The Fix Live

Dec 06, 2013

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

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Good morning everyone!

After spending a week in sunny Florida, I am back grinding -- and chatting.

The talk of the political world this morning is the death of Nelson Mandela. I wrote a piece about what he can teach politicians this morning:

Let's do this thing.

With your tweet that the most-read story on the site is a review of the Sound of Music and there are no Mandela articles in the top 5, it is us, the readers, that deserve the "award" this week. FWIW, Mandela artices are the top two most viewed on the website in the last 24 hrs (and Carrie Underwood doesn't even rank) And that's a good thing for Rick Santourm.

It's not a great statement about what we care about and prioritize is it...

I went back and watched some of Mandela's speeches and read some of the obits written about him last night. An asbolutely amazing man.

Worth bookmarking this site:

Peppermint mocha or gingerbread latte?

Gingerbread. Not close.

And, in breaking news, I didn't have a single genuinely good pumpkin spice latte this fall. Shark jumped.

Nice little piece--but horrible choice of photo. Choosing to show a beloved statesman alongside one of the most phony, craven political hacks of this or any other era demeans Mandela and negates your points about statesmanship--and does nothing to disprove those who say the Post is trying to create the assumption that Hillary Clinton will be the next president.

Huh. Well, I thought the Mandela-Hillary picture was an interesting one. Sorry you disagreed but thanks for the kind words about the piece.

I just don't feel that polling on ACA right now tells us much about public opinion in the future. We've just had about a month of the worst news possible about the ACA. Now that the website is working well, and enrollments are rising dramatically, public opinion may shift accordingly. There will soon be a lot of positive stories to balance the negative ones. I don't know what will happen, but I'm wary of giving any polling numbers today too much weight.

Fair enough. And the best pollsters will tell you that any poll is a snapshot in time and no single survey should be taken as fact.

Polling about the favborability of the ACA has been very consistent for years now; roughly 47-48 of people don't like the law, 40-42 do.  Not much -- good or bad -- has moved those numbers.

Is it too early to say that Democrats will be running towards ACA in 2014 and not away from it? Sure, there are big issues to come, but the individual success stories are going to start snowballing (e.g., "Mom got her new hip and Billy's life was saved by that kidney operation!").

Given how deeply felt the distaste for the law is among Republicans, it's hard for me to imagine people like Mary Landrieu, Mark Begich or Mark Pryor embracing Obamacare.

Jeff Merkley (of Oregon) on the other hand might.

Is "repeal Obamacare" still a viable message for the GOP? I know that's what the base wants, but it's not very popular with the general public, nor will it seem like a viable policy if millions of Americans get insurance from the ACA. Are they going to throw all these people off their insurance?

Not really -- and outside of something to rally the base it's never been a viable option.

There's no way Obamacare is going to be repealed.  And most polling I've seen suggests that people don't want it to be -- even if they don't like the law. Rather, they want it changed and modified so that it works better.

What % of Carrie Underwood haters would have said nothing if they didn't know her from American Idol?

In truth, I didn't watch it. (Georgetown played at 9 pm last night for some inexplicable reason.)

I am pro-Underwood generally though.

He's my mayor in North America, hands down.

Hard to argue.

If Obamacare ends up becoming as big a political liability for Democrats as it looks like it might/will, could the shutdown end up helping Republicans as they can use it to demonstrate how strongly opposed to the law they were?

Did anyone paying even a scintilla of attention not already know that before the shutdown? If anything, I think Republican lost three weeks that they could have been blasting Obamacare with the shutdown.

Most of the discussion about a primary challenger to Clinton in 2016 has centered around someone from the left, like Warren or Dean. What potential do you see for someone, like Schweitzer or even Manchin, to primary Clinton from the right? Or is the Denocratic party just too liberal these days?


There's simply no model in recent presidential primaries to suggest that a moderate/centrist candidate in either party has a realistic shot of winning.

And, I am not sure the argument that can be effectively made from Clinton's ideological right in a Democratic primary.

I wish I could get my hours back from last night watching the Sound of Music. That was horrible.

I have it taped.  Will plan to watch some with Mrs. Fix.

Did you get to visit Sanibel Island, on the Florida Gulf Coast? Hmm, Florida Gulf Coast...that's a good name for a university...

I hate this question with the white hot passion of a 1,000 suns.

Welcome back, I thought your picture here looked like you had been someplace sunny and warm. Reid says that his Senate candidates can run on ObamaCare and win next year. Is that realistic or is he trying to convince himself that could happen?

I think him saying the opposite -- "no way we will run on Obamacare" -- would be a massive news story and not help matters.

Reid is saying what he needs to say as a leader in the party. But if you think Reid isn't telling Democrats to do what they need to do behind closed doors, you aren't paying attention.

A flurry of articles in the past week or two have focused on the coming civil war between progressive and centrists Democrats. Is this just because Noam Scheiber chummed the political journalism waters with his Warren article, or is there a real showdown in the offing? What should we be looking for as evidence that this fight is really happening (or going to happen)?

I think there is a real fight coming in 2016 -- and it would be even bigger if there wasn't a figure like Clinton looming as a candidate.

The divide between the lefty base and the party establishment has largely been glossed over because Democrats control the White House and Senate. But, it's very real.  And it will come to a head.

How much joy are you having with the struggles of Manchester United this year.

Very very much.

That said, I do love Wazza. 

Was Fix Aaron or Sean at the Cillizza Turkey Day dinner?

Unfortunately no.  Only Fix fam -- at the Breakers in West Palm Beach!

As a linguist who is trying to understand political science, I find it interesting that the Germans that speak with a Southern American accent would indeed turn out to be pro-America yet the Germans who speak with a British accent would be the ones more likely to want to go to war with England.


Are you keeping an eye on the World Cup draw today?

Um, yes.

"Choosing to show a beloved statesman alongside one of the most phony, craven political hacks of this or any other era demeans Mandela and negates your points about statesmanship--and does nothing to disprove those who say the Post is trying to create the assumption that Hillary Clinton will be the next president." You were far too kind in your response to this person, Chris. I'm mystified as to how someone who claims to have read the piece and liked it could spew such vitriol. Yikes!

Politics inflames peoples' passions.

I like to think that not everyone is as nasty to each other as they come across on social media and comments sections. It's the only way I get out of bed in the morning.

My 4 year old cried when I turned it off after having let her watch 30 minutes of it before I put her to bed.

That's a pretty strong endorsement.

Have you heard rumors that outgoing Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell is being considered for President of Virginia Tech? Isn't he too tainted by scandal for such a post?

Not sure. I think he is way too tainted to be a political candidate anytime soon but university president might actually be a place where he could spend some time rehabilitating his image.

if the election were held today, Tom Corbett or Michael Scott?


If the election were held today between Tom Corbett and a potted plant, I'd put my money on the potted plant.

Online or bricks and mortar for the Fix Family?

Online only.

I went to Tysons Corner mall two weekends ago and couldn't find a parking spot for 35 minutes. Never again.

Speaking of online shopping, I hear Amazon is a pretty good company for that sort of stuff...

Have you started to see any changes yet after the WP purchase by Bezos?

Not yet.

No, it's bored journalists who want to appease criticism from conservatives who complain about TP vs. Establishment. There is very little difference amongst Ds on major issues.

Disagree.  There is a GULF between how Elizabeth Warren views the world and how Max Baucus views the world.

Will you be following the World Cup first-round draws today?

Is Luis Suarez the best striker in the world?

(Yes. And yes.)

How many of the 47%-48% that don't like ACA dislike because it didn't go far enough, i.e. Single Payer, Medicare-for-All?

A few points. Though I think the idea, pushed by some Democrats, that ALL polling on ACA is wrong because it doesn't accurately reflect people who want the law to go further is off base.

So many great quotes--and with him it was real, not just lip service. This one sums him up for me: "A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination."

My favorite (because of Mrs. Fix's coaching career): "Sport has the power to unite people in a way that little else can."

The Onion's headline yesterday, as always, hit the nail on the head: "Mandela becomes the first politician to be missed."


I've been asked to purchase a biography for someone alive from 1850-1950...what's the best biography you've ever read?

Here's our list of best presidential biographies:

Chris, Assuming Senator Cochran chooses to retire, how would you rank Democrats chances for a pick up?

Roll Call is now reporting that Cochran is running for re-election. I am somewhat surprised.

If you were starting a team, you pick: a) Wiggins b) Parker c) Randle I'm too scared of athletes w/o motors and skill so I'd go with Parker. Agree?

Parke. Not even close.

Wiggins drifts in and out of the play too much for me.

I would take Randle before him and maybe even Aaron Gordon of Arizona.

He has to retire right? He can carry around a bible every hour until November, demographics guarantee he will lose.

I think it's a very tough race for him to win unless Tom Cotton screws something major up. If Cotton runs a standard issue Republican race, Pryor will be hard-pressed to overcome the political realities of the state.

If he can get 10Y/$240M, how much do you think the Seattle fanbase is going to want Paul Allen to pay Russell Wilson in a few years?

I am stunned.  Jay Z was right!

What are you getting Fix Aaron for Christmas?


Rand Paul picked up some attention and praise this week for his trip to Detroit to lay out his plan for economically depressed urban areas. The parallels to Jack Kemp are obvious, both explicit and implicit. Do you see Paul playing the Kemp angle more as we get closer to 2016, particularly as a way to distinguish himself from Cruz if he runs?

Yes and yes.

I think the undercurrent of Paul's bid is that he is the only candidate in the field who can genuinely re-shape (and add to) the GOP electorate.

Cory Booker. He went to the Senate and disappeared.

Not bad. But LOTS of people (and dogs) have had Worser Weeks.

If Hillary Clinton runs, what's the point of those two running? I guess O'Malley might like a Cabinet position. But the same oppo that kept Schweitzer from running for the Senate probably would rule him out of a Cabinet job. I don't know who votes for either one in a Democratic primary.

Because of the timing. O'Malley isn term limited out in  2014. If he doesn't run in 2016, he has to wait until (at least) 2020 to run -- at which point he is likely to have been out of office for 6 years. Ditto Schweitzer who left office last November.

I think the hit comparison is a bit unfair because there is only one WaPo story about the Sound of Music but, just counting headlines, eight about Mandela. By the by, I thought Carrie did a fine job. Captain Von Trapp was a bit at sea (sorry), but the rest was very enjoyable.

Fair points all around.

Is it too early to make an informed bet on January shutdown/no shutdown? 25/75?

I would say 15/85.

People split tickets all the time. They view Pres & others differently all the time. If not, then Pryor would been down huge already. Actually, he never would've won in the first place.

Fair enough.

I just think Arkansas has moved so strongly against Obama that it will create a wicked undertow for Pryor that not even someone like him -- with a famous last name -- can weather.

Are you still challenging Hax over relationship questions?

Absolutely. Bring it on. The doctor is IN.

it seems that during every open prez race there are state that switch party that no one could have predicted eight years earlier. VA and CO in 2008, AR and WV in 2000, etc etc. What states (likely blue) do you see switching parties in 16 that would have seemed laughable in 2008?

Arizona potentially from R to D. Minnesota will likely be more competitive than people think. 

Here's a person who was born in 1874 and died in 1964 and was arguably the most important single figure of the cited time period: Winston Churchill. I just read the three-volume biography "The Last Lion," begun by William Manchester and finished by Paul Reid, and it's terrific. Roy Jenkins wrote a good one-volume bio, if the recipient needs a shorter option (or the gift-giver needs a less expensive one).

"When Pride Still Mattered: A Life of Vince Lombardi" Its a non-politician but written by David Maraniss.

Brilliant book.

Your observation that a potted plant is winning against Tom Corbett is correct. There are Democratic candidates with single digit name recognition who hold double digit leads over Corbett. I don't count Corbett out yet because I predict he will run with the simple message that he did not raise taxes. If he keeps hounding on that issue, he could survive in what may be the most politically conservative of the Northeastern states.

Maybe.  But it seems to me a major longshot.

His numbers are stunningly bad.

Obviously it's early and a lot will change in the next couple months but how do you foresee the Republican primary for the open Senate seat in Iowa shaking out? St. Sen Joni Ernst has a fairly compelling primary, but it's unclear if she has the Money or conservative cred to clear the 35% threshold the state party has in order to avoid a convention (which would likely result in a more conservative, less electable nominee). Enlighten me

I am stunned that Republicans couldn't convince a bigger name to run for an open seat in a swing state.

I think Bruce Braley starts as the favorite against any of the R candidates -- none of whom have proven they can raise money and perform on a big-ish national stage.

If there's such division within the Dem primary then Clinton wouldn't win easily. O'Malley (more so than Schweitzer) would compete well. You can't say both things are true.

There is a division. But, as I said above, Clinton's dominance in the potential field might well paper it over.

Doesn't Mary Landrieu always start out as being "in trouble," and then win by a reasonable margin? Her family has long and deep roots in the Bayou State after all.

If you define 52% as a "reasonable margin", then yes.

I had a question, but first, hahahahahaha.

Hello Cleveland!


William Manchester's bio of FDR, "The Lion and the Fox," is a great one that also does a good job of exploring broader currents in US history during that time period. Very readable.

Interesting list. Have you read all of these? I read a lot of history (including many on your list) but I confess I don't see myself investing time in a bio of Chester Arthur.

Um, no. Not even close. I have two little kids. The only book I have read lately is "Why Dinosaurs love underpants"

So Harry Reid finally pulled the trigger, and then...nothing? Why haven't any judicial nominees been brought to the floor for a vote yet?

They are coming.

Also, I was wrong about the nuclear option. I tried to figure out why here:

No way Republicans want the optics of an all male debate stage in 2016, especially in the face of the likely candidacy of Clinton. What GOP woman could you foresee stepping up to take one for the team?

Potential VP candidates: Kelly Ayotte, Susana Martinez.

Have you seen this? Is it really like that when congress-critters bunk together?

Have not but plan to watch.

Odds that the United States gets into one of the Groups of Death during the World Cup draw?

Watch live here:

Thanks for a great list. Some I have read and agree with your assessment, some I have somehow missed. Thanks!

It's an awesome list...all thanks to Fix readers!

I don't get why Nelson doesn't run for Governor of Florida. Scott is weak, and unless you are in the leadership of your party, I would take governor of any state over senator any day.

I agree. But Nelson has spent a long time in Washington and seems comfortable here. 

I think health care might prove to be a more complicated issue in Louisiana than you might think. Jindal's refusal to expand Medicaid has been pretty unpopular.

As a Kentuckian, I would prefer it if Rand spent a little more time appearing to represent the people who elected him to the Senate. I'm not one of them, but still....

Well, Kentucky isn't exactly at the forefront of the 2016 presidential nomination calendar....

Since you miss Squirrel chat so much, maybe Reindeer chat would be the perfect competition.

Come at me reindeer. I am ready.

Nick Saban. He has nothing to do with DC, but that's one bad week. War Eagle!!!

Always good to see Saban lose.

Any pressure in DC to have America tell Ukraine to "go West" or is that just wishful thinking?


He has been low key since coming to Washington. Taking more of the Al Franken route. Are you surprised?

Not really. I think he is smart to take a low key approach at first.  It worked for Hillary Clinton and Franken...

I remember in the begging of 2010 many Democrats saw the landscape and announced they would retire (Bayh, Dorgan, Dodd come to mind). Do you think the same will happen in 14', and what are some possible names?

Cochran was the big domino we were all waiting to drop and he is now running again. 

Fans of the University of Alabama football team. They showed how delusional they were by sending death threats to a 22 year old kid who missed some field goals.

That's classy.

Have you seen any evidence that she wants to run for president? Her refusal to be considered for VP in 2012 doesn't make it seem like someone who wants to enter national politics.

I think she (and her people) are interested in a broader stage for her. I think they are (smartly) taking it slow.

If you get tired of the dinosaurs, another fine title is Dragons Love Tacos.

Got it.

"If the election were held today, Tom Corbett or Michael Scott?" Gee, I'd wondered what ever happened to Steve Carrell's character after he left "The Office." Mystery solved!

That's all folks. Enjoy your weekend. Be safe.  And spread the word. We do this chat EVERY Friday at 11 am.  Be there.


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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