The Fix Live

Jun 13, 2014

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

Follow @TheFix on Twitter.

Happy Friday everyone!

Right after this chat I am hopping a plane to Connecticut to speak at my old high school.

First line: "And you all said I would never amount to anything...."

It's been an AMAZING week in politics. Eric Cantor anyone? And the World Cup is one. And the new Jack White album is out. Man!

Let's do this thing.

Eric Cantor is so conservative he opposed disaster aid for his own district after the east coast earthquake (and this isn't why he lost!) but he wasn't conservative enough for the 'true' believers? I'm confused!

He was part of the GOP leadership (strike one), had seemed willing to consider some immigration reforms (strike two) and spent more time cementing his status as the #2 in the House than in working his district (strike three).

Fix Jr. could make the call for this week--and I'm not knocking Fix Jr.

Yeah.  Kind of an easy one...

Size up the race between two Randolph-Macon College professors? Does Cantor run a write-in campaign? Chances of success?

Cantor has said he won't run as a write-in.

Dave Brat, the Republican, is a very clear favorite. This is a Republican district made more Republican in the last round of redistricting.

Hi Chris -- thanks for taking questions today. I'm sure your in box is flooded with Cantor-related questions, but the thing I'd most like to know is whether you think this is fluke of inattentiveness on Cantor's part or instead a sign of things to come. Does it, for instance, serve as a warning to Cochran in MS that he'd better up his game to avoid the same outcome?

Lightning struck.

Now, does that give tea partiers running against other establishment Republicans around the country a burst of energy and enthusiasm? Sure.  

But to draw broad conclusions about Dave Brat as the future of the GOP is a bit far fetched.

Were the votes for Brat or against Cantor? Is it possible the Democrats could win the seat? Do you think that Cantor's religion and the newly aligned voting district hurt him? Thanks Chris.

Brat did what all good challengers do: Make the case for why the incumbent needs to be fired and then present yourself as a credible alternative.

How many clients do you think John McLaughlin has lost in the last 72 hours?

Not been a great week for Eric Cantor's pollster. He made the "losers" list in my assessment of the race.

Immigration wasn't happening anyway. Kevin McCarthy is a quintessential insider. He's also the guy who would have become majority leader had Cantor been struck by lightning. So did Cantor's defeat really matter?

Not as much as I would have thought, to be honest. I am still stunned that McCarthy won his promotion to Majority Leader so easily.

Read this on that:

Brazil flopping at the World Cup.

Flopping as in falling over dramatically? Or losing?  Because they did the first but not the second.

Does he run for office again? On one hand, this loss is not how you would want to go out. On the other, like Lowell Weicker, it probably doesn't matter. He will always be remembered by this loss.

For sure.

Either for gov in 2017 or for one of the state's Senate seats held by Democrats.


Eric Cantor rousted! In other news, it was also National Seersucker Day--woefully overlooked by the media this year! Thankfully DC Fishbowl posted a snap and a writeup.

I love national seersucker day. I have seersucker suit of my own...never worn.


How bad of a penalty kick call was that in the Croatia game yesterday.


I have no idea how collegial House Republicans are, but will they welcome Brat with open arms or be irked that he knocked off the Majority Leader?

Oh, I think many will miss Cantor but they a) will move on quickly and b) won;t hold it against Brat.

These people understand this is a business.

Who is more vulnerable, Rick Snyder or Scott Walker?

Walker, slightly.

I think of the Big 3 in the Midwest, it goes like this -- most vulnerable to least

1. Walker

2. Snyder

3. Kasich.

That said, I think all three prob win.

Is the Cantor loss a bigger deal because he was Majority Leader or because his district is so close to the Washington press bubble?

The former. This has NEVER happened in the history of the Republic -- a Majority Leader losing a primary -- so, yeah, it's a big deal.

Is it Kevin McCarthy's job?

Absolutely. At the moment, no one is even running against him. Which is so amazing to me.

Odds he wins in the general election?


Are you still writing it, or is Jaime Fuller? Are you going to be on MSNBC more? When do you get your own show and leave us? Sniff...

Of course I am still writing. We have a staff of three right now -- Jaime Fuller, Aaron Blake and Philip Bump -- but more to come!

Clear indicator that Chris Christie is feeling more confident about his redemption from Bridgegate - dancing with Jimmy Fallon on the Tonight Show. Plus lots of other news that is pushing Bridgegate off the front page is good for him. Right?


And the dancing segment is freaking amazing.

Given the book publication, the media barrage, and the gaudily wrapped bus (wrapping done by a Des Moines, IA firm), what (if anything) would make her decide not to run?

Not really. If she is in good health -- and we have every indication she is -- then she's running.

I am shocked that he coasted to victory. A year ago when Mace got in the race I thought Republicans in SC and nationally would have rallied around her (A conservative woman to expand the base)... How did he do it?

He is a REALLY good politician. 

Read this:

Is the battle between Tea Party and establishment within the GOP be close to the battle between you and Fix Aaron for control of the Fix.

Not even close.  Ours is FAR more fierce. And mean spirited.

Boring Basketball team and city...... That is all.

Couldn't disagree more. As someone who loves basketball and still plays all the time, watching San Antonio play is exhilarating.

I think how the Heat play is boring. LeBron holds the ball for 15 seconds and then bulls someone over.

Must say, as a follower of politics, he came off very likeable in his next day press conference. More so than any leadership presser.

I thought he did a really good job in an incredibly difficult circumstances.  Optimistic and big when negative and small are so easy to do.

True or false: the US beats Ghana and makes it out of group play.

I think we beat Ghana. I don't think we make it out of group play.

Does Hillary ever dance on The Tonight Show?

I say she does.

He got hurt making another Star Wars movie. Does that dim hopes for another awful Indiana Jones movie?

The last one was so bad I had to do a "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless mind" thing on my brain to forget I watched it.

Tom Foley, if memory serves.

Right.  The only roughly equivalent sized shock in the House in all of my years.

Cantor/Graham. Cantor attacked his opponent while Lindsay attacked Obama. One got Cantored and one skated to victory.

Terrific use of "Cantored".

Any special plans with Fix Jr. and Fix III?

Just getting to spending the day with them and my wife is plenty. I am really blessed and lucky.

I guess the 15% is the odds he pulls a "Todd Akin" and says/does something between now and election day to make him unelectable - which is possible for any prohibitive favorite, right?

That is correct.

Peter Roskam v Steve Scalise...... Who would you put money on?

Scalise. Because movement conservatives/tea party types need a voice in leadership and they know it.

But Roskam is smart and able. Wouldn't rule him out.

I have 1-0 in all 3 games. Plausible?

Always in soccer...

Why were you and the rest of Washington so surprised by the fall of Cantor when the Post ran a story weeks ago saying Brat was gaining on him? In a primary with such a tiny turnout, anything can happen, right?


But "something" almost never happens.

I (most likely very foolishly) have USA advancing to the quarter finals. I blame Grantland and their "The US will TOTALLY win" attitude for giving me a false sense of security and that ESPN American Outlaws ad that makes me tear up for no reason.

Check out The Fix World Cup brackets on ESPN. Not a lot of USA believers -- kind of like Klinsmann! BOOM!

Ok so as far as the upcoming election -- what happens to the GOP in the House with the loss of their majority leader? Do they gain more seats? Lose more seats? Maybe this doesn't matter in 2014 because who who votes.

Doesn't matter for 2014 at all.

Sean Trende wrote an interesting piece over on RCP about how Cantor was rarely seen in the district and his office didn't return phone calls. Isn't that what really did him in?

I think there was a sense that he was focused nationally and not locally. And that clearly hurt him.

then it seems that Boehner shouldn't have much trouble winning the Speakership again, right?

Here;s that theory: The tea party doesn't love McCarthy any more than they love Boehner and aren't keen on replacing Boehner with McCarthy.

And, taking it a step further, that same group may not like Boehner but they know he is capable -- and they have questions about McCarthy on that front.

I can see it. But I can also see how Cantor's defeat simply destabilizes things in the GOP leadership in the medium term, which should open the door for more conservative candidates to make their mark.

Actually looking forward to England vs Italy tomorrow evening.

Me too. Although that has the potential to be a VERY dull game given the way Italy plays.

If he loses out... Does he bide his time until the next fight, or retire?

Bides his time would be my guess. As this week showed, lots of unexpected things keep happening.

How likely? How Soon?

Not sure.  Maybe not ever.

Which ones are you watching closely? Any potential for further painful upsets?

MS runoff. That's the biggie.

I was wondering why the Post didn't send you to Brazil for the World Cup?

I was wondering the same...

Its raining at that game. It should be fun to watch.

That will be a good one. Noon?

Will both Gillespie and Cantor now be vying for the job? Or will both run for the Senate if Hillary picks Kaine?

I think 2o17 looks like Gillespie and Bolling...and maybe Cantor.

And if Kaine goes, then all bets are off. Man that would be an amazing few years in VA politics.

How soon till you call Fix Aaron: Boss?

He already make me do that.

So McCarthy as a placeholder for Paul Ryan?

I don't think he's a placeholder for anyone. But, getting elected Majority Leader and getting elected Speaker are two very different things.

Did Sarah Palin endorse Eric Cantor or David Brat in the primary?

Neither as far as I know.

He strikes me as exciting no one in the republican party.

But not really offending anyone either. Which may be his secret to success.

what exactly does a Majority Leader do, anyway? The Speaker runs the House. The Whips tally the votes. Isn't the Majority Leader just a nice title and office, without much actual responsibility?

He is in charge of directing the policy agenda.  It's an important gig.

Can we expect stories about Michelle running in '16 for the Senate seat in Illinois.

There will be speculation. But she has repeatedly made clear she has no interest in doing it.

It is somewhat ironic that the only reason voters in the district knew about Brat was from Cantor's negative commercials. So count this as one real case where negative campaigning actually backfired.


The speculation is kind of silly IMO. He lost because he's a jerk and his constituency figured it out. I'll bet half of them didn't know Brat from the mailman.

"Better"? Not sure how to answer that.

I think McCarthy is more naturally personable than Cantor, which might help with his Member relations.  But he's far less policy oriented than Cantor.

How much, if any, of a factor was former Congressman Ben "Cooter" Jones in Eric Cantor's loss? Is there data yet on the number of Democrats who voted in the primary?

Not much of one -- despite what the Cantor people say.

Read this:

Do you see a scenario where Greg Stumbo could put this seat in play for Democrats? Maybe if Hillary is leading the ticket in 2016?


Do you really think he has broad enough appeal for Senate or Governor? His whole shtick is sour arrogance, not the best calling card.

Not sure his schtick is "sour arrogance"....

I don't know if he could run and win statewide. He would be able to raise money without question but might struggle if someone was in the race running to his ideological right.

I bugged you into making a World Cup group, you did, and it seems to be successful.

Thank you!

Ammunition for democratic negative TV ads? I can see it now... "First Christie danced around the bridge scandal. Now, he's try to dance his way back for another term..." etc, etc.

Maybe. But I think he does himself a lot of good by going on national TV and having some fun. Helps to humanize him, which is always a good thing for politicians.

And is that his real name?

He's the newest member of the Fix posse. And that is absolutely his own -- and awesome -- name.

He strikes me as vulnerable. Not because he has done anything wrong, but people in WI, and in DC, really like Russ Feingold and think they made a mistake in 2010..... Agree?

RonJon will face a very tough race in 2016. Feingold probably has the right of first refusal but Ron Kind badly wants to run too.

Does his promotion now make him the poster boy for the GOP attempted comeback in CA? Does he run for Gov. in 4 years?

No. He is too politically smart for that.  California isn't electing a Republican governor for a while.

Hulk, Fred, Oscar. Do you call each other Chris, Aaron, etc. or do you work in comic book characters in the office too?

Hulk is the best name ever. Aside from Socrates.

I noticed Cantor's campaign manager blamed Democrats for voting in the primary against Cantor. How true is this? Cantor's vote totals in 2014 were close to what they were in 2012 - yet he got walloped this time.

Not true. See above.

Who knew schadenfreude translated into English as Boehner?


Georgetown is going to play Syracuse again. The Miami Heat seem to be on the verge of losing to the Spurs and Dumb and Dumber To is coming out this fall. Not much else to talk about this week is there?

Pretty quiet week.

Should Corbett start packing up his office or does he have a snowball's chance?

I'd invest in some boxes if I were him.

Cameroon advancing? Explain.

Just got a feeling. And Mexico is overrated.

If he wins with only 51% or so, does that hurt his chances at the GOP presidential nomination?

I don't think it matters. Win is a win.

Could McCarthy be in real trouble if the conservatives get two cracks at him in both primary and general in 16?

I suppose...I think the Cantor loss should make ANYONE in leadership in either party a little nervous..

That's all folks!

If you are in CT this weekend, come see me. I am speaking tomorrow at Loomis Chaffee in Windsor, CT.  It will rock. Lots of score settling ;)

We do this thing 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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