The Fix Live

Sep 06, 2013

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

Follow @TheFix on Twitter.

Good morning everyone!  President Obama just finished up a press conference in Russia in which he left the door open to proceeding with military action against Syria whether or not Congress approves of it in the coming weeks.  He also acknowledged how tough it will be to win that approval.

Let's get started. Bring on the questions.

You better be drinking a pumpkin spice latte or I won't believe this is really The Fix.

I haven't ordered one just yet. On Christmas, I always wanted to open each present really slowly to make the excitement last. I think I am postponing the first PSL order for that same reason.

I think I will break the seal this afternoon to celebrate the end of the week.

We know that there are lots of people who *strongly* oppose the Syria resolution. Is there anyone who *strongly* supports it? Besides John Kerry. The pro-Israel community, maybe?

There are strong supporters of Syria action (McCain/Graham etc.) but a look at the broad swath of public opinion suggests that most of the passion is against the resolution.

And, passion matters a whole hell of a lot in politics. Read this from Aaron Blake this morning:

I suspect Obama's speech will be all about appealing to congressional Democrats. Few Republicans will much care what he has to say. How will that affect the content of the address?

I think that's probably right. Given how many Republicans are hard "no's" on the resolution, I think Obama's best/only chance is to cobble together a coalition of establishment/hawkish Republicans and the broad bulk of Democrats.

Speech or no speech, however, that is a problematic calculation given that the specter of Iraq looms so large in many liberal Democrats' minds.

Who'd be mad if Obama just said, "OK--I'll listen to you. We won't attack."? Doesn't that help him with independents (who are just as opposed to Syria strike, if not more than partisans)?

Well, I think he is genuinely convinced that using military force against Syria in response to their chemical attacks is the right thing to do.

I think the President, at this point, is far more concerned/interested in the legacy he leaves as president than on how independents view him.

That said, going against Congress' wishes would quite clearly poison (or further poison) his relationship with the legislative branch.

If it looks likely to fail, Boehner keeps it from coming to the floor, right?

Not sure. My guess is that it comes to a vote either way given the gravity of what is being requested and the historic nature of it.  

Voting to use military force isn't the farm bill.

You had your little moment in the sun. The rest of us feigned interest, but real football begins now.

EPL just started too! And my Spurs lost to Arsenal last weekend. Per usual.

Remember for me fall sports go like this: Catholic U. field hockey, Catholic U. field hockey and then everything else.

Behind the scenes, are people saying it was a mistake for Obama to go to Congress at all?

I think many people thought it was a mistake the second President Obama announced he was doing it and even more people feel that way now.

Momentum is clearly against the resolution at the moment. That can obviously change -- particularly with a presidential address to the country -- but it won't be easy given the skepticism from the public for action.

It took long enough, but Gareth Bale is finally at Real Madrid. Wish the transfer windown period would be reduced.

Seriously. SO drawn out and anticlimactic. I am upset Ozil is at Arsenal. Dude is good.

President Obama had the Worst Week in Washington. He is stuck on a no win with Syria

Thanks. Keep the nominations coming.

If the Syria authorization goes down in an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote, the Obama presidency is effectively over, correct? Hard to blame the congressional Republicans when both sides are voting you down.

It's not over.  Politics is full of stories of rebirths, redemptions and second chances. 

But, is it a major blow and a rebuke? Absolutely.

John Kerry, he is leading the president to what will be the worst defeat of his entire political career.

Keep'em coming...

Were people on Capitol Hill and in the administration surprised by Obama's decision to go to Congress? An awful lot of people seem to have been caught off-guard.

Absolutely yes.  Including much of Obama's national security team.

President Obama seemed to make a somewhat snap decision on going to Congress that, at least today, looks politically speaking like a mistake.

Two things jump out at me from the Pew and ABC polls: The lack of obvious divides along demographic and partisan lines. Gender, maybe age. But public opinion looks very different on Syria than it does on most domestic issues. The much greater intensity among opponents than supporters. Far more people "strongly" oppose intervention, than "strongly" support.

That last point is the most important one.

All of the passion is one the side of opposition. And passionate people are the ones who call Members of Congress' and urge them how to vote. That's why you see such lopsided data on calls for/calls against Syria intervention.

It would be nice if reporters pointed out that Rand Paul takes so many popular positions...on non-issues. Wow, lots of people are opposed to boots on the ground. Maybe he can address a tougher issue-surgical strikes-instead of the slippery slope, just like he courageously filibustered droning people in America.

Well, he is on the wrong side -- in terms of public opinion -- on the use of drones. So, there's that.

So why did Obama ask for Congressional approval if he's going to act with or without it?

I don't think he will ultimately act if Congress doesn't approve.

But, I think it would be foolish, politically, for Obama to say that now. He doesn't want to in any way shape or form concede that things might not go his way in the vote. He is trying to project confidence and build momentum. And you don't do that by engaging in a discussion of what happens if you lose.

What will Obama have to say on Tuesday to convince the public/Congress and get the Syrian action approved?

Not sure.


1. Personalize it. Talk about the kids who were gassed.

2. Moral argument: Make it less about policy than about the moral rightness of responding to what Assad did.

3. Emphasize again (and then again) that this is no Iraq.

That said, I am not sure he can convince the public with a single speech.

He just tossed another TD pass.

So good.

My favorite athlete by a LONG shot.

Plenty of speculation on R side for Veep pics. Lets assume Hill Dawg wins Nom easily. Her 3 most likely Pics?

Tim Kaine

Mark Warner

WHoever is perceived to finish second to her in primaries.

How do you propose to not be boring?

More juggling. And a few card tricks.  Maybe ballon animals.

I don't think Obama can win Republican members on his own. I think he needs some combination of Boehner et al, and Republican graybeards who see the presidency under fire. But I don't know who would fit the latter. Condi? Scowcroft?

Boehner and Cantor ain't going to bend over bckwards to help Obama on this or anything.

Condi might be able to move some votes. But remember, the key to this resolution passing is for the President to convince Members of Congress to vote against the stated wishes of their most passionate constituents. That's a very difficult ask.

Florida led the country for convictions of public officials from 2000 to 2010 (NYTimes Sept 1 2013 article). We had three Mayors in Dade county alone indicted in August. Would you say FL is the most corrupt state for politicians and public officials? Or maybe somewhere else is number 1 because of the magnitude of crimes. What say you?


I still think Louisiana, New Jersey and Illinois are the Big 3 but you make a strong case.

And your question reminds me that it's time to do an updated 10 most corrupt political states list on the Fix. I'll get started on that.

If I were the President, I'm not sure I would ask Congress the time of day. Why bother with them? The Republicans are against him because they are against him. So, again, why bother??

I think he thought/thinks it would significantly strengthen his hand with the world community AND it was the right thing to do.

Of course, the right thing to do and the politically smart thing to do are often not the same thing.

The EPL will always dominate this chat over the concussion filled NFL.

The NFL is going to be the tobacco industry in a decade.  

I enjoyed Ryan Seacrest getting booed last night in Denver.

I love a good booing. One of my dreams is to be viciously booed by a large group in public.  Or someone just yelling "You suck" at me.

The Republicans tie themselves in knots trying not to support a war, while Obamacare toddles on.

Niccolo Machiavelli, welcome to the chat!

Mike Rogers of Michigan for the Republicans (a bit of a dark horse) and Chris Van Hollen of Maryland. Likely or not?

Next D leader race: Xavier Becerra, Van Hollen, Debbie Wasserman Schultz and maybe Steve Israel

Next R leader race: Cantor vs Ryan. Unless Ryan runs for president.

I say Washington College had the worst week in Washington, having been chewed up by the mighty CUA Cardinals. Of course, maybe in 36 hours Elizabethtown will deserve the honor. (Darn these early deadlines and Saturday matches.)

THIS is how you get your question posted in a Fix chat. Well done, sir/madam.

In your opinion, which potential GOP candidate who is getting a lot of attention now will not run in 2016?

Scott Walker.

How is there the remotest chance this Congress would even support Obama on an "I love Christmas" resolution?


I do think that foreign policy matters do tend to break the traditional partisan divides in Congress so there was reason for President Obama to think he might get it passed. And it still might.

But I think he underestimated the Iraq hangover among Dems and the resistance of Republicans.

How much of the opposition to the Syria action is based on the usual "If Obama is for it, we are against it."? If GWB was proposing this wouldn't the Republicans be falling all over themselves to support it?

Remember that lots of the undecideds and even some of the announced opponents are Democrats....

He's sitting there saying "Now?! NOW people are opposed to this stuff?! I could have been president! That is, if I had a personality and some ethics and didn't make everyone who meets me groan."

Also, this:

Does the ol bill have another chance at the prez, or did his scandal in 09 poison his chances? He seems like he'd be a good hillary backup if not for his scandals which s if anyone remembers them.

Um, no. Actually: NO.

If you had to guess, do you think she will run for the first open senate seat that comes along (likely either 16' or 18') or will she challenge Gavin Newsom for governor in 2018?

I think she and gavin work something out....especially if Boxer decides to retire. If Boxer runs again in 2016 (and she absolutely could) then the 2018 governors primary is going to be AMAZING.

If only Peyton's hairline was as strong as his arm.

As a man whose hairline is beating its own retreat, I resist making jokes about others.

In the words of George Costanza: "Live, dammit."

Super Bowl Pick?


I am a Giants fan from way back. And I have an odd affinity for Eli Manning's I could care less about anything attitude.

You have to look at convictions of corrupt public officials on a per capita basis, not simply at the number (volume) of corrupt officials indicted or arrested. Otherwise, smaller states (Rhode Island and the District of Columbia) won't get the ridicule and public humiliation they richly deserve.

Fair. And I would NOT want to leave Rhodey or DC out of the mix.

I nominate the Baltimore Ravens. Guys, did you forget that you're the Superbowl champions? Or were you waiting for Congress to authorize your defense?

Someone should check the validity of T-Sizzle's degree from Ball So Hard University.

What's your prediction for tonight's USA / Costa Rica World Cup qualifier? I am thinking a cagey 0-0.

US 8, Ticos 0.

Saint Landon scores 9 goals but has one called back due to receding hairline.

I would love to read the real story of what happened in the 1984 election in the "The Bloody 8th" Indiana district. Who really won, did the Dems steal (Leon Panetta ran the recount) the rise of Newt. You should write that!!

You and 10 other people!

As someone who has had an entire bar full of people boo them and tell them that they suck for wearing an opposing teams colors, I can honestly say it's a ton of fun.

Yes. I have always dreamed of being a professional wrestling heel. Just soaking in the boos.

My favorite part of the entire NBA is the draft when David Stern comes out and people boo him like crazy. He smiles, drinks it in, let's it go on for like 15 seconds. That dude is a boss.

Do you see any 2016 Democrats jumping on the anti-Syria bandwagon? Or the anti-NSA bandwagon, for what it's worth?

Elizabeth Warren. 

Weird that he's gotten himself into this political mess when he has so clearly been reluctant to get into Syria *at all.*

Yes.  Agree. He's now in a VERY tough spot. Either:

1) Find a way to convince a skeptical Congress to go along with him.

2) Go it (sort of) alone. 

3) back down on Syria.

Three bad options.

Heard a recent poll found 40 percent think Obamacare has been repealed, what does that say about US citizens, magical thinking?

I posted on that. It's remarkable.

Location? Soundtrack? Drink?

Listening to "Yeezus" by Kanye right now.  Finished up "Southeastern" by Jason Isbell a few minutes ago.

And I am in Post TV world HQ.  Plotting today's "In Play" show.  Bookmark this to watch every day:

Given that he largely has the Land Commissioner position locked up, what is the next step in his career? Does he run for Senate or for Governor the next time either office opens up?

I think gov the next time it opens up...

If he's elected mayor, does he become the next liberal icon (a la Elizabeth Warren), or does he get bogged down in the details of governing, like so many big-city mayors?

I don't think so.  The financial future of the City looks troublesome for whoever is elected the next mayor. De Blasio (or anyone else) will likely be bogged down trying to solve that and preserve some political viability.

He has no chance. Please stop talking about him as a serious presidential contender. Thanks.

On the contrary, I think he has a real chance if he runs. I think he ultimately doesn't run though because I think Paul Ryan runs.  And Walker and Ryan won't run against one another.

Does he wear flip-flops on the Senate floor or just vote that way?


Other than O'Malley, it's hard for Democrats to make much noise, so he sort of has an advantage when it comes to Syria. Still, are other potential Hillary challengers (or maybe she doesn't run after all...) going to line up with the Democratic base and oppose Syria? They could make noise now but might look like Obama bashers. I guess they could talk it up later, right?

Elizabeth. Warren.

You really think he's running for president? Why?

Smart people tell me he is seriously thinking about it.

What are the chances that she runs for president?

15%. But if she does run, she is the only person this side of Joe Biden who could give Hillary reason to worry.

Well Stern is retiring- this was his last draft. Maybe you should start lobbying the new commissioner to let you be the new draft announcer?

Oh my gosh. I would love that.

Or maybe I can just petition Vince McMahon to be the newest member of the Wyatt family.

Ever thought about doing a P and P on the road in say New York?

Yes.  Would you come?

Also, for you DC types, the next P and P is MONDAY AT 7 PM!

Not really -- just wanted to make another one of your dreams come true.

Thank you.  But, for the full effect we would need to be in a packed room and you would have to shout just as I started speaking....

What the heck was that? Present?


Are you surprised she came out against Gay Marriage?

Not really. She has to match Mike Enzi on conservative credentials so she can turn the primary into a generational choice. Given that, she had to come out against gay marriage

Can the Republicans Filibuster the Syria Resolution? Would this turn everything topsy-turvy because Obama can call them cowards for not even taking a vote?

They could try but I would be stunned if they did given the opposition in the House.

What's your prediction for the NYC Mayor's race? I see a DeBlasio/Quinn runoff on the D side with Carlose Danger doing better than expected, enough to make his endorsement valuable. On the Republican side Lhota wins, but Catsimatides makes him sweat. I know what the polling says, But Cats signs are everywhere in Brooklyn and SI (you know, where there are actual Republicans in NYC) and he's been on TV and the radio more.

I could see Thompson sneaking into a runoff with de Blasio. I find it hard to believe Quinn makes it into the runoff but the NYT endorsement may give her campaign just enough momentum to do it.

Weiner is done for. Single digits.

Ugh... Bills fan here. Last time I cried over sports was as a 10 year old watching Scott Norwood missing that kick. You just dropped a peg or two in my book

Sorry! I grew up in Connecticut!

The libertarian/liberal alliance is not new--not to Obama, not to American history.

Fair enough.

When is it definitive? Is there a link to a preliminary one you have? I am a nerd who wants to sketch out predictions.

Not for a loooong time. Secretaries of State, state legislatures, governors and lots of other people get to have a say...and they will keep holding their powder until they see what everyone else is doing.

Fading fast?

He can't feel good about where he is right now.

Congress, now that the NFL settled its conclusion lawsuit, congressional committees will not hold hearings giving members an opportunity to bloviate and showboat on the issue.

Oh I wouldn't assume they don't do that anyway.

Any predictions on the aussie election? Willing to wager any dollary-dos on kt?

The just settled their case with the players, it's over, this country loves American Football too much, the NFL is going nowhere.

We shall see.

Has anyone heard anything from him about Syria?

He, Christie, Walker and other folks who don't need to have an opinion on it generally haven't taken one.

That's all folks!

Remember we do this thing every Friday at 11 am. Spread the word!

Thanks and have a good weekend.


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.
Recent Chats
  • Next: