Joe Barton apologizes, politicos with World Cup fever, Joe Lieberman's future, more -- The Live Fix with Chris Cillizza

Jun 18, 2010

Every Friday, The Fix goes live, as Chris Cillizza discusses the latest news about Congress, the Obama administration, upcoming elections and all the latest political news.

Well, it was nice of the US to get blown out in the first half of our match against Slovenia to allow the millions of crossover fans to be able to devote full attention to the "Live Fix" chat.

Appreciate you, US soccer team.

I am ensconced at Fix HQ with an entire bottle of Deer Park water in front of me and Deer Tick's latest album streaming through the computer.

Let's do this thing.

What the hell was he thinking?

REALLY good question. As I am sure you know since you religiously watch my live video chat that happens 30 minutes before this one, I named Barton as having had the "Worst Week in Washington" this week.

What's scary about the tin ear-ism of Barton is that he apologized to the BP CEO during his prepared remarks -- meaning that someone (and probably several someones) is his office read that comment over and thought "That makes sense."

Um, no.

My guess is that Barton genuinely believes that the Obama Administration is unneccesarily demonizing BP.  And, there are plenty of constituents of his (he represents Houston) who probably agree.

But there is a big difference in politics between things you think and things you say.

With Bachmann & Barton out there making nice with BP; could the GOP actually create a situation where the Dems are motivated and minimize the gains the GOP makes this fall?

Not sure it will have that large an impact this fall. If you look at most national polling these days, the economy is still far and away the biggest issue in most peoples' mind.

The oil spill and the environment more generally are creeping up in terms of importance but are nowhere near the economy.

Could it be a top of the mind issue regionally in, for example, the Louisiana Senate race? Sure. But my guess is that it will be only a tangential issue for most people when they head to the ballot box this fall.

He still didn't come across as likeable. What are the chances that he will be the CEO this time, next year?

I think by this point it's almost impossible for him to change the perception (read: bad dude) that's out there about him.

My guess is that once the spill stops and the issue drifts from the news, Hayward will quietly step away from his current gig.

What's wrong with the people in Joe Barton's district?? Does he, his stupid ideas, nauseating attitude and utter contempt for the environment generally and the suffering of the people in the gulf specifically truly represent how the people of his district feel about these issues??

Well, I think the people in his district would strongly disagree with that characterization.

Houston's economy is heavily dependent on oil and gas. They need/want BP to survive.

Who are you pulling for tonight???

I just have a feeling about the Lakers. And, heck, I am feeling lucky...I am going to predict a final score: Lakers 83. Celtics 79.

As for sporting events actually scheduled for TODAY, the US just sored against Slovenia. 2-1, 51 minutes in.


Hi Chris -- Thanks for taking questions today. Did the Republicans' scramble to "fix" Rep Barton's BP apology change the prevailing narrative that the president continues to play catch up in trying to get ahead of the oil spill crisis and that his less than well-received speech the other night didn't help? To put it another way, how much mileage can the Democrats get out of the Barton debacle?

For the moment, yes...I mentioned that narrative change in awarding Barton my "Worst Week in Washington" award.

Now, whether it's a longer term shift, I am more skeptical.

Apparently one of Tracee Hamilton's chatters thinks your hot. That is all. (Oh, and I second the recommendation on North Side Social in Arlington, superb.)

YES!  Who knew Mrs. Fix was on Tracee Hamilton's chat?

Will you be bringing Fix Jr. to the ballpark tonight????

Not tonight...but maybe Sunday!


I second this.  Literally. Let's score again.  Can we sub Lionel Messi into our lineup for the second half?

I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall when R Leadership took Barton to task for his insensitive remarks. What do YOU think was being said behind closed doors?

Boehner/Cantor: "WHAT ARE YOU THINKING?"

Barton: "Well,  I was...."

Boehner/Cantor: "WHAT ARE YOU THINKING?"

Something like that. A little straight talk -- has John McCain trademarked that phrase -- from Boehner/Cantor is my guess.

Is that an Undisclosed Location?

Correct. Though this North Side place in Arlington and/or Buzz location at Ballston interest me.

Does a loss today mean everyone pretending to give a rip about soccer will shut up again? Because if so....LETS GO SLOVENIA! CLAP CLAP CLAPCLAPCLAP

GREAT Dale Peterson reference, dummy.

Just check out the number of BP employees in Houston and the surrounding 'burbs, and you will realize why Barton said what he said.

Good point.

You revealed some potential expertise on this topic in last week's chat. Who are bigger dorks -- iPad fanatics or World Cup fanatics?

oooh. Good question. Lot of crossover people into politics and people into music.

I believe that iPad fanatics are bigger dorks. After all, soccer is a sport while liking the iPad requires you to hunch over an electronic device.

That said, I consider myself both.

Chris after the chat can you call a few cable bookers and see if they will let you on to blame the U.S.' atrocious defense and non-existent first half offense on Obama? I mean why not, on cable everything is his fault!

Heyooo! One of my fav things about this game is the BLATANT homerism for the U.S. by the anouncers. It's like listening to Bob Cousey and Tommy Heinsohn call a Celtics game!

I'm pulling for Slovenia because all the hype around the USA team is nauseating. I hope the least populous country in the WC beats the most populous.

Wow. Apple pie, the flag and Landon Donoivan and 10 other dudes you have never heard of....what could be more patriotic?

People who manage to watch the World Cup on their iPads.


Hi Chris, Are the Republicans blowing their chance to maximize gains in the Senate? The nominated Angle and Paul, turning those races from sure things into toss-ups and now Charlie Crist seems to be leading the three-way race in Florida. Are they going to regret the efforts by the club for growth and tea parties to purge more moderate candidates?

I think it remains to be seen.

Although Rand Paul is quite conservative, most smart people I talk to see him as the favorite.

And, while Angle has major flaws as a candidate, polling suggests she is running even with Reid.

So, I think it's an easy storyline to say that the tea party is going to cost Republicans seat this fall but until voters vote in November I am not sure we are going to know.

How do you see the runoff playing out between Cal Cunningham and Elaine Marshall? Has the runoff helped or hurt the Democrats' chances of winning the seat in November?

Runoffs are SO hard to predict because turnout can be all over the board. (Witness the Arkansas Senate runoff on June 8.)

My guess is that Elaine Marshall, who finished first in the May 4 primary, will beat Cal Cunningham in the runoff as I think Cunningham, who was recruited into the contest by national Republicans, has been something of a disappointment.

If and when Marshall wins next week, it will be interesting to see what national Democrats say about her and their chances.  They continue to believe Richard Burr is vulnerable but Marshall has shown little ability to raise the sort of money that would make Burr sweat.

Do you have any clue what Joe Lieberman is going to do in 2012? Run as an independent? Republican? Retire?

Unfortunately, he hasn't told me yet.

But, I think his two likeliest options are either to retire or run as an Independent (again).

Lieberman can't win the Democratic nomination and I don't think will even try.  His best chance is to re-create the math of his 2006 race when Republicans essentially ceded their voters to him and he was able to win enough independents and Democrats to beat Ned Lamont.

It's not clear whether Republicans will take a pass on the race again. If they do, Lieberman could win.

Messi? I'll settle for Forlan.

Forlan is awesome. Mrs. Fix would leave me for Forlan and/or Cristiana Ronaldo. I am actually fine with that.

People who go on Washington Post politics chats and call other people dorks.

So good!

When was the last time you saw iPad fans rumble in the stands?

Good point. But, I could see it...somebody makes a remark about Flash and the whole power keg is sparked...

I've been a farmer, a business man, a Marine, and a cop. But I've never given in to the communist game of soccer.

Bet you didn't know that.

How's Brad Ellsworth's campaign doing? I'm not sure Ellsworth's negatives (never run statewide before running in conservative state like Indiana, being a Democrat and an elected official in Congress) outweigh his positves (an even more Washington-based opponent, telegenic, crisp speaker, Indiana moving more and more Democratic)? What's your take on him?

He is the best candidate Democrats could hope for...for the reasons you just outlined.

That said, he is still an underdog because Indiana (despite Obama's win there in 2008) is still a qutie conservative state.

Candidates do matter though and Ellsworth is clearly the superior candidate to Coats.  But, this is an uphill climb.

Correct me here, but Alvin Greene is the only black candidate right now for U.S. Senate. That's pretty sad. With him and Kendrick Meek looking less and less likely to win the Democratic nomination, let alone the general election come November 2nd, does this mean that the 112th Congress won't have a single black U.S. Senator in it?

If you discount Kendrick Meek's chances (as you clearly do), then yes.

And, there could also be not a single African American governor either...

Son of Dork.... a great band, only one CD unfortunately.

DANG. Looks like Fix Jr. is going to have to find a new name for his about 20 years time.

So how did that guy win? (Sorry if you already talked about this)

Have not.

I think the answer, until proven otherwise, is that in a race where no one knew either guy, they voted for the first person on the ballot (Greene).

The SC Democratic party refused last night to re-stage the primary -- a case that was brought by the guy (Vic Rawl) who lost the race to Greene.

Could there be more going on here? Sure. But based on the facts today, it appears that Greene just won.

Worth remembering: neither Greene nor Rawl have any chance against Sen. Jim DeMint in the fall.

CC -- Tracee got a shout-out in today's Gil Thorp strip. She stroked an RBI single in panel 2. What can you do to keep up? The Gil Thorp strip is noted for shout-outs; perhaps you can make an appearance as a relief pitcher for the hated Goshen squad.

I am waiting for my Doonesbury shout out... it's my only chance to make it into a comic strip.

Either that or Mary Worth. Or Apartment 3-G.

Should we change the name of American football to Soccer and use Football for the game that is played with feet only?

Things that will happen before that:

1. I will be in the NBA

2. NBC will recognize Friday Night Lights is the greatest show on earth and extend it for 50 more seasons.

3. Wilco will play a concert at my house

4. Pigs will fly.

So, no.

Call me a dork, but I'm beginning to wish Ted Kaufman (D-MD) had had the gumption to try to run for a full term on his own. He's been really, really good on Wall Street reform.

The use of the word "Kaufmania" is terrific.

The coach's son -- Michael Bradley -- scores to level it at 2! Take that Slovenia!!! Nine minutes left in the game.

they are still just running around in circles. when do they take their shirts off?

You MUST now watch this game -- while continuing to chat with me.

2-2. One more!

Far from being in political retirement, Bill Clinton has been quite active lately, nowhere more so than in his home state of Arkansas. Last week he was a major factor in the runoff victory of Sen. Blanche Lincoln, and his choice for an open house seat, Causey, narrowly won his runoff also. My question is: How committed do you expect Clinton to be through Election Day in November in getting his preferred candidates over the finish line? Does he continue to expend political capital and go all out for what will be tough races (especially the Senate), or does he wait till the end, as he did in the runoff, see if the polling is close enough for him to be a deciding factor, and only jump in then?

I think the common thread running through all of the Clinton endorsements this cycle is loyalty.

Clinton has endorsed and worked for those people (Kendrick Meek, Libby Mitchell, Blanche Lincoln) who supported him or his wife in past campaigns.

And, his track record this cycle is pretty darn good.  I would expect Clinton to be out and about quite a bit this fall.

...I don't think someone should qualify for having the worst week when it is so obviously self-inflicted...

That makes it all the worse. Self inflicted wounds still count.



That was a goal. Clearly.  I agree with John harkes and the British guy on ESPN. That was atrocious. He was clearly not offsides.

I'm trying to decide between an ipad and a netbook to write my book. Chris, you do a lot of writing - Which has best word processing and all-round is good for writing? Which will help me get my future book listed one day in the Fix's top Books on Politics? A guy can dream ;-)

My iPad is sitting next to me...still in its box.

I like to draw out the excitement...planning to open it and get started this weekend.

I know nothing about the Netbook. Do others have advice?

something finally happened. they scored. why didn't they take their shirts off now and run around?

Hold on...let me ask.

I think we were just robbed, but I'm not sure.

You should be. We were robbed. Ask the British commentator on ESPN.

So it seems like everyday we read stories about Politicians Behaving Badly - either through personal bad conduct or professional no-goodedness (they call it "transactional politics"). But who are the good guys and gals?

Almost all of them. It's the classic a few bad apples spoiling the bunch.

Most politicians I have met -- and I have met lots of them -- are good people who are in the profession because they genuinely believe in and are committed to public service.

So, for all the John Edwards/John Ensigns out there, there are hundreds of people working to do it the right way.

The Malian ref. O. M. G.

Yeah...not having a good game. He, the English keeper and entire Spanish side are not having a good World Cup so far.

Guys why try to outwit the others with they dork-dis post. Out-dorking the dorks.

Is "dork-dis" a word? If it's not, it should be.

Are you dismissing Deval Patrick's shot as winning re-election when you typed "no black Governors"?

I said it was a possiblity. I think Gov. Patrick has a decent shot at winning -- especially if the third party candidate stays relevant. 

But, his first term has been very rocky and Republicans think they have an even money chance at pulling off the upset.

I am two months late, but congrats. Have you been downplaying this? Are you modest, or don't you think it's as good as the homeless man's Bill Simmons?

I will take it!

Not downplaying is a very cool opportunity...and let me make the pitch for everyone on or reading this chat to go to and see our new politics page for yourself.

It's great stuff.  If you have suggestions to make it better, I'd love to hear them. Email me at

2-2. Game over. But, we really did win 3-2. That goal being disallowed was bunk. To quote Dale Peterson, we are better than that! most stricken with World Cup fever?

Oooh. Good question. Anyone know? I do not.

Whose endorsement carries more weight do you think? Whose would you rather have. Bubba or the Moose Lady?

It kind of depends where yoiu are running and what you are running for.

Palin is a force when it comes to the Republican base. She has shown repeatedly that she can help boost a candidate (Nikki Haley, Carly Fiorina) solely by throwing the weight of her name behind them.

Clinton is a better on the ground politician. If you need someone to frame a race in the final days in terms that are beneficial to you or your candidate, there is no one better at it than Bill Clinton.

Actually, Barton doesn't represent Houston, but a slice of Central Texas that includes the large, suburban-styled city of Arlington (between Dallas and Fort Worth). That area has also long been supported by the energy industry, but in light of what we've seen in the Gulf lately his apologetic tone to BP probably sounds tin-eared even to people there.

Ah. I have erred. Thanks for the correction. But he is still in NO danger of losing re-election.

Don't mind the ties, low scoring games, but i do not get why they can't stop the darn clock when someone gets "injured." Could the end of a soccer game be any more anti-climatic?

Stoppage time!

Other soccer mysteries:

1. Why is one to zero called one to nil

2. Why is the field called a pitch?

3. Why are their sneakers called boots?

I always think about these sorts of things. And, yes, I know I am weird.

That's all folks. Thanks for sticking with the chat in spite of the soccer game...I hope I kept you up to date on the need-to-know information from South Africa.

If you don't think I did, I don't give a rip.


Have a great weekend and remember to spread the word on the "Live Fix" chat. Every Friday. 11 to noon. Catch it!

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Chris Cillizza
Chris Cillizza 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 son.
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