The Fix Live

Aug 09, 2013

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

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Good morning everyone! Happy Friday.

On my mind today:

1. I am through 2 episodes of "House of Cards" and, well, it stinks. Prove me wrong.

2. President Obama presser today. 3 pm.

3. Is an iced mocha less bad for you than a hot mocha?

Let's do it.

Lundergan Grimes passes the eye test. She looks sharp and tough enough to take on McConnell and all the reinforcements helping him keep his seat. She isn't one of those candidates who makes me say, "OK, there's no way I can even imagine this person winning a tough race."

I agree.

Writing our latest Senate rankings as we speak.  Kentucky is moving up the chart because ALG is credible if not outstanding. Her initial Senate announcement was a disaster but I think national Democrats have stepped in and righted the ship somewhat.

And, McConnell never wins with an overwhelming percentage of the vote. He got in the low 50s against bruce Lunsford in 2008. And Bruce Lunsford was, um, a terrible candidate.

I assume the fine people in Kentucky are going to hear this over and over again in campaign commercials?

Matt Bevin -- mcConnell's primary challenger -- probably already has that ad cut.

I would say that, generally, people don't care about staff stories. That's insidery stuff. But if Bevin is smart he can use this staff story to illuminate the narrative that mcConnell is trying to pool the wool over conservatives eyes.

I really liked what deputy Fix Sean Sullivan wrote about it all this morning:

What do you make of Chuck making news (rather than reporting it)?

I like that Chuck is willing to put himself out there and express what I assume is a common thought at NBC News.


I think the best bet for someone beating Hillary in the Dem primary is someone not from the Acela Corridor, someone who is extremely personable. She's going to win the establishment and the money but could lose if she doesn't connect with the actual voters. So...anyone come to mind?

Beating her would be very difficult. I honestly think the best person positioned to do so would be Elizabeth Warren. But I see no scenario where Warren runs against Hillary.

I think a Russ Feingold or Howard Dean would also be interesting but would ulitmately not be able to come close to knocking off Hillary.

Would Corbett on the ballot help or hurt Democrats' chances at winning?


Fix, Should the Dem primary be competitive (ie if HRC does not run) what do you think will be the main issues that the candidates will use to differentiate themselves from one another?

GREAT question.

1. Labor will be a big split. What's the right place public/private unions.

2. Libertarian/establishment particularly on NSA etc.

Other ideas?

The race has gotten so good that we have not even reached 2014 yet. My money is that he had the Worst Week in Washington.

I don't think that's the worst bet you have ever made.

Where have you taken your talents this morning? What are you listening to?

Modern Vampires in the City by Vampire Weekend.

Which is my top 3 albums of 2013 so far along with "Southeastern" by Jason Isbell and "The Beast In Its Tracks" by Josh Ritter.

What is his biggest obstacle to winning the GOP nomination? And what is his biggest asset? Personally, I would pick (1) widespread distrust among GOP elites of his foreign policy views and (2) his ability to build upon his father's political following.

I generally agree.

I think the biggest obstacle is that he is not, at the end of the day, anywhere close to the party's establishment on foreign policy. And, usually, an establishment candidate -- McCain, Romney, Bush -- wins the nomination.

That said, i think Rand has the best case to make that he can grow and change the group of voters a Republican candidate can appeal to.

I'd have to think Rubio is no longer #1. You need Christie and Rand Paul (I can't believe I'm saying this) ahead of him, right?

We ranked last week and I left Rubio at #1, Christie at #2 and Rand at #2.

I could be conv9inced to flipo flop Christie and Rubio...

Here's my GOP rankings: 

My question is short: What reason does Weiner have to stay in the NYC mayoral race? Is he trolling?

Why get out now if you are him? Why not see it through? it's another month.

Will The Cillizza be at RFK tomorrow night to see Chelsea playing Roma?

No. I wish. Although Chelsea and Arsenal go back and forth for me on EPL team I dislike the most.

What did you think of the lighting quick legislative process illustrated in HOC?

Yeah, just put 6 kids in a room and they will write the bill.

Is it sad that college football and pumpkin spice lattes are the first things I think of when picturing fall?

I think of the following things in order when it comes to fall:

1. Catholic University field hockey

2. Catholic University field hockey

3. VA governor's race

4. Pumpkin Spice Lattes

5. The Great Pumpkin

I was excited to have another "The West Wing" to watch, but found that "House of Cards" wasn't even "Scandal"-worthy. That said, it does get better after the first two episodes. I'd say about episode six it falls into an interesting narrative that at least makes it average. So, have you rated good DC TV shows? Does "The West Wing" lead the field?

Ok, I will try to stick with it. But Mrs. Fix and I are a united front on the fact that ythe first 2 episodes stink.

Things I don't like:

1. Frank Underwood speaking directly to the camera to say things like "I dream of their faces lightly salted sizzling on a frying pan."

2. The Robin Wright character. Everything about it.

3. The portrayal of female reporters.

4. The coke-sniffing PA Congressman


West Wing or House of Cards- which is the more accurate depiction of how business gets done in Washington? Seems like House of Cards better handles the secret dealings and corporate influence in elections and laws.

I wasn't a huge "West Wing" guy either. I know, I know...I am lame.

I DO believe so much of what happens in DC and why is personality driven. But "House of Cards" turns that idea so outlandish that's it hard for me to get into it.

Keep watching . . .

I will. Maybe.

Fix Sean is doing a great job!!


Anything with ice is less bad for you, since the ice takes up some of the volume in the cup. Unless you ordered a Grande, Lard Lad.

I ordered a Grande. OH MAN.

I'm not surprised you don't like the show. People often roll their eyes at TV shows that portray their own profession (lawyers complain about lawyer shows, doctors about doctor shows, etc). House of Cards doesn't exactly portray political journalism in the most realistic light...

If I was a female political reporter, the Zoe Barnes character would drive me insane.

She developed Frank Underwood as a source because she went to his house and showed him a picture of him looking at her butt? Huh?

Explain the bad blood between McConnell and Kentucky conservatives. He started off in politics as a protege of moderate Sen. John Sherman Cooper (Vietnam dove, big civil rights supporter) -- is there a tribal sense of "not one of us?"

Well, he is the Senate Minority Leader. That equals establishment. And many grassroots conservatives loathe the establishment.

Where is Cupcake chat?

Been asking myself that same thing all day.

Does he reconsider not running in 2016? Or does he position himself behind the Clintons to get on the short list for VP?

Yes, of course he does. Read this:

You've got to get through episode 4 or 5. My initial reaction to the show is that it feels like a play, not a TV show. It took me aback at first, but what exactly is your aversion to it?

See above. But I will go through a few more episodes.

To me the gulf between "Broadchurch" or "Orphan Black" and "HOC" is like the gulf between the athletic ability of me and LeBron.

I don't think it will be tough to beat her. One of the main reasons she lost in 08' is people are burnt out on the Clinton's. Why would that change 8 years later.

There is no Barack Obama figure out there that I can see...

Support or opposition to a "grand bargain" will be more divisive for a non-Hillary primary.

Ah, interesting. Good thought. If we ever get to a grand bargain of course. I am skeptical.

One another problem: his sort of libertarian economics -- e.g. big cutbacks in social programs -- could be a VERY tough sell in a general election.

Yup. He broadens certain parts of the GOP electorate and shrinks others.  He's intriguing.

Curious to know why you have such a negative initial reaction? Cast, plot, pacing? Fourteen Emmy noms is a rather strong vote of confidence?

Talking to the camera in snarky yet badly written asides.

Unrealistic characters that are built entirely on bad stereotypes.

Assuming Hillary runs, who is likely to actually challenge her for the nomination? Martin O'Malley? Anybody else? You mentioned Feingold and Dean, but do they seem to be actually moving in that direction? PS I am loving Dan Balz's book.

BUY DAN'S BOOK! A great read.

My husband loved it and watched the entire season over a weekend. I found it too over the top. (I'm the other husband, so it's not a man/woman thing.)

I just think it spends WAY too much time on bad DC cliches.

Thanks, I was getting kind of tired of my Pandora shuffle.

All amazing. The Isbell album is freaking amazinmg.

What do you think of Malcolm Tucker (aka Peter Capaldi) being the new Doctor on Doctor Who?

I know nothing of this though I saw it was a big deal with people I like over the weekend. Do I need to add this to the Fix watch list?

Sorry, temperature doesn't affect calorie counts (if it did, I'd eat everything at that one temperature). Please stick with House of Cards, as it gets better soon. As for Senor Danger, I actually want him to stay in the race. Let him lose badly and figure out that he has no political future and has to find something else to do to meet his insatiable need for attention, which isn't funded by taxpayers.

I endorse almost this entire tweet.

Why now? Will there be a moment of silence for Helen Thomas? Will any news be committed? Does it seem like we're hearing less and less from Joe Biden?

He's going on vacation for 8 days. He wants to sound off on a bunch of topics before he does that. A presser is his best chance to do that.

I'm a History major hoping to go to grad school with a focus on the presidency. What do you think are some essential books on this topic?

Check this list of the besgt biographies of each of the presidents:

Grande is 16 oz. but a Venti (iced) is 24 oz. You are not in gallon bucket territory with a grande.

I've always though a small was 64 oz.

I will be interested to hear whether your opinion of her changes over the course of the show. Mine did a 180 by the end.

Ok...I may stick around just for that. I don't like when married couoples relationships are portrayed so unrealistically.

That's what made me LOVE "Friday Night Lights". The Connie Britton-Kyle Chandler relationship is the closest thing to a real marriage I have ever seen on TV.

I dropped HOC pretty quickly. Have you cracked into Orange is the New Black yet?

Haven't yet. But planning to.

One of The Fix's best qualities--no false hubris.


How does Walter White's story end?

Now THAT is a TV show. I am only in the middle of season 3 though. I need to get ON IT.

Her poll numbers are about twice what they were in 2005. Democratic activists and officeholders are eager for her to run, when they were cool to her eight years ago.

Agreed.  She is in a stronger position today than she was at this time in 2005. 

Are you on Facebook? Will you let Fix Jr. have a Facebook page?

If you had to guess at these men's favorite candidates for 2016, who would they be?

George W. Bush = Jeb Bush

McCain = Christie

Romney = Paul Ryan

a great HUD Secretary. Bobby Jindal seems like HHS.

And both of them just grimaced.

Who are some up and coming Senators who haven't gotten a lot of attention...yet.

Michael Bennet

Tim Scott

Rand Paul. I kid.

Forgetting Senor Danger for a second, how is Mr. Spitzer doing in the polls?

I think he will probably win. Which is amazing.

May I suggest to the young lad "The Gosspel According to Fix"

My gosh yes.

I don't think her losing in 2008 had much to do with people being sick of the Clintons. It was the combination of an extraordinary opponent and an important wedge issue (Iraq) on which she was out of the step with the base. Even given that, she barely lost. As you point out, there is no extraordinary opponent this time. There is also no wedge issue, and being out of government she can take any position she wants going forward.

Totally agree.

Would add that her 2008 campaign was also outmaneuvered in terms of the delegate chase by the Obama team.

No it doesn't affect calorie count of what goes into the cup but it does take up volume that would otherwise be filled with more of the offending beverage. This, in turn, reduces the number of calories that would otherwise be in the drink.

I knew it!  This provides me justification to get ANOTHER iced mocha later. Win.

Did you ever see the British original series?

Now it's on the Fix watch list.

How does McConnell beat the establishment moniker when you have 28.6 years in the Senate, 10+ years in the top two positions in the Senate Republican conference plus 4 years as Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee Chair?

He can't. He just has to hope he can disqualify Biven and ALG. Which, as his past campaigns has shown, he is quite good at.

If you took a secret ballot of Republican officeholders (and other big shots), who would be their favorite choice for 2016? Least favorite? (Newt in 2012 clearly was a big "least favorite.")

In terms of most likeable?

Jeb probably would be at the top. Ted Cruz would be at or near the bottom.

Enough of these boring cable and Internet shows... You people have to watch "The Middle" and "Modern Family".

Also, "Two and a Half Men". Am I right? No?

I have read and re-read your piece on political reporting. I think reporting has been diminished in recent times. Whenever an article comes up, one has to first determine where the reporter is coming from and determining what her or his possible bias is or that of her/his editors. Except for Dan Balz and 95% of the Fix articles of course. I wish editorializing would stay on the editorial pages.

I think there is a BIG difference between reported analysis and editorializing. I try to spend all of my time doing the former.

And, yes, political journalism is absolutely changing. But I don't think it's dying. Just changing.

(Instructed not to take Amazon questions--or make any comments?) What are your thoughts? Or do you not have an opinion because that would somehow violate some misplaced oath of loyalty to objectivism?

I've written a ton about it.

Read this:

And this:

Any chance he pulls a John Thune and wins two years after a loss?

I do not.  I think Republicans want Rep. Steve Daines for that open seat race in Montana. Not Rehberg.

There is still the issue of the female reporter, but it's handled much more creepily (and with the counterbalancing strong character of the wife, which is completely bungled in the American version). That said, my wife is a journalist and is so livid about the female reporter that she will hit (not quite literally, but pretty durn close) anyone who mentions the show in her presence.

Good for her. I think i would feel the same way.

Social security cuts the biggest....marijuana decriminalization as a dark horse to get someone a second look.

Intriguing.  Of course, Rand would support decriminalization methinks..

Having seen it done many times, it's not that far from the truth! But I agree that HoC is mostly awful.

"Get some Febreze in there." -- Frank Underwood. 


Care to venture a guess how the new highest level management at the WaPo may affect The Fix empire?

Fix empire!

Did you see her on the Daily Show last night? Thoughts?

I didn't but am planning to go watch.

I wrote this a few weeks back but let me re-say it: I think Gillibrand has done more for her national prospects than just about any other candidate mentioned for 2016.

How can you rank Christie so high? Rubio seems to be a little hurt by immigration, but Christie's disagreements with the base are far more numerous and his personality does not ingratiate him to voters outside of New Jersey after prolonged exposure. Really, Ted Cruz needs to be higher.

I think people are undervaluing the Christie stock at the moment.

And if Christie and Rubio aren't #1, who is? Rand?  Too many issues with the establishment. I think the next best case would be for Scott Walker...

Do you have any sense of which way this race is trending at the moment? It seems like they should both be trending down, but in a two-horse race I guess that is impossible.

I don't think people like either of their choices. The SEC investigation into Terry's company is a building problem for him..

I think the cold beverage cups are bigger than the hot beverage cups - at Starbucks anyway - so you get the same amount regardless of ice. Sorry. But hey, its Friday so grab another one as a treat!

I endorse this.

Will Letterman and Fallon be asking the questions?

I see what you did there.

Hail Caesar! Hail Caesar! Friends, Washingronians, Countrymen, lend me your ears!

Getting this put on a bumper sticker. Right after I get this on a bumper sticker: "I'm not a businessman I'm a business, man."

No, no, no. He would be a godsend to Dem turnout without Obama on the ticket.

And maybe a godsend to the GOP for turnout too.

And I am out like realistic dialogue on "House of Cards". 


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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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