The Fix Live

Sep 13, 2013

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

Follow @TheFix on Twitter.

Good morning everyone!

Music: Damien Rice

Food: pumpkin scone

Drink: Grande Mocha.

Let's make it happen.

Is there something about the end of the first year of the 2nd term that causes presidents to hit a wall. This is the point in GWB's presidency where people tuned him out, and it feels the same way now with Obama. Do people just want something new 5 years in?

It's an interesting point. I think there may be a push by presidents to get as much done as possible in the first year or 18 months of a second term because they know that lame duck status is rapidly approaching.

That may mean that there is an overreaching tendency as they try to bite off as much more than they can can chew.

The US is not the only country that is weary of war. Look at the UK, where the House of Commons blocked intervention in Syria.

Yup. And I think that's at the core of President Obama's problem here. He knows there is NO political appetite for another conflict but also believes there is a moral imperative to act. 

I haven't seen any recent poll numbers on the VA governors race - what do they look like? And how do you see them changing in final 6 weeks of the race?

Well, Cuccinelli is shuffling his campaign team -- which is never a good sign. (

I think it's clear at the moment that Terry McAuliffe is ahead by a narrow but steady margin. And Cuccinelli is taking on water on Star Scientific, which is why he decided to return the $18K in contributions from Jonny Williams.

Still time to turn it around. But, Terry is ahead.

He won a strange race just to get to the Senate, hasn't done anything except embarrass himself on TV and upset conservatives with CIR (without the accomplishment), and is completely overshadowed by Rand and Cruz. He doesn't even deserve to be in the conversation just because he's Latino and Florida. That won't sway Republican primary voters.


I am less pessimistic about Rubio than you are because I think he remains a talented communicator with a very strong team around him.

But, I am  knocking him off my #1 ranking in the 2016 presidential rankings that are coming out later today.

I think it's pretty ridiculous to fault Barack Obama for not bringing along Democrats (or Republicans) in support of intervention in Syria, when public opinion is as one-sided as it is. Particularly when the intensity is all on the anti-war side. For the next several years, I think any president (Democrat or Republican) will have to tread lightly when it comes to military action overseas. Back to the 1970s or even the 1930s.

I think you may be on to something. The bipartisan resistance in Congress coupled with public opinion opposing the use of force in Syria is telling.

1. NYC is actually even more Democratic than it once was. Obama's 82% last year set a new record for margins in the city for presidential candidates. Good chance that Giuliani wouldn't have won with today's electorate. 2. There's no desire for a "fourth Bloomberg term." 3. Nobody knows Joe Lhota, who is not a star prosecutor (Giuliani) or a multi - billionaire (Bloomberg). 4. Lhota headed the MTA, which everyone loves to complain about. 5. Lhota is more of a "real Republican" than was Giuliani or Bloomberg, as illustrated by his endorsement by the state's Conservative Party, which had no use for those men. 6. De Blasio is a pretty popular guy so far.

A compelling argument. And Bloomberg staying out of the endorsement game doesn't help much.

Republicans seem to have sided overwhelmingly with Rand Paul in opposing intervention in Syria. But many of them made non-isolationist cases for doing so -- that we weren't going in hard enough, or we were going too late, or that they just didn't trust Obama. I suspect the new Republican foreign policy paradigm will come somewhere in between Paul and McCain. Who is most likely to offer it? Rubio? Jeb Bush?

I agree that the Republican view on foreign policy is changing -- and that Rand is on the leading edge of it. I am writing about it in my new 2016 GOP rankings...stay tuned!

Did you read Alexandra Petri's paean to the pumpkin spice latte? Too much or understated?

Didn't. Will now. And it's impossible to say "too much" about the PSL.

Any reaction to today's article?

I appreciate people watching "In Play". It, like any new show, is a work in progress as we try to find the right tone, subject matter and combination of segments.

Everyone is entitled to their opinion.

OK, so I am halfway through the series. I hate Zoe Barnes with the intensity of a thousand suns. As a fan of the originals, I know something bad happens to the Zoe character in the British TV version that does not happen in the novel; I am sticking around in the hopes that, in the US version, the bad thing is a million times worse. However, I have to admit the series doesn't root for her: not every journalist scorns ethics and fact-checking or uses sex as a tool, although all of them are 327% more attractive than actual journalists. (When you think about it, there are far more inappropriate sexual relationships everywhere on TV than in life: for example, all those bed-hopping doctors, and the one show where the President is sleeping with a PR fixer...) For that matter, there's more gray in additional politicians; the President, for instance, seems well-intentioned and at least moderately competent. I guess what I am saying is, it gets better. And everything else about the show is pretty good: the acting, the score, the cinematography. And they reuse some locations (and actors) that were used in The Wire!

Love the score and the cinematography. Couldn't get beyond Zoe Barnes though. Here's my piece on why I hated it:

Can they stop me, or can they only hope to contain me?

Only hope to contain. The pride of Delmar, Delaware!

Have you found someone to have a Twitter War with. You contemplated it on Twitter yesterday

No one stepped up. Although LOTS of people suggested Chuck Todd. That's good with me since he has SO many more followers than me ;)

How different do you think the race would look right now if Bill Bolling received the Republican nomination instead of Cuccinelli?

The race would functionally be a referendum on McAuliffe. That said, Bolling is the LG for McDonnell -- so the guilt by association thing could have hurt just as badly.

You're a plaid pioneer. Don't back down.

I do love plaid shirts ;)

The death of certain prominent male character in the end of last season. Good or bad for the series?

Good. Change is good.

Congress fighting Syria vs. Congress fighting debt ceiling. Which one is more interesting from your perspective?

Debt ceiling. Not close.

No PSL? Also, pumpkin loaf from Starbucks has a sketchy name but actually is good.

I broke the PSL seal last Friday. And the guy who made it just submarined it. No Pumpkin -- all coffee. I went back -- hair of the dog and all of that -- and got a much better one. But, the bitter taste (literally) lingers.

No. Bush handled Katrina horribly and he became less popular.

But was already eroding even in 2004 due to iraq...

How does Cuccinelli keep the streak of the out-party winning the Virginia governor's race alive?

He turns the race back onto mcAulliffe.  Neither Cooch nor Macker are at popular figures in the state so the more time voters look at either one, the less they like. But people have been looking at Cooch more of late, so he's losing.

Props to the US National Team for making the World Cup.

And we are now ranked #13 in the world! (And, yes, I just said "we" about a team I have nothing to do with.)

"That may mean that there is an overreaching tendency as they try to bite off as much more than they can can chew." Seems to me you've reversed cause and effect here, Chris. You seem to be suggesting that it's the second-term president's ambition and maneuvers to postpone lame-duck status that turn voters off--but I would argue that such efforts are actually a reaction to voters and politicians who start tuning out the White House as they look ahead to the next campaign.

Fair enough.

My vote goes to the House GOP leadership. Another display of unorganization and a fractured caucus headed into budget talks.

Michael Bloomberg - Not only did primary voters go to the left, but his gun control candidates got recalled in Colorado

He was the runner up.

Since it's a requirement as a member of the mainstream media, which position will you be accepting in the Obama Administration (see what I did there)?

Very sneaky, sis.

Chris, To what extent do you think Bloomberg's interview in NYMag- in which he call De Blasio's campaign "class warfare and racist"- actually helped De Blasio pull out a win?

Very little. I think running as the anti-Bloomberg and the most liberal candidate in the field helped him win.

Thoughts on Ted Cruz wishing the senate had "100 more like Jesse Helms"? At some point, doesn't the republican leadership have to set him straight? That can't be good for the minority outreach that is already severly lacking.

I think Ted Cruz is focused on one thing: Ted Cruz. Maybe two things: Ted Cruz and 2016.

What is the weekly update on the most unpopular governor in the world?

Apparently he's running for President. Is this about getting a book deal and higher speaking fees?

Maybe a little of both sprinkled with a bit of higher profile for TV appearances.

So are you superstitious on this day?

I sure as hell am staying away from Camp Crystal Lake.

On the pure politics, I have to give her a B+. She did endorse action in Syria, but said nothing memorable, and certainly wasn't the public face of intervention. Because of her previous position (where she was an advocate of arming the Syrian rebels), she really couldn't oppose the strikes. Unless Syria somehow turns into Iraq (which I doubt), no one will much care what she said or did.

That's certainly what she is hoping.

Sen. Corker is on television a lot as a talking head. Do you think that indicates a desire for higher office in the government?

I don't think so. But, he ahs definitely raised his national profile in the past 6 months or so.

Me, I suffered watching the return of the 'Arsenio Hall Show'. He seemed much more funny when I was 10.

Dog Pound!

The new NBC poll suggest the voters now have more confidence in Republicans than Democrats on the economy. Is there a sense that the ground may be shifting and we are looking at another big Midterm for the R's?

Question is whether this is more about peoples' unhappiness with Obama or their endorsing of GOP ideas. I think it's the latter. That could still mean major gains for GOP in 2014 midterms but won't help the party vis a vis 2016.

What are the chances he wrote that himself?

After your hopes last week to be booed heartily by a crowd, did the fine people of Politics and Pints help you cross that particular item off your to-do list?

Not enough booing. And NO ONE yelled out "you suck". Disappointing.

Had it coming or totally had it coming?

Marrying that woman was trouble. I knew it, he knew it, the American people knew it.

Dismissing Rubio's victory as "a strange election" is obviously seen through very partisian eyes. He drove a popular Incumbant Gov. out of the primary because he would have crushed him, then got nearly 50% in a 3 way race with 3 good candidates. He also gave the best speech at the Repub Convention.

Agree on both points.

Don't tell Aaron Blake-he thinks Corker is a dark horse for 2016, but Aaron has a better chance of winning the GOP nomination than Corker does.

I won't. Until he usurps me on The Fix.  And that day is coming.

OK, I've been immersing myself online in Season 1 of Friday Night Lights. My basic line of thought: All men of my age think they were Tim Riggins in high school and are Coach Taylor now. Buddy Garrity is more of the politician. Just thoughts. Love your chats.

Buddy Garrity becomes MUCH more lovable.

And, yes, Riggins rules. Big time.

Which was the more implausible casting? Robin Williams as Eisenhower or John Cusak as Nixon?

Robin Williams. Not close.


It's good. But not as good as someone yelling it at me in a crowded bar or a city street.

Has Coach Fix asked him to be an Assistant Coach?

No comment. This interview is over!

From last weeks chat you seem to hate the NFL. Why? In terms of injuries, the players are adults that can weigh the risks and rewards...

Don't hate the NFL at all. I just think it is hard to watch because of what we know about how freaking dangerous it is.

When push comes to shove, Democrats don't give away nominations. I just can't see her winning in a rout.

Gore in 2000. But he was the sitting VP.

How soon till Fix Aaron takes over The Fix realm?

Oh, he's counting the hours now.

Any thoughts on the portrayal of the journalists in HBO's The Newsroom?

Better than in "House of Cards". Way worse than real life.

It's almost here.

Um, no kidding. I have watched the trailer roughly 1,000 times. 

Has "Twerk" been used in a Public Debate yet?

I'm twerking on it.

Real Wheels is competing with you. Guess you finally have some competition.

Bring it 0n!

He seems to be getting mavericky again. Do you think this an indication he may not run again in 16'?

Who knows. I think this is the real McCain. He spent 2008-2010 as something different for transparently political reasons.

Do you think his unpopular position on Syria has left him even more vulnerable to a candidate like Mace, or will it be forgotten by next year?

I think he was vulnerable in a primary before all of this. I am not sure Syria changes all that much.

Much more believable as Theodore Roosevelt in Night at the Museum,


Why are we supposed to feel sorry for John Boehner? He lets a few Tea Party wacko birds act like kings and then complains when they won't cooperate. Boehner needs to pop this cyst, once and for all and get back to running the country without them. If he lets them shut down the government, all people will remember is Boehner's name like we remember Gingrich from the 90s.

I don't think anyone feels sorry for Boehner. I do think it's worth acknowledghing that Boehner is in a close to impossible position in trying to lead a group of people who probably can't be lead by anyone.

Do you consider yourself a reporter or an analyst? I ask because people like Dan Balz clearly have analysis columns as well as news stories that are obviously different while you inject your opinion into most everything so are you still a reporter if you do that?

I like to think I do "reported analysis".

Do you ever wish that, in the middle of a Congressional hearing (or even on the floor of the House or the Senate), Hacksaw Jim Duggan would come in, start swinging his 2x4, clear the room except for the audience, pick up a flag and start giving a thumbs-up to everyone? That'd be sweet! I've also thought about Ric Flair coming in and talking about how he owned the biggest house in the richest part of town (ripping open his shirt always made that speech perfect). Problem is, that's too "one percent-y" nowadays.

This just won "best question of the chat". By a long shot.

If he brings a big bill (debt ceiling immigration etc) up and violates the hastert rule does this mean anything about retirement or anything else?

Yah, soccer is better because those guys get right back on the field even after they go down looking like they were shot. Of course, that's more of a performance art than it is sport.

Flopping is definitely a problem. But watch Lionel Messi play and tell me it's not terribly compelling.

If the Dems take house back in midterms who will be speaker? Pelosi or someone else? If someone else, who?

Pelosi if she wants it. if she doesn't one of these folks:

Xavier Becerra

Chris Van Hollen

Steve Israel

Debbie Wasserman Schultz

For the Manning Bowl? And for Wilson v Kaepernick?

Kaepernick -- he's on the Fix fantasy team.

And, Peyton. Always has been better. Will continue to be better.

In my opinion, he has a better 50% chance on reelection. His numbers are not great but not in the hopeless zone, and the Dem bench was decimated in 2010. Agree?

Rick Scott's best chance at winning a second term: Charlie Crist.

Are you headed to the World Cup in Brazil next year?

Probably not. But I'd love to be there when the USA hoists the cup.

I think he should be nominated for best legislator of 2013. He worked with the NRA on guns-they stabbed him in the back but he tried-and hammered out a compromise on Syria. How about some love for someone trying?

Interesting. Maybe we should do a Fix award for best legislator every year....also for worst legislator.

That's it for today folks!

Remember, we do this thing every Friday at 11 am. 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.
Recent Chats
  • Next: