The Fix Live

Aug 01, 2014

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

Follow @TheFix on Twitter.

Good Friday morning!

Stop me if you've heard this one before: House Republicans had to pull a bill because they couldn't get conservatives to line up behind it.

This time it's on emergency money for the border crisis. And House Republicans are still in DC, trying to pass something/anything.

I wrote about the chaos here.

Let's do this thing.

You should answer every question today with a reference to Sharknado 2.

I'm ready to really take a bite out of this chat. You know, to grab it in my jaws and shake it around a little bit.

What excuse do 2016 contenders use when they come from recess and go to Iowa and NH when every other legislator is listening to constituents at town halls?


But, you assume that most constituents are clamoring to hear from their member of Congress or Senator.  Which, by and large, they're not.

Remember when you told Buzzfeed Benny to "never change"? Good call. Who could've seen a lack of substance coming from him, right?

I thought/think that what Benny Johnson did at BuzzFeed -- in terms of the ways he chose to tell stories -- was innovative.

The plagiarism and really bad judgment about sourcing are obviously huge mistakes.

But, I really hope Benny gets another chance either in Washington or somewhere else. If we are all judged by our worst moment, we'd all been found wanting.

Last week someone asked: "Why does Senate control matter in November? It's not like Obama is getting anything done with Republicans controlling the House anyway." He's getting some appointments done -- with Democrats in majority to approve them.

Yes. Very good point. Ambassadorships (in theory) and other executive appointments that require Senate confirmation make it matter who controls the chamber.

Chris when the House drops by the Capitol in September for a couple of weeks what are the odds that Mr. Boehner and the rest of the GOP leadership team decide that it is time to bring bills to the floor that WILL pass with Democratic votes? Which is worse at this point, continued scorn and foolishness with nothing getting done or legislating with the other side?

Oh, that's not going to happen.

Republicans are trying to do everything they can to keep their base revved up. Working with Democrats is not exactly in keeping with that plan.

All signs point to Ted Cruz running in 2016 as a tea party standard bearer and his seeming power inside the House seems to mean he has some sort of constituency.Can he make it out of a Republican primary? How much closer to a 'McGovern moment' for the GOP if he does?

I think the odds are against him.

He does have a real following nationally. And I think in IA and maybe SC he will do quite well. The question is whether he could beat anyone in a one on one contest, which is what these primary fights ultimately become.

I'd be hard-pressed to think of someone Cruz could knock out in a one on one fight.

Fix III could pick this one in his sleep.

Lot of good options though...Kerry, the McDonnells, House Republicans...

It seems the public and private polls (Cantor race, GA runoff, MS runoff) have been waaaaaaay off this year. what is going on?

Polling primaries is hard. Polling runoffs is even harder. My guess is that polling makes a bit of a comeback in November because polling general election is easier.

Figuring out who votes in a primary or runoff is just a lot of art and some science. There's a significant amount of guesswork that goes into it.

When is the federal government going to start doing something about these Sharknadoes? First Los Angeles and now New York. This is getting frustrating.

It's a good point.

Don't live in GA but I have always liked Kingston, was a conservative who came off likeable in the media. Now that he lost the primary, is his political career over? Or could he run for Gov in 4 years?

I doubt his career is over. He is young and ran a very credible race -- even though he lost to David Perdue. I could absolutely see him running for governor or for Johnny Isakson's Senate seat whenever Johnny I decides to retire.

HI Chris -- we know that, no matter what it does (or doesn't do), the House is not in play in November, but do yesterday's events give the Democrats additional hope of hanging on to the Senate, or is that still looking like a baked cake as well?

Mostly baked cake.

I think what yesterday proved (again) is that whatever happens on Nov. 4, 2014 is not an indication of the relative strength of the two parties.

As in, Republicans are likely to make gains and maybe even take over the Senate. But, the idea that those gains mean the party is either unified or poised to win the presidency in 2016 is wrong.

This is a party at war with itself -- and the fighting doesn't seem likely to end anytime soon.

I thought Skarknado lost all credibility when it cast Tara Reid as an author.

Yeah. Not believable.

At least that's what I say on job interviews.

My worst trait? Caring too much. Followed by always putting people first, sometimes at the cost of my own happiness.

A friend was screaming about the added cost to the state for a special election. How much incremental cost is there if it's on the same day as the general? Not like it's going to affect any outcome, but it sure could be construed as a kick in the you-know-what on the way out the door.

Not nearly as expensive when it's on the same day as a previously scheduled election.

Why is Cantor quitting early?

1. To allow Dave Brat to serve in the lame duck session and have a slight seniority advantage over the other members of the freshmen class of the 114th Congress.

2. To cash out with a big Wall Street job.

What if we're judged by our worst 41 moments...

As told by cat GIFs.

I read your post about how GA may not be trending blue as fast as others thought. I have always thought (I'm excluding you of course) that this was always wishful thinking in the media. Most Southerners, regardless of demographics, tend to be more culturally conservative.

It was Philip Bump's piece -- and it was a really good one.

Read it if you haven't:

Why is Paul Ryan given so much seemingly unearned credibility? He lacks articulation, charisma, doesn't seem to really have any viable legislative solutions and comes off mean spirited?

I can tell you are looking at this through a non-partisan lens.

I think Ryan is someone who is at least willing to propose solutions -- his budgets, poverty plan etc -- that he knows will draw him the ire of liberals.  

Putting plans out there -- no matter how guided or misguided you think they are -- is a lot more than most politicians do.

No, you and other pundits have been talking for months about how unmotivated Democrats will be this fall. Suing the President (not yesterday) and then criticizing him for what you sued him about is going to help GOTV.

Democratic strategists -- and the White House -- really, really hope you are right.

Do you think one of the incumbents could go down?

I suppose. (See my point above about the difficulty of polling in primaries.)

I think Roberts in KS would lose before Lamar(!) in TN, for what it's worth.

Forget Clinton vs Bush Part Deux, recently SE Cupp interviewed Mark Cuban and asked him if we would ever run for President, even though Cubes said no, imagine a race between Cuban and Trump. Those debates would be gold Jerry, gold.

Holy cow. Amazing. I'd be for Cuban.  I am a "Shark Tank" fan.

More or less credible than Denise Richards as a nuclear physicist (James Bond)?

Or me as a "reporter"?


You wrote that Brownback has failed in Kansas, and the Kansas City Suburbs def make the state more moderate than other red states. That being said, this looks to be a republican year, don't you still give him an edge?

It's Kansas. It's the second midterm of an unpopular president's term.

So, yes.

Brownback starts with the ball on the 10 yard line. All he has to do is get one first down to score. That said, he's having a surprisingly hard time doing that so far.

The last poll I saw had Corbett down 13, which to me is within striking distance with 3 months left. The last governor to face a tough race was Dick Thornburgh, 3 decades ago. Do you give Corbett any chance to pull it out?


Unless Tom Wolf absolutely implodes.

You're the same person who manufactures or covers manufactured controversy that end people's careers, but an actual breach by a friend/colleague is OK. He should just get another chance. Come on, Chris.

I think all people should get a second chance! 

Benny lost his job. That's a pretty big punishment.

Why is this guy so bitter towards Obama? He said, "If I opened the newspaper tomorrow,” Morris added, “and I learn that Obama resigned, I wouldn’t be surprised." After his miserable 2012 election prediction, this guy needs to go away.

Dick Morris has always been with us. And he always will be.

I agree that Jack Kingston likely still has a political career ahead of him if he so desires, but I wonder if you think Paul Braun (who couldn't even make it to the runoff) is electoral toast.

Yeah, Broun, to me, didn't do himself many favors in that race.  He might be done. Maybe trying to come back to reclaim his old House seat at some point?

do you think the 6 california ballot measure wil'l be an issue in the presidential campaign

Absolutely not.

It's still fascinating though. 

"Look, you can't say on the one hand that the President's overreaching by acting without legislative authority and direction, and then refuse to give him legislative authority and direction in another area." Who said that? Republican Rep. Tom Cole! The House GOP is a joke right now. That might be enough for Democrats in the few close races there will be.

We wrote about that contradiction this morning.

Can you explain a bit more about why you think November is a done deal and that Republicans are destined to gain seats when fiascoes like the House not being able to pass a simple bill keeps happening? Why wouldn't the public lose faith in a party that can't seem to legislate itself out of a wet paper bag? I don't get it.

I don't think it's a done deal at all.

But, it's a mistake to assume the GOP's struggles legislatively will ensure a pro-Democratic election.

Historically, the 2nd midterm of any president is a very tough one for his party. That goes double when the president's approval ratings look like Obama's right now.

Those large atmospheric realities aren't usually affected by whether or not Republicans pulled their immigration funding bill on a day in late July.

When was the last story you broke?

Oh snap!

What's his endgame?

Run a credible campaign and emerge as the future leader of a California Republican party that literally has zero future leaders at the moment.

We hear a lot about Red States Trending Blue. Are there any Blue States that could trend Red?

I've written some about this.  There are fewer states moving blue to red than there are those moving to red and blue.

Minnesota and Wisconsin are the two obvious ones.

Who do you got winning the Premier League this year?

I hope Liverpool or Tottenham.

I think either Man City or Arsenal.

When will Benny Johnson, Jayson Blair and Stephen Glass be joining The Fix Team?

I see what you did there!

Folks, I am not absolving Benny of the mistakes he made. They are serious and he deserved to be fired.

But, he's a human being. Are we going to judge his entire life by his worst moment? I'm not. And I hope that no one does that to me. 

What do you think he does after November? Will he be one of the few high profile pols that just goes home?

Yes. And remember he has battled cancer as recently as this year.

Remember the 2012 election? Remember right after it when the Beltway said the GOP would have to do something to avoid looking anti-Latino? Hahahaha

They have a major problem with the Hispanic community. And it's getting worse not better. It might not impact the 2014 election but in 2016 -- and beyond -- it will.

...Is for Florida gubernatorial. If Crist wins, he will be in office for the 2020 redistricting, assuming he is re-elected. A non-gerrymandered Florida Congressional redistricting (as required by our Fair Districts amendments to the Florida Constitution) will result in a substantial net Dem pickup in the House. Hillary will take Florida no matter who is Governor.

Other really important gov races: Ohio, Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania.

For presidential race reasons as well as House line drawing etc.

your worst moment is not liking mayo...seriously how could you not like it especially when combined with ketchup to make russian dressing. It's ok I forgive you.

Even the thought of mayo makes me gag. Not kidding.

DCCC raised a record 4.8 million (!) in the last week. What do you think the likely hood there is record midterm turnout for young people, women and hispanics as well as Democrats smashing fundraising records. The Democrats ground game and technology is so superior i really see them pulling it out in the close races this year because of it.

It could happen.

As I said above, history suggests it is very unlikely that a coalition of young people, women and Hispanics turn out in a midterm election. But, history is only a useful guide until it isn't anymore.

You're talking out of both sides of your mouth. On one hand, you're saying that the polls are showing the President's approval rating are low, but they are positive among Democrats and independents. They're just really low among Republicans. On the other hand, you're saying that turnout will determine the election, which it will, but if the President is in positive territory amongst his supporters, they will turn out. And it doesn't matter if Republicans' are at a 10 in terms of motivation to turn out, and Democrats are at a 2, if they both turn out.

They are not even close to positive among independents.

And, look at the "very strong" approval vs the "very strong" disapproval numbers for Obama in any poll. The strong disapprove ways outruns the strong approve.

Republican base voters HATE President Obama. Democratic base voters like him. 

Do you know, or have you ever tested, the demographics of your audience on these chats?

The one thing they all have in common is terrific taste in online chats. That much I know.

A Bull Burger has Russian dressing. Russian dressing has mayo. Ergo, mayo is delicious.

I am no Russian dressing fan either. Yeah, I said it.

No Mayo = No Tuna Salad. C'mon!

Tuna = also gross.

I don't like mayonnaise either, but Aioli with fresh basil in it is delish, esp. with French fries.

Aioli is a word I know exists. I have no idea what it is though.

What beat would you cover, if not politics? Sports, foreign affairs, TV?

Sports.  Probably the Nationals. Or the English premier league. Or, if there was a field hockey beat, that.

I've always been curious how you gather your political intelligence nationally? Like your mentor Charlie Cook do you call political beat reporters and columnists around the country? Do you rely mostly on DC political operatives for insight? Do you just read everything that's out there? It doesn't seem like you travel much outside DC? Do you think that getting outside the Beltway would give you better info and is a travel budget on your Xmas list for Santa Bezos?

A lot of sitting at my desk staring vacantly at my computer. Works surprisingly well!

Could you handicap both? My guess is MI leans Blue and Iowa Leans Red.

Agree on Michigan.

I guess I would give Ernst the slightest of edges right now in Iowa but I don't think it leans toward her. Still a toss up in my mind. just garlic mayo. Yum!

AHA!  I learned something in this chat.

You say that Republican base voters "hate" President Obama. Would they hate HIllary Clinton more or just in a different way?

They likely would.

What does "GOTV" mean?

Oh, sorry!

Get Out The Vote. Just an acronym for the turnout operations of the two parties.

how crushed are you that they didn't choose the fixers.

VERY.  Trying to get over it by telling myself over and over again: "Mrs. Fix loves you. Mrs. Fix loves you. Mrs Fix..."

Good for you! There's a ton of news washing over us, but very few souls taking the time to stop and ponder what it all means.

Um, that's a very friendly interpretation. Thanks for that.

is it really a good indicator for control of the Senate, Obama probably hasn't left the low 40s and 30s since 2009 in Arkansas, Louisiana, Alaska, Kentucky and Georgia where a lot of the action is. Surely the actual incumbents approvals are a much better indicator, Landrieu, Pryor etc are holding up OK personally.

Sure. But Obama drags them down. Whether it's marginal or serious remains to be seen.

But when the leader of your party is in the low 40s in terms of approval, that's not a good thing for you -- even if you have your own political brand.

So when a Democrat is in office opposition is hatred. Because Bush's opposition was just a walk in the park.

Oh no. I think Democrats hated Bush too. THat's the 2006 election in a nutshell.

Has anyone hurt their brand/legacy more this cycle than Him?

Not a very good campaign. At all.  But, he still has time to turn it around. I am skeptical but who knows?

I am a 55 year old white male who owns three hermit crabs.

Yes. That seems to me to be my target audience/political base.

Interesting to speculate. You could ask each one of us to send in a one-line topic with our state of residence.

I like what they do on the Dan Patrick Show. When people call in they give their height and weight. That rules.

How nervous should he be?

For reelection? Not.

In general? Sort of.

Hypothetically for each teaspoon of mayo you ate, 100 dollars would be donated to charity, how many could you stomach?

Oooh. Good question. Can I eat/drink something in between?

If so, I would aim for 10.

If not, 0.

If I sat next to you in a bar, would I think you were a political reporter or a businessman or a cop or a congressional staff member?

Unemployed guy who lives in his parents basement.

As a conservatarian, I don't hate Obama but really, really dislike the things he is doing. On the other hand, my distaste for Hillary is visceral. Just my 2 cents.

Huh, interesting.

to the live chats during primaries and debates you used to have?

I don't know. Not a lot of presidential debates at the moment...

5'8 and a growing 200 pounds....


Oh, well thanks. I guess I shouldn't assume every answer is politically biased....

Wait, you assumed that?

Have you tried that? The heat takes the grossness (or grossality as an athlete or athlete turned sportscaster might say) out of it.

I still think the mayo has a high degree of grossality.

I think the American electorate should be judged on its worst 535 moments.


That's all, folks!

Thanks for spending the hour with me. We do this every Friday at 11 am.

Do yourself a favor this weekend and give the new Jenny Lewis album a listen. Terrific stuff. LINK:

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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