The Fix Live

May 09, 2014

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

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Sorry for the delay! Technical snafu. But I am now safely ensconced at Starbucks and ready to chat.

Let's do this thing.

Game it out for us.

Would likely wind up as a Jeb vs Rand race since I don't think Huck would be able to break out of the social conservative base in which he is beloved.

Jeb would the favorite in a two man contest although I think Rand has an appeal that is intriguingly unique.

His candidate lost badly in the N.C. Senate primary, while his ally Walter Jones Jr. barely survived a challenge based on his foreign policy views. How bad a day was it for Rand Paul?

Not a great one.  But, I think what Rand really wanted to do in NC was to remind voters there that he's the libertarian Republican they want to be with. 

Remember that NC moved its primary date way up -- the Tuesday after SC -- and so I think Rand's decision to play there was more about 2016 than his feelings about Greg Brannon.

Two Midwestern governors, both with strong conservative credentials. Neither one well-known to voters outside their home states. Compare and contrast.

Walker is better known nationally due to his fight with public sector unions in his state.

I think that makes recruiting activists and raising money easier for him than Pence.

Pence is rightly positioned on the issues but unknown. The way you solve that problem is to stump in early states relentlessly and raise tons of money for ads. He can do the first, not so sure about the second.

I doubt that Huckabee runs for president, but if I was a staffer encouraging him to do it, I could write a heck of a memo arguing that his chances are underrated. Maybe not winning, but coming pretty close. But while polling looks good for him, I don't know how he raises the money. He would need a strong small-donor operation.

He'd be an immediate favorite in Iowa and a major factor in South Carolina. My issue with Huck is that he has never shown any desire to expand -- whether from an activist or a donor perspective -- beyond the social conservatives who love him.

That's a strategy that is sure to make you a factor in the primary process but also one that seems very unlikely to make you the nominee.

Analyze the impact on the following potential candidates if Jeb Bush enters the race: Marco Rubio Chris Christie Paul Ryan Scott Walker

Rubio wouldn't run.

Ryan probably won't run either way.

Christie would be badly damaged by a Jeb entry since they are fishing from the exact same establishment waters.

Walker wouldn't benefit from a Jeb candidacy but he has both geography (he's from the Midwest) and ideology (he's more conservative than Bush) going for him.

I have what may be an incorrect observation. I saw Elizabeth Warren speak recently for the first time. I thought she was great and she is an excellent speaker who knows how to made strong arguments for her beliefs. Yet, I did not feel like she was Presidential candidate material. Why? Because she did not work the crowd. She came in the back and left through the back. If she were Clinton or a Bush (my frames of references) she would have been like they were, shaking hands and having their pictures taken. Perhaps there was some reason such as scheduling that prevented her from working the crowd, Yet, successful Presidential candidates schedule for working the crowd. Is this a useful observation?

Right, she is is more college professor than professional politician -- no question. That is, of course, part of the reason people find her so appealing.

And, I remember in early 2007, Barack Obama was pretty awkward when interacting with crowds. He worked at it and got better -- so it is doable.

All of that said, I don't think Warren is running for president.

What do you think will be the defining issues for the parties in 2016?

The fiscal future of the country

Energy policy


Do we hear more about Obamacare or Benghazi over the next 6 months from Republicans running for office?

Obamacare. Although Benghazi seems to be their buzzword of the moment.

Yesterday a LA POLL found Mary landeriu at 36 is Mary Blanche Lincoln of 2014?

Not a great poll for her particularly because six in ten people said they wanted someone new even after being informed about her being the chair of the Senate Energy Committee.

Will the Dems boycott or not? If they boycott, they score some points with their base, but they also open themselves up to charges of trying to hide something. What to do, what to do?

I saw this morning that they are thinking of appointing a single person to the committee so that they have access to all of the committee reports and findings but can also symbolically protest as well.

A while back, you had done a piece breaking down the various ideological factions within the House GOP. While there were many, the largest group still supported Boehner as Speaker. Doesn't that mean that he'd probably still prevail if he ran for the Speakership again?

Well, the largest group support Boehner. But, he doesn't have enough support -- at least I don't think he does at the moment -- to avoid a second ballot vote. And on a second ballot vote all bets are off.

Boehner, a very good pol, knows all of this. I think it remains to be seen whether he runs for Speaker again in the 114th.

Any chance for a Bill Nye - Neil deGrasse Tyson primary?


Liverpool broke my heart.

And Fix Jr's. He's a big Suarez fan.

That was one of the most epic collapses I have ever witnessed. 3 goals in 12 minutes.

Are the Republicans going to get great election talking points from the Benghazi hearnings or will the Democrats manage to make them look foolish?

I think it depends how much/little Democrats participate and what (if anything) new is unearthed by the committee.

Look, the Republican base is heavily motivated by the idea of getting to the bottom of what happened in Benghazi. I think it's an open question as to whether Democrats will be equally motivated by what they believe to be a political witch hunt.

Do you see Marco Rubio tacking more to the center in an attempt to woo donors disenchanted with Christie, especially if Jeb doesn't run?

I think he's already in that space thanks to his involvement in the immigration reform debate.

If you view the GOP in the age of Obama as essentially split between the establishment and the tea party -- overly simplistic but in the main right -- it's hard to see Rubio as a candidate in line with Ted Cruz and Rand Paul, two of the pillars of the tea party wing.

If you're in the Texas 4th, do you cat your vote for 91-year-old Ralph Hall?

I don't cat my vote for any one.

I just finished Season 3 of GoT (I know, I'm behind), but John Snow's "Baby, I can explain" moment after Ygritte catches up to him has to rank up there with John Belushi and Carrie Fisher in Blues Brothers.

It is so amazing.

"Look, you know me and the wildlings were never a good fit. Mance Rayder is cool and all but..."

Give us your EPL "Championship Sunday" predictions, and also provide insight on how horrible it is to be a Tottenham fan.

Very terrible.

And I assume City is going to win it all.

Crist running didn't seem to stop him.

Jeb is Rubio's political mentor.  I find it VERY hard to believe Rubio gets into a race that Jeb is already in. And, I think Rubio waits for Jeb to make up his mind before deciding for himself.

Will this ever become a defining issue? No amount of scientific research seems to dent the surety of the non-believers.

I don't know whether it will ever become an issue that is persuasive or decisive to a broad number of peoples' votes.

I am skeptical it will.

Is Paul Ryan really the go-ahead favorite for the next Ways & Means chairmanship once Dave Camp retires? I've heard Kevin Brady, key Boehner ally and deputy whip, has seniority and may make a case to leadership that he should get it.

If Ryan wants it, Ryan gets it.

Lois Lerner?

Good guess!

I went with Kay Hagan since she watched the strongest GOP nominee against her win convincingly despite her efforts to dabble in the primary.

Who scored big? Who was a disappointment? Who surprised you the most (assuming you can still be surprised after your time in Washington)?

I thought Obama's speech was funny. Presidents speeches almost always are. They aren't professional comedians so I think they tend to overperform expectations.

I thought the whole thing went on too long/too late. I need my beauty sleep.

Hillary has all he makings of an early powerhouse that fizzles. The GOP is in complete disarray. I think 2016 will be Biden v Christie. Why am I wrong?

Because Biden isn't Obama circa 2008.

When Jeb doesn't run, When Huck doesn't run, When Ryan doesn't run, the top tier field will consist of Christie, Rubio, Paul, Jindal, Walker, correct?

I might sub out Cruz for Jindal.  But, yes.

Could you please start making fun of the hack pols like Hillary and McCain who walk on stage and point at the crowd like they're greeting someone? We all know it's fake, and stupid, and offensive.

Do we? I always assume they know tons of people -- they have been politicians forever -- and so they DO see people they actually know.

For the record, if you ever see me taking the stage and pointing at someone, I am totally faking it. No chance I know anyone in a crowd.

They're both included in the 2016 conversation, yet do you see them running against each other? Despite having pretty strong differences, they share a lot in common, including job, background, and most importantly donor base.

They do have similarities but I tend to think it's personal relationships not policy similarities that keep candidates out of races.

While Walker and Jindal undoubtedly know each other, they aren't close personally in the way Walker is with, say, Paul Ryan.

Looking on TV, I thought Obama killed the place, and Joel McHale suffered from having to follow him. Where were you?

Kind of with you.

I think Obama was quite good and then McHale came on and did 30 minutes to a crowd that had been there since 6 pm.  I thought he had some good lines but I could live without the "celebrity entertainer" part of the night.

Let the president -- whichever party he or she is -- speak and call it a night.

My friends and I will be holding a political scandal draft, selecting NY politicians on their likelihood to be involved in something unseemly between now and Nov., points awarded for various categories of scandal. Are we awful people, or geniuses? (Awful geniuses?) And what does it say about politics in NY that there is no shortage of candidates.

Awful geniuses with the possibility that you are just plain geniuses.

If 0 is not running and 10 is a 2016 certainty, where is Jeb Bush this week?


In truth, I have no idea.

Are any of the Democrats who want to run for President making any progress towards that goal, or are they totally stymied by the potential presence of Hillary in the race?

She really makes it hard for anyone -- with the possible exception of Biden -- to make inroads with donors and activists.

That's especially true as the CW has shifted from "it's 50-50 if she runs to "it's 90-10 she runs". 

Any thoughts or comments on the Republican primary convention for US Senate? Who do you think wins?

Ed Gillespie.

He is raising good money and running a very credible campaign. I think he would need something close to a lightning strike to beat Mark Warner but he will have set himself up nicely to run for governor in 2017 even if he loses.

There needs to be a mid teen number of Republicans to vote against him as Speaker in order to take him down. Based off of several anonymous-ish articles, there seems to be about that many. Why is the media not taking the threat of a dethroned Boehner more seriously?

We are.  I have written about it multiple times as have other at WaPo.

The reality is that the story isn't moving much right now. Boehner says he is planning to run for Speaker again. The forces that oppose him believe they can stop him this time. 

Now we just wait and see who's telling the truth.

Will the swing states in 2016 be any different in 2016 than there were in 2012? Will Hillary start off significantly stronger or weaker than Obama in any important states?

I think GA has the potential to be marginally more competitive. And AZ.  In both cases, the competitiveness if largely to how the state is changing demographically.

I don't buy the idea that Hillary could make KY or WV competitive.

I can't believe you gave it to a Democrat, even when it makes no sense because she's from NC. At least you're consistent.

I am confused by this "question".

You've forfeited your right to mock other people for taking selfies. I hope it was worth it.

I took ONE. With Tony Hale/Buster Bluth/Gary from "Veep". 

Why can't I have nice things too?

Maybe Hagan "dabbled" in the GOP campaign since Tillis reference ONLY her throughout the supposed GOP primary, on air and in debates. She actually ran a few adds talking about her own record too.

She quite clearly was spending money in hopes of pushing Tillis into a runoff.

But but pointed at me! I thought we were best buds!

We are. We will ALWAYS be friends.

Hillary has all he makings of an early powerhouse that fizzles. The GOP is in complete disarray. I think 2016 will be Biden v Christie. Why am I wrong? In response to this previous question you correctly noted that Biden isn't the Obama of 2008. That's true, but there are a lot of other reasons as well, There is no key issue that separates Hillary from the base, as there was in 2008 (Iraq). Also fizzlers tend to inexperienced or undisciplined campaigners (eg, Howard Dean, many of the 2008 Republicans) or lack money (Santorum, if he was ever a leader). None of those factors is present here.

Thanks. This is better than what I wrote.

Chris, I wouldn't vote for Walker if he was the last man on earth. BUT...having said that, and saying I wouldn't vote for Kasich either, Walker doesn't seem to have any real personality. As much as I dislike Kasich (I'm from Ohio) he seems to have some charm. Walker may seem to have more nationwide cred but seems to have zip, zero warmth or friendliness. I would think this would impact him trying to run for president.

I wrote about this last week...I think Walker's biggest issue is the charisma gap. He's not very charismatic. At all.

Everybody else in the top tier has a charisma to them.

Johnny Maziel, because he's not going to Dallas where he's adored, but to Cleveland!

But he always KNEW that was what was going to happen. Er...

I just don't understand why we should consider some campaigns to be serious efforts. I think of it this way: there are candidates and there are entertainers. The candidates want to hold office and the entertainers want the spotlight. Both groups want to raise money, but for different ends. Candidates: Walker, Paul, Bush, Perry, Rubio, etc. Entertainers: Huckaby, Palin, Trump, Ryan (?!?), Fred Thompson (remember him?), etc. I only put Ryan in the entertainers group because he doesn't seem to have the fire in his belly for the tough campaign. He seems pretty happy to toss bombs from the sidelines.

It's an interesting formulation.

I tend to think of it as their are candidates and there are causes. The candidates believe they can win and are willing to do what it takes to make that happen. The causes are candidates who simply want their voices heard.

If Coach Fix got an offer for Notre Dame, would you be moving to South Bend, IN?

Trick question! Notre Dame doesn't have field hockey!

Thoughts on Manziel heading to the QB graveyard that is Cleveland?

I am rooting for him. The Fix In Laws are all Texas A&M people and so they are deeply invested in Manziel. Plus, him succeeding would be good for Cleveland.

If you were stranded on a desert island and had to live with either Arsene Wenger or Gareth Bale, who would you pick?

Arsene! Not close. A French intellectual!

Leaving aside politics, what's your read on the 2014-5 Hoyas team?

Good recruiting class. Not a ton of returning talent or leadership. I worry we miss the tourney again.

All those hack politicians and duty-forfeiting "journalists" sucking up to hack actors and actresses, and vice versa, and they actually lose money for their scholarship fund. Really, it's just another day in Congress.

Happy Friday to you too!

Do you actually see the general election being close (margin of victory under 5%)? Or are conservatives and conservatives who call themselves "independent" just holding back support for McConnell now, but once election day rolls around, they'll be back in the fold?

I think it will be close. McConnell has a problem: He is VERY well known and not very well liked.  The best thing he has going for him is that he's running in a Republican state in a year that looks good nationally for Republicans.

Who makes the run-off? PK wrote a positive story about Jack Kingston, but lots of folks seem to be talking up Karen Handel lately. Dave Perdue seemed like the obvious one, but I'm less sure after he insulted non-college graduates. And we haven't even discussed the Tea Party aligned guys -- Broun and Gingrey! Did they hurt the conservative cause by both running, and risking no very conservative candidate makes the run-off?

Everything I hear is that it's between Kingston, Handel and Perdue. I think establishment Republicans would be fine with any of those three.

That's all folks. Have to run!

Thanks for spending an hour with me. We do this 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.
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