The Fix Live

Oct 04, 2013

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

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Good morning everyone! We are in day 4 of the federal government shutdown with no sign of it ending anytime soon.

Soundtrack: "John Prine Live"

Drink of choice: Grande mocha

Let's do this.

What incentive does President Obama have to negotiate anything, much less the Affordable Care Act, with Republicans? They don't have the votes to accomplish any of their goals, and with the shutdown, they're not likely to get enough votes in the 2014 elections.


I would offer one thing though: He is without question looking to the legacy he wants to leave behind in his presidency. And that has to include some sort of deal to put the country on solid(er) financial footing.  So, that may be Obama's incentive to come to the table and compromise.

Since unlike 95-96 this govt. shutdown is not really about the budget rather its about ACA, is there anything at all that Obama could conceivably give the republicans to end it? There seems to be nothing the parties can negotiate about so we basically for one side to cave to the other?

He could agree to repeal his health care law ;)

It's not yet clear what exactly Republicans want in terms of concessions, to be honest.  The idea that they could craft a bargain that included entitlement reforms but not revenue increases is farcical. They know they aren't getting Obamacare repealed. 

My guess is they ultimately push for more spending cuts -- in addition to the sequester.

Me and the missus! We're going on our one vacation this year, to the Carolina mountains. The largest park in the area where we're going is likely to be closed, and the hurricane Cone of Heavy Rain is aiming right for our cabin.

Ugh. No good.

You mentioned Galston's article in Democracy about the comparisons between the GOP today and the Democrats in the early 1990's re: presidential elections a couple weeks ago. How hard was it really for Clinton to capture the nomination in '92 ( I don't remember the campaign but it does not seem like the Democratic base had that much trouble with Clinton as the nominee)?

Pretty hard.  Remember that he had to battle infidelity allegations throughout.  He caught a HUGE break when then NY Gov. Mario Cuomo decided not to run.

It's a long shot that Texas is ready to elect a Democratic governor, but is there a shot at all? Davis's opponent Abbott has already lobbed (directly or by virtue of association) derogatory comments on her gender and appearance, could this end up being what turns moderate voters toward the other side, similar to the distasteful remarks Clayton Williams made against Ann Richards in the 1990 race? The lines have been drawn in Texas, and those lines are quite clearly dividing the genders on many issues.

Of course there's a chance. But, as you note, it's not easy. Greg Abbott, the GOP nominee is well funded and is running in a state that tilts heavily toward Republicans.

Davis will have scads of money, which is her best argument for why she can be competitive.

We broke the race down here:

I am growing a goatee in honor of my brother in arms, Chuck Todd!!

Smart move.

Say that John Boehner is replaced as Speaker. Who would you guess could replace him? Cantor or maybe Paul Ryan?

Ryan would be my guess. But I don't think Boehner is going to be replaced as Speaker. 

Chris So Boehner says he will not allow a default on the debt ceiling even if he has to do so with Democratic votes AND that he will not end the shut down without some curtailment of the ACA. What is preventing a vote on the debt ceiling NOW ? Why wait until October 17th ?

One word: leverage.

What chances do you give her in the race for Governor of Texas?


Hastert Rule isn't real?! Why hasn't this been bigger news? It's a way out, a way towards a clean CR.

Yup. Read this from the man himself:

You realize people hate politics not just because of the politicians but because of faux controversies like "Harry Reid hates kids with cancer," right?

Oh, I know people hate politics for all sorts of reasons.

Why shouldn't the President go to the districts of these far right Republicans and make speeches like the one he made in Rockville yesterday? He may not turn any districts in the next election, but even the hardest dying of the die hards would sit up and take notice that Air Force One is in their district. And surely there are closed facilities in most of those districts? And what about the Speaker's district?

Interesting idea.

I'm more bullish (or just loyal) than others. I actually liked and expected the sort of episode last Sunday. It's never been 24. What did you think?

I liked it...ok. I thing it's getting a bit outlandish (the dude who came up to Saul in the atrium of the CIA and told him a super top secret mission was a go) but in general I still am on board -- mostly because the Brody-Carrie dynamic intrigues me.

How could a government shutdown affect Politics and Pints. Anxious Greg Giroux groupies everywhere want to know.


Any chance gop will back down if obama offers them bennigans coupons and some gumballs?

A Chuckie Cheese coupon and you've got a deal.

How does this help Republicans win over independent voters in 2016? Am I missing their logic? They look childish, petty, and petulant -- and that's the best of them! Especially is Cruz becomes their nominee -- given the way the primaries are structured -- how can they even imagining winning? Help me to see their thought processes -- cuz I don't get it!

This is a narrow strategy aimed at appeasing the base. It's a strategy that could well pay some dividends in 2014 but could have last (negative) repercussions in 2016.

Smart startegists in the party know that and are shaking their heads at the continuined hewing of the "make changes to Obamacare or else" line of attach.

Whoever decided it was a good idea to put barriers around the WWII memorial.

Oh a spoil of riches to pick, but my winner has to be Rep. Randy Neugebauer, who harassed a unpaid park ranger at the WWII Memorial about the shutdown.

He wad VERY much in the running.

From the reporting and analysis I've seen this week, the whole shutdown dilemma seems to basically boil down to this: Boehner has effectively ceded his authority as Speaker to the radical right wing of his party (your cast iron conservatives). In return for that, he gets to keep his really swell digs on the south side of the Capitol, while hundreds of thousands of Federal employees are furloughed. Taking the easy actions within his power to end the shutdown might anger his patrons, who would take away the keys to his office suite, and of course We Can't Have That. Sigh.

There is of course the possibility that Boehner believes the health care law is turning out to be bad policy and thinks the best thing for the country is to either delay or defund it.

I tend to think all of these situations are some combination of politics and principle.

Speaking of legacy, what legacy will you have when Fix Aaron takes over and rules with an iron fist.

He will erase all evidence of my reign.  It will be liike Milan Kundera in the Unbearable Lightness of Being.

My vote for Worst Week is John Boehner. He is stuck between a rock and a hard place with the shutdown and the debt ceiling.

It's not been a great week for Boehner...but he didn't win...

What is the impact of the Libertarian Candidate (Sarvis) for VA Governor doing to either of the major candidates (Cuccinelli and McAuliffe) for VA Governor?

Sarvis' growth is entirely explained by the distaste that the Virginia electorate has for McAuliffe and Cuccinelli. My guess -- and history suggests this -- is that the closer the election day gets, the more vote jump away from Sarvis. People don't like to throw their vote away and Sarvis isn't getting elected governor.

Do you see it possible in VA that there maybe a Democratic Sweep of all three major races (Governor, Lt. Gov and VA AG) this year? What kind of impact would this have in VA and nationally, if this were to happen come election day in November?

It would affirm that VA is a swing state that tilts ever so slightly to Democrats. And, sure it's possible -- particularly because the downballot races tend to be heavily influenced by who wins the governorship.

2014 is the year for Republicans and even that might not be as great as everyone (yes, like you) had predicted months ago. 2016 will have a presidential cycle turnout and people like Mark Kirk on the ballot. I'm from IL-expect plenty of reminders that "moderate" Kirk voted with Ted Cruz.

If republicans don't take back the Senate in 2014, it's very hard to see how they do it in 2016 since that will be the first re-election for the class of 2010 -- a great year to be a Republican.

In addition to Kirk, Republicans will have to defend Pat Toomey in Pennsylvania and Kelly Ayotte in NH.

Where are you taking your talents this weekend?

Post TV world.  Making a daily political show! If you haven't checked out "In Play" (I host it!), do it now here:

Is this all a master plan by Boehner? He agrees to the shutdown basically for two weeks to seem like he's on the Tea Party side, putting all their crazy add-ons into the budget bill, thereby appeasing the Tea Party but turning the country against them (not because he wants Dems to win in the next election, but because he wants moderate Republicans to have a better shot at beating the Tea Party). He makes it clear that the debt limit will be raised, even if he has to do it with the Dems, because he will uphold the full faith and credit clause, thereby also positioning moderate Rs as sane and the Tea Party as nuts. And may even get some concessions from the Dems in the (debt limit) process. He keeps the speakership because he did everything he could short of defaulting to take down Obamacare, and he cuts the Tea Party down a few notches in the process. This is master political chess...

Whoah. My brain hurts.

What are the odds that furloughed feds will be paid for the shutdown? I know there is a bill in the House related to this now. My guess is that the Tea Party would go ballistic at the idea of paying us for not working, since they aren't keen on paying us when we do our jobs. But maybe they will have bigger fish-to-fry to get this settled?

Republicans just held a press conference to announce they would introduce legislation that would ensure all federal workers would be paid during the shutdown. So, the chances are high.

Do you think that Grover Norquist's negative statements about Ted Cruz will have any impact upon Cruz's influence in the Republican party? My guess is that the Cruzistas have alreadt drunk the Kool Aid and nothing with dissuade them from their choices?


I think Ted Cruz has a base of support that doesn't care what Groiver Norquist (or any other longtime Washington figure) thinks.

As I have said before, that's good news for Cruz's future ambitions but bad news for the party broadly.

A new Masterpiece Theater starts Sunday night on PBS, The Paradise. Supposed to be pretty good. BTW, ditched my Comcast DVR and moved to TiVo this week. The TiVo is SO much better than the Comcast set top box!

Got it. I believe Fix mother-in0-law has recommended that show too. Will tape!

Latest CBS poll puts shutdown blame at 44% GOP to 35% Dem. Isn't the whole narrative about catastrophic Republican blame collapsing?

Well, they are still being blamed more. I do think both sides will get plenty of blame but that poll (as well as others) suggest it will fall more heavily on the GOP.

Check out this post written by one of our pollsters:

Do you ever watch Question time on CSPAN-2 , when the British PM has to debate fellow members of parliament. I think we should import that!


What do you think the odds are that furloughed workers get retroactive pay? I can promise you, this is no vacation. I'm wondering how I'll pay my rent this month.

Very high.  House Republicans are pushing that legislation as we speak.

But what good is it to gain votes in 2014 if it doesn't translate into Presidential votes in 16? Please don't tell me "but means they could try shutting the government down again in 2017" -- cuz it's been such a winning strategy for them these last 4 days and in 1996. Don't they learn....ever?

In my mind, it's a sopmewhat narrow strategic approach that could well keep the GOP in contorl of the House and maybe even the Senate but will make it very hard to win back the White House in 2016.

Or at least make it functional again. Aaaand.... go!

1. Nonpartisan redistricting

2. Eliminate party primaries 

I did it in 2!

Isn't it time to challenge the conventional wisdom that Dems win the Shutdown fight? The Republicans' message (People are suffering and Dems won't even negotiate) seems pretty effective.

I agree. That's by FAR Republicans' best argument here. Unfortunately, people like Marlin Stutzman and Randy Neugebauer are making it difficult for Republicans to make that case.

Why are you and/or your producer only posting comments from people who believe that the shutdown is solely to be blamed on Republicans? The polls indicate that a healthy number of people blame the Democrats and/or Obama, but you wouldn't know that from what you're posting. And I know I sent in comments that aren't making it past your "blame Boehner" filter.

I genuinely don't know what you are talking about.

Polling suggests Republicans, at the moment, are being blamed. That said, polling ALSO shows that no one is looking good in this mess.

What is Davis's endgame here? She knows she won't win right? Abbott is popular, well funded, and this is f%$#@ Texas after all. I mean come on. Are Democrats just trying to divert donors' attention to the effort to purpleize Texas?

Well, I think she sees a path to win but I assume she knows she needs a lot of breaks to get there.

What's she doing? Taking advantage of an opportunity that might not be there five years from now. Watch this, I explain it all (or most of it) here:

Was Fix Sean furloughed this week?

Oh no. He is the definition of "essential".

Do some of those moderate GOP congressmen from Pennsylvania have to worry about how Governor Corbett's weak reelection position could hurt them in a time where fewer people split their tickets when voting?

I am still somewhat skeptical that Corbett winds up as the GOP nominee. His numbers are terrible and show no signs of improving.

How? How could this strategy POSSIBLY attract new voters? (And please don't tell me that there are enough people out there in this country who agree with this strategy and will make up for the voters the GOP will lose. I might have to flee to Canada.)

Midterm elections are not really about attracting new voters. They are about turning out as much of your base as possible. And fighting with President Obama over the health care law gets the GOP base very fired up.

Gotta be Cruz. His Republican compatriots in the Senate are reported to be livid with the spot he's put his party in, backing them into the proverbial "box canyon"with no graceful way to exit it.

I get that there is a pile-on effect on Cruz. But, I haven't seen anyone explain convincingly yet how being disliked by his fellow Senate Republicans really hurts his profile among conservative grassroots activists. In fact, it probably helps him.

Considering how Republicans started the fight with such a bad hand, haven't the Democrats really blown it so far? Looks like Democrats are proud to be the "No negotiations" party, and that's not what people want.

It's a risk -- no question. But I think President Obama summoning all the Congressional leaders to the White House was an attempt to show he isn't standing idly by. And canceling his Asia trip is another sign that he is focused on getting the government back open.

In the wake of the "War on Women" meme and Clinton's likely nomination, can Republicans afford not to put a woman on the ticket? Seems like it would be a huge mistake

I would think they would do themselves a lot of good by choosing a woman as president or vice president, yes.

What are the chances of one or both of the two tickets in 2016 being devoid of a white male?

HMMM.  35%?

So, how did Ann Richards win Texas if it's so red? Was it not red then? Isn't it becoming less red now? Would we miss it if it seceded?

Well, she ran against Clayton Williams Jr.. He was up comfortably when he compared rape to bad weather. (  

How do we get that. It sounds wonderful, and gerrymandering has gotten 100% nuts, and I hear that from both sides. Seems like a nice bi-partisan proposal to me.

Politicians DO NOT like to give up power. (Breaking news!)

Pretend Mitt Romney was president, its hard to believe he would align himself with the Tea Party R's, once he got elected, right?

I think the opposite. Romney is not, naturally, a tea party conservative.  He is a pragmatic businessman.  

huh? they have the votes in the house. they won the elections. but no one wants to negotiate, so we are where we are.

Again, though, for Boehner to re-open the government with 20 Republican votes (less thsan 10 percent) of his conference would amount to political suicide.

Read this:

You basically described California's Congressional districting and election system. Is there any evidence yet that this has led to greater moderation in the Golden State's delegation?

It's led to more competition....

When all is said and done, didn't Boehner make an error when he abandoned grand bargain last year. Grand bargain would have reduced deficit by $4 trillion, with over 75% of that amount being spending cuts including some entitlement reform. Such an accomplishment would have strengthened his hand and essentially dared the most right wing members of his party from blocking such a huge amount of deficit reduction. Boehner has never challenged the Tea Party within his caucus and he seems to be constantly stuck in the middle. Do you think Boehner and weakened his position by not going ahead with the grand bargain when he had the chance?

Go all the way back to Obama not embracing Simpson-Bowles. I think if he had done that, we might be in a different place. Maybe not.

Did Dems increase their chances of holding the Senate by at a minimum recruiting two candidates who will make both the MT and WV contests competitive?

They certainly gave themselves a better chance to win by recruiting real candidates in MT and WV. I still think Republicans are a favorite in WV and a slight(ish) favorite in Montana if Rep. Steve Daines runs. But in both places Democrats have more of a chance there today than they did a month ago.

CR for 60 days while negotiations take place. I f there is not a signed budget then another round of sequestration (2-4% cut) is imposed accross the board. Of course it did not work last time, but maybe they would be motivated to do something on entitlements to avoid more cuts.


seriously - no one had ever heard of him. well,he gave a very forgettable speech, but that was about it. realistically - the Ds thought they did not have a chance, and everyone was in it to get name recognition for 96

Yup. HW Bush was SUPER popular and Cuomo (and other heavy hitters) got out because they didn't think they could win. 


Does Congressman Beccera ever get mentioned as a potential pick for higher office on the Democratic side (I'm thinking VP)? He's the highest ranking Latino politician on the Dem side and he's a solid communicator. Is his weakness that it's hard to make leap from House to higher office?

Think Speaker of the House.  I think that's what he has been aiming at for some time now.

No, so how you do it then? You know Republicans would be alleging liberal bias left and right so what's the standard for non-partisan?

You put it in the hands of either a non-partisan commission or a bipartidsan commission. Iowa does it. As does California.

You stated "He will erase all evidence of my reign. It will be liike Milan Kundera in the Unbearable Lightness of Being." I believe the book you are thinking of is The Book of Laughing and Forgetting by Kundera. I'm a librarian you can trust me.


Can you give me your 2-cents on the future of Howard Dean?

He could run. I think he won't win.

Owebama is willing to negotiate with the president of Iran, Putin and the Taliban, but not those terroristic republicans. Bwahahaha.

You mispelled Obama.

Obviously the D.C. tourists. Attractions closed and then have to run for cover when there are gunshots at the capitol. Worst. vacation. ever.

Yeah. Not exactly a ringing endorsement to come to DC.

Prior comment of "What are they thinking? How does this help Republicans win over independent voters in 2016? Am I missing their logic? They look childish, petty, and petulant -- and that's the best of them!" While I agree Ted Cruz looks foolish, the same could be said for Obama saying he won't negotiate when he has in the past. Like he are Reid are just going to say it and so it will be. Does anyone care that the Constitution says all funding bills will start in the House, yet the Senate won't touch any of the bills they are being sent? And Reid looks as foolish as Cruz. How that guy continues to get elected is amazing. He appears to be an old, heartless fool.

Another view...

That's all folks!

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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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