The Fix Live

Dec 13, 2013

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

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Good Friday morning!

I just posted the Fix list of the best political books of 2013:

What did I miss?

do you know where i can get an "embrace the suck" T shirt? Just wondered.

I want to get these made. They would see like hotcakes.

My other t-shirt idea: "Where's Wallace?" with a picture of Stringer Bellon it.

That would rule.

Rank the DC shutdowns, from better ideas to worse ideas: Robert Griffin III Stephen Strasburg Federal Government (snow threat edition) Federal Government (Ted Cruz edition)

This rules.

Best idea to worst idea


Fed Govt snow threat (it snowed where I live!)


Fed Govt Cruz

Hi Chris, Have you caught up on The Wire yet, specifically seasons 3+? I'm waiting for your keen insight into the Baltimore mayoral election and other political happenings of the later seasons. Quit wasting your time with House of Cards and watch a show that's actually good and stand the test of time!

This is on the agenda for this winter.

Hahaha-without spoiling anything...let's just say it's funny to hear from snobbish critics about Homeland's implausibility with news like the last 24 hours. When will they learn not to doubt the extent of the CIA, to focus criticism elsewhere?

After falling out of love with Homeland in Season 2 and the start of this season, I am now all in again.

What lit a fire under Boehner?

I think eh just got sick of it all.  I also think he knew they had the votes to pass it so he could afford to go off a little bit on the Club, Heritage etc.

Here's my piece on it:

Do you ever read comments posted below WashPost online articles? if so, please rate your level of concern for our future?

I think comments CAN be a good thing. For example, I got lots of great suggestions when I asked for recommendations for best political books of 2013.

Unfortunately, most of the time they are cesspools of the who-can-shout-loudest crowd.

Hi Chris -- what are the odds that the bill passed in the House makes it through the Senate? Is that where full scale Republican civil war will be launched? Or has Boehner solved that problem once and for all?

It will pass the Senate.

And, I think you need to look toward primaries in early 2014 to see where things stand. if Mitch McConnell loses or comes close to losing, all of the establishment's current boldness will disappear.

Despite all the talk of polarization, the front runners for 2016 are two centrists, Clinton and Christie. Won't a lot of issues be taken off the table if those two are the nominees? And won't a lot of people on both the right and the left feel angry and frustrated?

It's interesting.

One thing I would note is that at this point of the 2008 cycle, polls said Clinton and Giuliani were the frontrunners. And we know how that turned out.

This deal means Paul Ryan is not running for president, right? He is getting 0 credit from liberals, and is getting killed by conservatives.

I think so. Everything I have heard for months is that he doesn't want to run for president. His decision to put his name on this compromise deal reinforces that reporting.

I wrote about it here:

The more I see clips of him bullying reporters over the years, the more I think he's going to do surprisingly poorly. Sell, sell, sell.

I think his temper/temperament will be a major issue in 2016...

Where are your talents being taken this weekend?

I sit in the Fix lair. Sipping water. And listening to NPR's best music of 2013.  You should too:

I thought Steve Stockman took the honors for worst week. Last minute primary challenge to Cornyn, with almost no money and calling Cornyn a "liberal". Huh?

Or did he have the best week? When's the last time Steve Stockman got this much press?

I see no path to him winning. But he is going to get a lot more national attention over these next 3 months than he would have if he would have run for re-election.

So he'd win Iowa and South Carolina, right?

I don't think so. I am going to do a bigger take out on the Huckabee candidacy in '16 later today on Fix. But, in short, remember that Huck was largely ignored in the 08 race until right before the Iowa caucuses. That wouldn't happen again.

Rob Ford says it was okay for RG3 to be benched. That's good enough for me.


I may be reading too much into this (can't believe those words just came out of my mouth), but does this episode signal a Boehner with his eye on the door and nothing to lose or a Boehner who knows he needs to break the stalemate in order to be a more effective speaker next Congress?

Not sure. 

I am not sure Boehner can win another Speaker vote if someone real (Ryan etc) challenges him...but I don't think anyone will.

I continue to not understand why Boehner wants to be Speaker in a GOP conference where no matter what he does 40+ members are going to be against him.

Paul Ryan: better chance at being Speaker, President, or neither?

Speaker.  I don't see him possessing the political acumen  or political will to run for president.

Rank Pryor, Landrieu, and Hagan from most in danger of losing their seat in 2014 to least?





Chris, Pick for album/song of the year? I'd go with Chvrches for album, Arcade Fire's Afterlife for song. From: @davemitrani

I am going to put together a full list next week.

But man oh man I loved "Southeastern" by Jason Isbell.

Their book "The Gamble" pairs well with a book like "Game Change," showing the stability beneath the ever-changing campaign narratives.

OH YES. Oversight. That book rules. Adding now.

Hi Chris! First off, I'm a big fan! My question is, regarding Republican primaries in 2014, it seems as if the tea party challengers are less credible (or not as big of a threat) as the ones in 2010 and 2012. In my mind, the only person who might have to worry is Thad Cochran. What do you think?

Cochran is in a category all his own in terms of vulnerability, for sure.

I think McConnell could face trouble...but I agree that people like Lamar(!) and Cornyn are probably going to be fine.

I am always mindful that the universe of people who vote in these primaries is anything can and sometimes does happen.

That shirt would rule, in the sense that it would make me burst into tears everytime I saw one.

"Where's Wallace at, String? Where's the boy?"

Fix Sean is doing a great job!! Give him a raise!!

He rocks.  Thanks for noticing.

When does the mass exodus begin in the Capital? I always thought that X-mas in DC would be great for a vacation because no one would be around.

I think next week is when people start clearing out of DC.

After the House passed the budget deal on Thursday night, they got the heck out.

Nothing says hip like "NPR music"


Barring some major event, Scott Walker and Bobby Jindal will both run for president in 2016. Considering the fact that they will be competing for the same donors, voters and message, to what degree will either of them be able to gain traction with the other breathing on his neck?

Not sure they will be competiting for the same voters/donors...

Did Stockton wait to enter the race to be sure that there would be no other challengers to split the primary vote against Cornyn?

This created a mental image of short-shorts John Stockton running against Cornyn. Which made me happy.

Looks like a Georgetown alumnus is heading over across the pond to be on "Downton Abbey"

Still waiting for the call...that show could use a nerdy political reporter spending some time abroad to recover from a "nervous condition"....right? Right?

I'm starting to enjoy weekend soccer. (Sorry, but I'm not prepared to call it football yet like you.) It's more fun when you can attach yourself to a team. With that in mind, is it OK for me to like Arsenal? I think they have a cool name, nice jerseys, a couple recognizable players from Olympics/World Cup viewing, and they're not the best-known team like Man U.

Oh my god no.

Arsenal is just the worst.

I root for Tottenham. But, if yoi are looking to adopt a team, I would go with Everton. Scrappy, competitive and Tim Howard is the goalie.

Thoughts on the special election to replace the late Bill Young? I would assume you tip the scale in favor of Sink in the March election, but the R primary (Peters v Jolly) looks quite intriguing. It's also the first primary I have seen in a long time where there is no tea party candidate and no tea party influence.

I think Sink probably starts with an edge because of name ID and fundraising potential.

But, it's a super competitive seat. Also, Bob Barker just endorsed Jolly.

I love all the attention to the moves of Warren and Gillibrand. Trivia question for you though: Who was the last President from the East Coast? (No, GWB doesn't count.) Donor money comes from the East Coast, but winning candidates come from other parts.

Who else belongs on these lists?

Hickenlooper? He has really struggled this year.

Schweitzer? There's a reason he didn't run for Senate.

Who else?

Me for finding out that my alma mater-which has won the most games in college football history-is playing in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl with a special performance by Smash Mouth.

Oh my gosh.

It could be worse: You could have to root for Georgetown football.

Weekly update on him. I'm surprised because he has got a lot done this year, but he is soooooo unpopular. Do you know why? I think that anyone that had anything to do with Penn State, fair or not is getting swept away.

Still not going to win.

Hi, Chris, Interesting that Charles Krauthammer's book made your list. It's bad enough reading his column. I would never suggest myself to a book-length Charles Krauthammer.

It takes all kinds. Plenty of other great stuff on there if you don't like his stuff. I tend to think he is a really thoughtful voice.

Piers Morgan would be upset with you dissing on Arsenal.

I know he would.

It is officially dead. What will politicians complain about now, when they are trying to appear to be "real people"?????

EPL? Wait...

Lamar Alexander. Just a weird disgusting story. I assume if this week events will come up in next falls election.

It's awful. Awful.  

Since Boehner feels more freed up supposedly, does he push Immigration bill in 2014?

Does he feel more freed up? Or was this a one off because he knew he had the votes?

I read in a conservative leaning publication (so I took it with a grain of salt), that the AG race had some irregularities, and could flip. Any truth to this?

I suppose. I think it's unlikely but recounts are wild things.

I thought he left the senate because he would have a larger platform running Heritage. I've seen him once on MTP one time, is he still around?

He is...I tend to think he miscalculated how relevant he could be to national debates as the head of a think tank - -even one as big and well funded as Heritage.

The general consensus on Senate races at this point is that Republicans will pick up West Virginia, Montana and South Dakota, and are strongly favored to pick up Arkansas. Several polls in the past couple weeks have shown Republican Senate candidates tied or leading in North Carolina, Michigan and slightly behind in Colorado and Iowa. Obviously its early, but if these numbers hold and primary voters don't completely screw up (two big ifs I know), this cycle could end up being a pretty big map, correct?

Yes. Map gets bigger if Obamacare/Obama is a major problem for Democrats because then Iowa and Michigan and maybe Colorado go onto the map.

You can get your own user-uploaded shirts made at

"Where's Wallace"!!!!

Do you ever talk trash to Dana Milbank for him not doing chats anymore?


My shirt would be: Where's Fix Aaron?


Georgetown has a football team? I thought the only sport they had was basketball, from November until their annual first round loss in the tourney...

Heck yeah they do.

2-9 this year. But we did close the year by beating Bill Simmons' alma mater Holy Cross. So we've got that going for us, which is nice.

Hate to break it to the chattering class but neither Jeb nor Ryan will run for President in 2016. When they forego doing so, where does their 20% or so of primary support go?


I think the top tier right now is:





So how badly does the Bridegate scandal hurt Christie in 2016?

Not sure it has that long of's not great though.

Are there any, you know, issues that separate Brian Schatz and Colleen Hanabusa, or is this strictly a matter of an Inouye vs. Abercrombie proxy fight?

The latter as far as I can tell. Both are pretty down the line liberals.

Chance he goes through with it-over/under 50%? Chance he can overcome Wall Street shill/carpetbagger label if he does-over/under 50%?

Everything he is saying makes me think he runs in NH. I think that's a tough race for him but not impossible.

Will you be shutting down Fix Aaron for the remainder of the year so that he comes back stronger next year?

That's what I told him. (wink, wink)

"I had the Worst Week in Washington"

Holy cow. I could send one to every winner...

Not sure if you're a college football fan, if so who you got? (I'm an Auburn grad, War Eagle! choose wisely)

Auburn, I guess.  I am  Texas A&M guy.

Republicans can't even focus on a candidate, and some of the primary contenders are not likely to be popular statewide. Unless Braley does something really stupid, this shouldn't be a nail biter.

National environment could complicate things for Braley. But, you are right, the R field is, um, not good.

I know you hate Arsenal because you support Spurs. And I, as an Arsenal fan, hate Spurs. But we're all political junkies here--can't we all just get along? (Oh, and who's in first place?)

When you defend Arsenal, you defend Oliver Giroud's haircut. Are you comfortable with that?


He would win Iowa if the vote was held today. And maybe South Carolina too.

Not poltiics, but in keeping with the music portion of the program, I just started Tune In, the 900-page tome on the first three years of the Beatles, and I'm hooked. But get it as an e-book--you need forearms like Popeye to lift the thing. And to tie in two other threads, have you ever looked at the connection between soccer and politics, especially in Eastern Europe? I believe CSKA Moscow, for instance, was the Army team and was supported by Stalin. They had a pretty good record. And Red Star Belgrade was recently owned by someone on the US terrorist list.

Thanks for the rec!

As for soccer/politics, you MUST read "How Soccer Explains the World" by Frank Foer. It's awesome.

So if Bill Simmons can publish pieces crafted from e-mail exchanges with Malcolm Gladwell, how come you aren't doing the occasional e-mail exchange piece with, say, Ryan Lizza? Imagine the branding opportunities...

Just wait...The Fix's thoughts on sports and pop culture are coming to a computer screen near you soon...

Can't think of any good political films this year? Although your viewing may be more limited these days to Despicable Me 2 (which could be about a politician?) and Planes.

You nailed it.

Or at least that was what I was told 10 years (and at least one owner ago) by a friend who just moved back from the UK. The fact that it's not Man U gives you instant stret cred.

Also, Ya Ya Toure is amazing. And Vincent Kompany is a major bad ass.

His numbers have not recovered from his immigration debacle, and he probably sees the writing on the wall in terms of the viability of a senator (or lack there of) compared to a governor. What are the chances he opts out of 2016?

Oh, I don't think so.

It's peaks and valleys in a presidential bid. And he is in a valley now. Also, it's 2013.

Winning the Iowa caucuses is hardly predictive of winning the GOP nomination let alone the general election. Cruz has no chance in a general election and at some point in the long process, that will sink in for primary voters.

I am not so sure that the "he can win the general" is as strong a calculation for primary voters as you might think.

Have you ever watched "The Sing-Off," a 2-week (on TV) competition among a capella groups (i.e., no instrumental backing at all)? The ensembles are simply amazing.

I loathe a cappella music. LOATHE.

"Act of Congress," by Robert Kaiser. I haven't read everything on your list but I have to think this is as good as some of those.

Love Bob! Adding.

Just go with Chelsea.

No, don't.

That's all folks!  Remember, go out and buy a book for your favorite political junkie -- and use our list:

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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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