The Fix Live

Sep 20, 2013

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

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Good morning! 

The House is in the middle of a series of votes that will lead to the passage of a temporary funding measure for the government that would also defund Obamacare.

It ain't going anywhere in the Senate. 

Here's our step by step guide to follow what's coming next:

Alright. Let's do this thing.

Who pissed on your rug?


And if you haven't read my piece on what the "Big Lebowski" can teach us about the debt ceiling, you are missing out:

I'm genuinely confused by your insistence that Rand Paul is a political power to be reckoned with and a possible winner in 2016. I'll grant that he's going to run and that he may even win the nomination. But his stance on the Civil Rights Act alone will mobilize minority voters to Obama '08 levels, without any uptick at all for the Republicans. You just can't say "I believe business owners should be able to discriminate on the basis of race, even though I would never do that" and expect to win 270 electoral votes.

But, my rankings are based on who will win the R nomination, which you say you can see happening. So....

Although there are clear signs of Hillary running for President, and everyone expects it, would does anyone expect her to make an announcement so early with a sitting president of her own party and for whom she served as Sec of State? continues to list the number of "days Hillary has frozen the field", but that seems a bit unfair. Do you or other journalists really expect her to announcement before mid-2015?

Well, I think the issue is that no one who wants to run for president can do anything until Clinton makes clear -- privately and probably publicly -- what she wants to do.

That means she will come under pressure -- subtle, granted -- to make clear what she wants to do with her future. Whether she feels compelled to act under that pressure remains to be seen.

My sense in watching how she has acted is that she is moving toward running even if she hasn't fully made the decision yet. I thought this Politico piece captured it nicely:

There's no way he is Speaker again, right? Even if the Tea Party is a minority in the Republican caucus, establishment Republicans will want to start anew in 2015.

Not sure. I think the better question is why he would WANT to be speaker again. What's become clear over the first nine months of the year is that the GOP House conference simply cannot be led.  Not by Boehner and, I don't think, by anyone els.e

So, why would you want a job where you have the responsibilities of leading but without the capacity to actually do so?

Up or down after this? I get the anti-DC sentiment, but at some point he'll need favors from ambitious people throughout the country who don't want to burn bridges like he does.

I think his bluff has been called a bit.  (I gave him "Worst Week in  Washington" this week because of it:

I think Cruz's stance on defunding Obamacare remains incredibly popualr within the R base and those folks have a lot of say about the nominee. But, make no mistake, the GOP knives are out for Cruz.

Does it look like McAuliffe is trying to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory? Can he, or do you think that minds are so made up about Cucc that the race is effectively over?

I have said it before and I will say it again: The only Democrat Ken Cuccinelli could beat in this race is Terry McAulliffe and the only Republican Terry McAuliffe could beat is Ken Cuccinelli.

It's a remarkable race. I think Macker has a slight lead at the moment but I also think people who are writing off the race as a win for Democrats arw WAY premature. We are atill six weeks away from election day and LOTS of people will just start paying attention now.

Now that Daley has dropped out of the race, is Pat Quinn going to be the Dem nominee, or could a Lisa Madigan change her mind and take him on?

Madigan reiterated again this week -- post-Daley announcement -- that she isn't running.

I do think Quinn is going to be the nominee which is good news for Republicans given his approval ratings.  Still, it's Illinois so a Republican winning statewide is very much the exception to the rule.

Ted Cruz has to be the runaway winner for Worst Week

This is the week the GOP knives came out for Ted Cruz.

Where are you taking your talents this weekend?

The Catholic University of America where the Cardinals field hockey team will be taking on the Misericoridia Cougars.

And, did I mention the #20th ranked Cards knocked off the #3 ranked Salisbury Seagulls on Wednesday night? (


Why is Politics and Pints so late this month? With the govt shutdown, federal employees are going to have a lot of time to kill in early October! Maybe a special "Shutdown Showdown" is in order.

I am not sure. My schedule is obviously packed with watching CSPAN, catching up with "Breaking Bad" (I am in the middle of season 4) and figuring out how to use various emojis on my phone.

So, priorities.

What advice would you give the Redskins, after their 0-2 start?

More Fred Davis and Leonard Hankerson. In an unrelated note, both of them are on my fantasy football team.

Could we have a Chuck Todd bobble head night for the Nats next season?

Better question: Why haven't we ALREADY had one?

Chris, I know you're not a mind reader, but I'd love your take on how House Republicans expect the budget mess will benefit them. I can see their display of principle energizing the base, but what does that get them? Or is that the only purpose of putting the country through this?

It's a good question. And you should definitely read Fix Sean's take on the step by step of what's next:

I believe we are likely headed to a government shutdown of some indeterminate length. Why? Because Boehner etc have to prove their bona fides to cast iron conservatoves but know that doing so over the debt ceiling could be catastrophic.

Seems like he is going to get the short end of the stick in '16. If Hillary wins the nomination I'm thinking she'll pick Kaine for VP which would give him the inside track to for the next nomination. Does O'Malley fit somewhere in a potential Hillary Clinton Cabinet?

Sure. AG? HUD?

So, to follow up on your response to an earlier question, if you did a Top 10 list for the most likely to be elected president (taking account of both the nominating process and the general election), who would be at the head of the list? Hillary, followed by Chris Christie? It's hard to say after that, isn't it?





It's obvious to me that he'll be the next Majority Leader. Any chance this happens with Reid still in the Senate?

I don't think so. But, I still rmemeber when people thought there was a real contest between Schumer and Dick Durbin to replace Reid when he left. Now, no one who knows anything thinks that.

Nice office with balcony to smoke on (Boehner is a heavy smoker) and government plane to go to all the nice golf courses and wineries.

Wait, Boehner smokes? And he likes golf? Man I am leanring new things every day!

Anything the fix is excited about?

Homeland Season 3 Sept 29.

Should I get the iPhone 5s or the Moto X?

I am not giving out phone advice since this is the phone I use:

If Boehner bows out which looks increasingly likely and Paul Ryan makes a play, does Cantor just stand down or fight for it?

I think that would be the next fight...and maybe throw Tom Cole of Oklahoma in there.

I think it would be Ryan's for the taking but I also think he is thinking about running for president.

Have you been watching "Last Tango in Halifax"? Heartwarming story of a couple in Yorkshire, England, who'd had crushes on one another in school at age 16, then after being widowed rediscover one another on Facebook and fall in love 60 years later. Sir Derek Jacobi is wonderful in everything he's in, of course, but finally gets to play an attractive modern man!

Cool. Will check out. Mrs Fix and I are in the middle of "BroadChurch" which is amazing if very hard to watch due to th subject matter. (Plot revolves around the death of an 11 year old boy.)

Haha-demographics and policies actually matter. Republicans can't win at the presidential level right now so putting 3 Republicans after Hillary is a joke.

Fair enough.

Biden should be in that mix.

So Syracuse and Gtown will probably sign a contract for the next ten years. Rumor is it will be a home game for Syracuse in DC, followed by a second home game in either NYC or Syracuse. Thoughts?

Here's my thought about Syracuse: It is home to more chin strap beards than any other city in the country.

I can't believe you'd think governing and campaigning are so simple, so how much do you dumb things down for people who like politics but don't know a lot?

This question is too complex for me.

Hi Chris, love your chats. I have been a supporter of President Obama and have ridiculed the criticism of his golf and vacation time, etc. However, the President is in effect the CEO of the Federal Government. What CEO of anything, after several of his "employees" are killed and wounded on the job, would go ahead with a routine announcement of the finances of the company. I found his comments after the tragedy to be tasteless and heartless at best. Question: is there no one around the President would could whisper in his ear: "Terrible Idea Mr. President"?

I said at the time I was surprised he went ahead with his economy speech in the immediate aftermath of the Navy Yard shootings.

But, he and his senior advisers clearly wanted to send a message and lay down a marker about how important this was going to be for them going forward.

Size up the West Virginia Senate race between Shelley Moore-Capito and Natalie Tennant. Capito cuts a more moderate profile, being pro-choice and all. What can you tell us about Tennant?

Tennant is a solid recruit for Democrats who were on the verge of ceding the open seat to Capito. 

And, she has a decent profile for the state. My one question: She was perceived to be a potential frontrunner when she ran for governor in 2011 and wound up finishing third in the Democratic primary. 

Do you see John Boehner throwing the Hastert rule by the wayside and just putting the big stuff up for an up or down vote by the entire House regardless of how the Teapublicans feel? Seems like the only responsible option he has.

Not sure. We won't know until 10 days or so from now when the Senate budget bill -- with the defunding Obamacare provision stripped out -- comes back to the House.

To be clear, those 45 or so cast-iron conservatioves won't change their minds about the need to link the CR to defunding Obamacare in the next 10 days. So, Boehner will have a choice: Either shut down the government or pass a CR with Democratic votes.

What would you the chances of the Democrats taking back the house are in 2014 given the recent Republican kerfuffle?

A puncher's chance. At the moment, it doesn't seem likely but hree of the last four elections (2206, 2008 and 2010) were national wave elections so who am I to say right now that another one might be building somewhere way out in the political sea?

Without that sort of wave though, the redistricting of 2010 makes it tough for Democrats to make large-scale gains.

Chris-what potential do you see for the GOP to nominate a Chris Christie-Susana Martinez ticket and could they beat Clinton?

Possible but not likely.

If it's Christie I could see Rubio as VP....

Eugene Robinson spoke on our campus this week--very good presentation. Do you ever do speeches on college campuses? If so, how could we book you?

Absolutely. Just email me at

Warning: My voice is nowhere near as deep or cool as Gene's.

Hey, as a fellow Upstater it is my duty to defend the Cuse... You forgot it also gets the most snow and has the most polluted lake in America.

Well said. Also, Eric Devendorf.

In retrospect, should Romney have released his tax returns?

Yes. And earlier in the campaign. Everyone knew he was rich already.  And transparency is always better than the alternative in politics.

What is the weirdest question you've ever received during one of your chats?

This one. Very meta.

Stop trying to make cast-iron conservatives happen.

Oh, it IS going to happen.

Rumors are that Enzi is fine and that Liz bit off more than she could chew. Agree with that CW?

I have yet to here a compelling case as to why WY Republican voters should fire Enzi.

The case for Cheney is all process: She can raise lots of money, she knows everyone etc.

Voters rarely vote on process.

Given your well-stated disdain for House of Cards, what are your feelings about Veep? Would the show lock-up your support (and likely an Emmy) if next season features Selina and staff reacting negatively to finishing #3 in the Friday Fix List for the nomination?

I LOVE Veep. I badly want a Fix reference in there. Just throw me a bone people!

It's not just the sun that turns his face that color.

Holy cow. Earth shaken.

Nobody is as deep or as cool as Gene.


Will Martha Coakley be living outside Fenway until Nov. 2014?


She was a TERRIBLE candidate when she ran for Senate. But there's reason to believe she will be better this time around.

Is also the birthplace of Tom Cruise so we have them to blame for that...

Holy cow. Historically bad place.

What has this done to Schumer and Durbin's living arrangements and friendship (housemates with Rep. George Miller)?

Awkward. I would pay for a "Real World" type of show off of that house.

'Breaking Bad' OVER Politics and Pints: talk about screwed up priorities. Let's get this sorted out.

Mike just called. He said there's a leak at the lab. You need to come down immediately to check it out.

What did you think of Jake Tapper using your Lebowski comparison yesterday, it seemed like he wasn't taking you seriously.

Disagree. I thought Jake had fun with the comparison -- and he devoted an entire segment on his show to it!

He's also a friend and a very smart dude.

As for the comparison, the polling data I cited in the piece makes clear that there is a not insignificant number of people who don't want to raise the debt ceiling AND think not doing so would cause serious harm to the economy.

That's a nihilistic view, is it not?

What is the chance she will be moving back to N. VA with her family win or lose? 95%?

Pretty good if she loses methinks...

How long will it last?

No idea. 3-5 days? (Guess.)

You should hear newsreader Neil Nunes on BBC World radio. Makes Gene sound like a tenor.


I know this is going to sound like a silly question in the face of today's politics, but how can the Speaker of the House lead what he calls "The People's House" following the principles of the Hastert Rule, which in effect ignores the votes of over half the represented population of the country? If it takes some Dems and some R's to get a bill through, so be it. How can we talk about bipartisanship when we can't even allow a bill to brought up in a way or time for everyone to vote on it. This playing of games (on both sides) is ludicrous. Your thoughts?

Short answer: The political process these days very rarely rewards statemanship.

Witness John McCain 2008-2010 vs John McCain now. It's like two different people.

At least Bobcat Goldthwait and Andray Blatche were born there.

It just gets better/worse.

As a kid, I would channel surf, saw how ridiculously staged it was, and flip to another channel. Did you actually take any of it seriously, or were you just amused by the theatricality of it all?

I love professional wrestling. Yes, I know it is fake but I don't care. The storylines the it.

Women of America, it was Anthony Weiners first full week with nothing to do.

Oooh, intriguing pick. Weiner won kast week, his record FIFTH "victory".

Are you still watching BROADCHURCH? How 'bout ORPHAN BLACK? BBCA just started rerunning the first seasons on Saturday night - maybe you could put off your clubbing until after 11?

Already ran through all of Orphan Black. It's amazing. Can't wait for next season.

And, yes, on Broadchurch. GREAT show.

Currently on BBC 2, coming soon to the US (I hope)--Peaky Blinders. Story of a ruthless Birmingham gang after WW I. Sam Neill and Cillian Murphy. Very atmospheric. They're called the Peaky Blinders because they sew razors in the peaks of their caps for weapons. I've seen the first two episodes. Just right for this crowd.

BBC is churning out good television. Or telly.

Will we be getting a Fix prediction on the two tickets prior to primary season? I think you should do it.

OF COURSE. What am I if not someone willing to make bold predictions about things happening years in the future?

2008-- Hillary triumphs over Obama, wins election. Would the cast iron conservatives have become as rigid and doctrinaire as they have in the last five years or would they have dealt with a woman better than a black man?

The hardening of the partisan political arteries began in the late 1990s with impeachment and got worse and worse during the Bush terms. So, I don't think the identity of the Democratic nominee in 2008 would have changed much of anything.

I knew nothing about it, but our summer intern this year plays for Harvard. It's so on, baby.

You should learn about it. Amazing sport.


If you count cable during the day, A LOT.

That's all folks!

Remember we do this chat EVERY Friday at 11 am.  Spread the word. And check out the new Post TV show I host called "In Play":


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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