013

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

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Good morning everyone. What an AMAZING week in  Washington: the McConnell tapes, the gun bill AND immigraton. 

Let's get to it.

I'm trying to understand the logic behind his Social Security attacks on Obama, but just can't. What's his thinking here? Or is it just "whatever Obama supports is bad even if I've supported it in the past"?

I have NO idea.  

He clearly got himself WAY off the reservation and then, weirdly, chose to stand behind it when the rest of his party made clear to him he was off the reservation.

I suppose two theories could hold: a) Walden really believes what he said about chained CPI or b) he thought it was a golden issue for candidates in 2014 and as chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee wanted to signal that.

Of course, when Boehner is out disagreeing with's not a good issue.

Do these 8 senators interested in immigration speak for anyone but themselves? While they may have agreed to something, how much is the rest of Congress on board. I just don't see Boehner letting any Democratic senator tell him what he must bring up for a vote if he wants to keep his job as Speaker. No one in the Tea Party cares about the national Republican Party or they would have gotten with the program a long time ago.

It's a very good point.

I think there is quite clearly a disconnect between the GOP leadership and the GOP base on things like immigration and gay marriage.

So, I am not sure how much it means when the Gang of 8 introduces its compromise bill next week. It's going to get tons of national press coverage but remember that Members of Congress don't get elected nationally. They care only about what their constituents in their district or their state think.

How was David Vitter able to survive his real sex scandal while non sex scandal pols like tickling Eric Messa, Craiglist Congressman Chris Lee, and Anthony Tweet Weiner were shown the door?

Well, he refused to resign.  The other three resigned.

Vitter banked on the fact that the state and national media would move on at some point and that he could weather the attacks until then.

He was right.

What would you do if you were a pitcher on the mound being charged by a batter?

Run. That's my default approach to all fights.

Does this week sew up his reelection?


He is still going to have a very tough race. But if expanded background checks become law, Toomey will have done himself real good in the Philly suburbs where he needs to win to claim a second term in 2016.

I'm in. I want to see The Fix talk trash during a pickup game in Kareem goggles.

I get a little intense when I play. The people who I play with at Gonzaga College High School in DC can attest to that.

Stupid amateurs, or the stupidest amateurs? Seriously, if you're on the liberal side, as I solidly am, this is an acute HEADDESK inducer, especially coming after those racist comments on McConnell's wife. While the recording makes Team McConnell look like jerks, it's not a code-red scandal for them, and this does nothing but validate his claims of victimhood.

Really bad/dumb.

McConnell is not someone easily made into a victim of the politics of personal destruction. But, Progress Kentucky managed to pull it off.

I liked this BuzzFeed story on how bad the group has been:

How do you pronounce your last name?


Or you can just call me The Fix.

About this: Can it help him turning Tea Party and conservatives definitely around him to win in 2014?

It's helping him raise money. And it's also making it more difficult for Democrats to attack him since they have to be careful not to get lumped into the Progress Kentucky thing.

He still faces a (likely) real race. But this week helped him.

What do you think about yesterday NY Post headline about Weiner? It was amazing xD

I wrote about it on Fix:

I think it's a real thing that if Weiner ran he would have to deal with this sort of daily drumbeat from the NYC tabs.  And that will just keep his past transgressions in the news...

What's with men's hair on guys from Kentucky? Rand Paul and Jacob Conway, call your, cough, barbers.

I LIKE Rand Paul's hair.

I would love to see this happen, only so we could see a possible Carl Paladino v Anthony Weiner matchup!

Holy cow. That would rule.

Does he secretly hope that Markey or Lynch loses so he can then run in 2014.

From what I hear about JKIII (and, yes, that is what people call him), he is taking his time -- in no rush to get to the Senate immediately.

But, his last name is Kennedy. So....

Five favorite songs / versions / why?

1. Darkness on the Edge of Town

2. Trapped

3. Thunder Road

4. Backstreets

5. My City of Ruins

How do you and your family mark Squirrel Week?

I dress like Bullwinkle, Fix Jr goes as Rocky, Fix III is Boris and Mrs. Fix is Natasha.

Most stories about Mitch McConnell say that he is unpopular in Kentucky. How so, as he always wins!

McConnell is VERY effective in defining his opponent as out of touch with average Kentuckians.

He knows that he will never be the most popular politician (or person) in the state but that if he makes his opponent even less palatable he will win.

And, he is very, very, very good at doing just that.

Hi, Mr. Fix, thanks for considering this vocabulary question, if you can. In a couple of columns during your reporting on his "wetback" statement, you referred to Alaska Congressman Don Young as an "at large" member of congress. Is "at large" correct, when the entire state is a congressional district? I thought at-large referred to elected officials whose area covers more than one "district" or precinct or ward -- e.g., in D.C. there are 8 wards, but 4 members of the D.C. council are elected at-large, representing all 8 wards. (Council Chairman might make it 5 -- am not sure about that.)

I think it's both.

All members from all states with a single House seat are referred to as at-large members -- as in they represent the state "at large" not just any single district or region.

I can't figure out yet if this recording incident with Mitch McConnell will help or hurt him. Might depend on how they spin it?

I would say the way the week has played out has been VERY good for McConnell, very bad for Progress Kentucky and mildly bad for Democrats more generally.

Again, any time McConnell is able to play the victim in a political context, it's a bad week for Democrats and a good one for him.

Thanks to what looks like heroic levels of bungling from Progress Kentucky, that's exactly what he got to do this week.

Who is Hillary's veep?

O'Malley? Cuomo? 

In or out in Republican 2016 platform?

In.  The base has NOT moved on the issue. I think removing it would cause a revolt.

Thought it was an average Wrestlemania with pretty obvious results, especially Undertaker, Triple H and Cena winning


Only wrestler I find compelling is CM Punk. And apparently he is banged up and is going to step back for a while.

He is the favorite but say he loses, I think the GOP would turn to Thune. He's from a safe state, conservative, but has a pleasant temperament.


His actions could be explained by a desire to win Worst Week in Washington.

And he would have if not for a little group called "Progress Kentucky".....

People aren't dumb. McConnell is trying to pin this on "The Left" while the NRSC is saying national Democrats were involved. Why can't people stick to the facts?

Well, a Dem county chair said that two folks affiliated with "Progress Kentucky" told him they did it. One of those two has lawyered up and the other one has disappeared. Which is kind of suspicious, no?

You going to be at Nats Park for any of these games this weekend? Should be an epic series.

Am not. BIG field hockey weekend for the Fix fam!

Did he finally take himself off the 2016 speculation list when he folded like a wet paper towel on his plan to abolish income tax? Will we at last be able to relegate him to electoral Siberia? Even LA voters are starting to look over his shoulder to see who might be next.

His numbers are not good. He is still running for president though. I actually think some of the things that have brought his numbers down in Louisiana might help him at the national level including the failed attempt to get rid of the income tax.

Almost as good at making people dislike the opponent more as is Harry Reid.

They are the two masters. No question.

Should I give Fix Aaron Power of Attorney?

I have.

Do you miss the competition of Squirrel Chat. And btw, where is Milbank when we need a good chat

Seems like the squirrel knew what was good for him and stepped aside. Smart move, squirrel.

Would you be surprised if I told you that I am asking you from Spain? A spaniard very interested in USA politics


Let's just say it out loud: Major Backfire?

That is an understatement.

Couldn't be Cuomo--they're both residents of New York (for now at least). Unless she thinks she can do without NY's 30-odd electoral votes.

GOOD point.

When is Virginia going to get into the 1970s and eliminate the one term rule?

TOTALLY agree. It is a ridiculous law that makes the governor a lame duck the second he or she gets elected. Dumb.

What losing Senate candidate in the last two or three years would you like to see run again in another state? And, which state? Maybe one example that would be "for real" and one "for fun."

Harold Ford -- anywhere!

In your opener, you did not mention the feud between Ann Coulter and Meghan McCain (which is detailed on the WP's front page, today). If I made an online threat against Meghan McCain, I would be in jail most likely. But I do not understand why celebrities get a pass: Ted Nugent threatening the President and Coulter threatening McCain. Do you have an explanation?

I need a good feud.

Ideas on who to feud with?

He seems to be crafting an image of someone who can reach across to democrats. I thought he was Mr. Conservative in the house. What do you make of him/that?

On fiscal issues he's very conservative.  But on things like immigration he is much more toward the center.  Remember that a rich guy spent a bunch of money running to his right in the 2012 GOP primary.

A Dem County Chair is not the DSCC, no?

It is not. But, the way Progress Kentucky is acting?  Seems fishy -- at best.

If hypothetically she becomes the nominee do you think she potentially expands the playing field? How about Arkansas or West Virginia? Missouri? Arizona?

Not Arkansas and I don't think West Virginia. Yes Arizona and maybe MAYBE Missouri.

"Name that Cornyn" just doesn't have the same ring.

Hard to argue with that logic.

I saw somewhere that he was rated the most endangered incumbent. The GOP could not even find a candidate to run against him 5 years ago. How did he fall so fast?

It's Arkansas. And he is a Democrat.

Chris, the earlier question on Toomey hit on an interesting point. How much will the GOP senators elected in the 2010 cycle from (subsequently) 2012 Obama states (WI, PA, NH, FL) have to track towards the center for 2016, given the likely very different electorate that will be out at the polls? In particular, if you take out Florida, those other states are usually reliably blue states in presidential years. Thanks.

I think substantially. It's why Ron Johnson in Wisconsin is in deep trouble.

How often do you get to Congress? And do they stop to speak with you? Comment: Rand Paul's hair may be OK, but I don't like what's under it.

Not as often as I like but one of my New Year's resolutions is to get up there more.

Not only does it make guys like Warner, Kaine, and Mccdonnell lame ducks, it makes them start running for President or Senate right away.

It's a bad law. There's a reason it's only a law in one state.

Do you Fix, have any interest in politics outside our borders?

Everywhere but Canada.



I have to cut out a littl early today because I am hosting "Andrea Mitchell Reports" today at 1 pm and have to prepare. (How's THAT for a name drop!)

Thanks as always for joining me. We do this every Friday at 11 am so spread the word!


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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