Nuking ants, dirty politics, Reid vs. Angle, Friday Night Lights politics, Anna Chapman loves this chat and more in The Live Fix with Chris Cillizza

Jul 02, 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.

It's a big hour. Not only are we live-chatting but the funeral for the late Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va) is expected to start the bottom of the hour and Brazil and the Netherlands are playing in the quarterfinals of the World Cup. (1-0 Brazil at half.)

We'll keep you updated on all the goings on. Sit back and relax.

Was the man who would be House Speaker if Republicans win 39 seats in the November 2010 elections accurate when speaking about the financial reform bill before Congress recently said "This is killing an ant with a nuclear weapon"? I wonder if the majority of House Republicans feel this way too. Or did John Boehner intend to alert the Nation about the emergence of a powerful new ant species capable of damaging the U.S. Economy so badly that millions of jobs were lost and the Dow had its biggest lost in history? And I thought termites were really bad. In either event, perhaps Boehner should remain in the House Minority and out of Leadership if he really feels the equivalent of an ant was at play during the 2008 U.S. financial crisis -- don't you think?

I think Boehner, who won this week's "Worst Week in Washington" award, was probably a little too candid in that interview with the Pittsburgh Tribune Review.

The simple fact is the more Republicans give Democrats fodder like the comments made by Boehner and the BP apology by Joe Barton, the harder they make it on themselves to frame the 2010 election as a referendum rather than a choice.

Are Boehner's comments as big a deal as Democrats sought to make them? Nope.  Do they distract somewhat from the message Republicans want out there? Yes.

Mixing your two favorite things - Friday Night Lights and politics, how would you describe the politics of Dillon (& East Dillon), TX? What would their Congressman be like? Is Coach Taylor a Rick Perry or Bill White voter?

This may be my favorite question of all time.

It's clear that Tammy Taylor (aka "Mrs Coach") is a Democrat.

Less clear on coach.  Given that it's west Texas, I would have to assume he is a Republican but not a lot of hints in the show.

Buddy Garrity? Definitely a Republican.

It looks like things are getting down and dirty this year, and I think you should keep a list on which are the worst. You can make a scale using little pictures of Richard Nixon. For Example:

Carly Fiorina using the "Demon Sheep" ad and making fun of her opponents Hair = 2 Nixons

South Carolina Senate: GOP funding candidate Alvin "The Plant" Greene = 6 Nixons

Illinois Senate Race: Alexi "Sexi Lexi" Giannoulias vs. Mark "Resume Plumper" Kirk = 10 Nixons

1. LOVE the use of the word "plumper" to describe resume inflation

2. Some sort of rating system incorporating "Nixons" is genuinely a genius idea. I may well have to steal this.

3. You MUST read my post on the 10 nastiest Senate races of the past 30 years. (Super-producer Andrea can you link to it?)

4. I am always wary of saying this is the nastiest electoral climate ever.  As Chuck Todd pointed out to me earlier this week, Aaron Burr killed Aleander Hamilton in a duel.

The Orange (aka the Netherlands) strike!  1-1.  Still 36 minutes left in second half.

I have a friend who lives in Reno, Nevada who says that there are a lot of Republicans in his area that are planning to vote for Reid over Angle. Do you think we will see some moderate Republican business leaders or "Kenny Guinn Republicans" in Nevada come out to openly support Reid?

Reid has always had a pretty solid relationship with the business-type Republican -- particularly in Clark County (Vegas) -- because they recognize that he gets things done for them.  (Ah, politics.)

My guess is that he will enjoy as much if not more support in that world this time around since Angle is not exactly those Republicans' cup of tea.

The question is how big a group of people arw we talking about. Poll after poll shows Reid mired in the low 40s in the ballot test including against Angle.

How does an incumbent who is totally known by voters and not particularly well liked win?

The answer is to disqualify the opponent, which Reid and his allied forces will spend the next four months trying to do.

Now that Angle is Reid's opponent, talk of a Schumer-Durbin fight for Majority Leader has pretty much died. However if Angle wins (I believe that is a BIG IF), who would have the edge? I think that Schumer's support of the 15 Democrats he helped elect should help, but that could be balanced by the fact that Obama wants Durbin and would call a lot of senators on his behalf. Your thoughts?

I would recommend reading my colleague Jason Horowitz's Schumer profile from a few weeks back for a good perspective on how both the New York Senator and Durbin are running without really running for the job.

I think you are absolutely right that Schumer's time at the head of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee in 2006 and 2008 give him a solid base of support.

The question is where the older guard goes. Presumably to Durbin who has been in the Senate slightly longer than Schumer but, in truth, no one really know.

Intracaucus elections are IMPOSSIBLE to predict.  It's all relationship driven and much of that happens outside of the public eye.

But he's in the teachers' union, right? So by law, he's a Democrat, even in West Texas.

Is he in the union? I don't think he has taught actual classes since he was over at West Dillon in the early years....

The good news for us Penn State fans is peer review has cleared the Penn State professor and it seems his research on climate change is just fine. The bad news is the Penn State professors who did research for Marcellus Shale that was funded by the industry did not disclose that fact and may have fudged the data to make the industry look good. So, one win, one loss. For us Penn Staters, our week turned out to be a draw.

Um, ok.

This "question" really put me at ease. I was on pins and needles about what sort of week Penn State was having until just now.

What do you think the real takeaway is from the jobs report today? Also, who do you think will win the "spin-war" about the report?

It's a muddle. Job losses + unemployment rate going down slightly.

If you are a Republican, you can seize on it that the Obama policies are actually causing jobs to be lost not gained. If you are a Democrat, you can point to incremental improvement in the unemployment rate.

A muddle -- given the overall national political environment -- is probably good news for Republicans, however. If not much changes between now and November, it looks like it will be a very good year for the GOP.

They're all Republicans except for Tami. BTW: highest creep-factor in ages is that teacher macking on our Tami.

1. That dude should know that Tammy would NEVER leave Coach. He is a king among men.

2. Another definite Republican is J.T.'s dad. I mean, all he drives are SUVs. (It is Texas...everything is bigger there).

3. Is it me and Mrs. Fix or has Tammy become the central -- and best -- character on the show this year? I love that Connie Britton.

How high do you think the "None of the Above" vote will be in Nevada? Will that save Reid again like it did in 1998?

Great question.

Nevada does have  a "none of the above" option on the ballot as well as a handful of minor party candidates that are likely to take a few percent of the vote.

Reid's forces are hoping that the total vote share for "NOTA" and the others is in the 6-8 percent range. If so, it drops his win number into the low to mid 40s -- a potential doable thing.

If Reid has to get to 47-50 it's harder to see.

Wesley Sneider on the header off of a Dutch corner. 2-1 for the Orange. Upset brewing....22 minutes left.

Based on the WC so far who is more likely to win the Cup this year? The Brazillians or the Referees?

I think Spain has to be the favorite -- they have SO many good players and Torres hasn't even done much to date -- but I have a soft spot for Argentina.


1. Mrs Fix and I went there two summers ago. Awesome place.

2. Messi is ridiculous.

3. Maradona is oddly compelling.

I refuse to accept a Scientific "Win" from an institution in a Conference that can't count to Eleven.

Oh snap!

I have noted whenever someone criticizes Stephen Strasburg on one of these discussions and blogs, there immediately is a response about how shy and good natured he is and how the people who criticized him are making stuff up. I wonder: is this responder a fan or, as I now suspect, do the Nationals have press people ready to pounce whenever someone criticizes their golden boy?

Maybe Strasburg is moderating the Post chats on his off days?

I see what you did there.

Unintentional tea party reference! I WISH I was that creative.

I haven't really seen Meek in recent polls break past the high teens. Now he has a primary fight with Greene. If Meek emerges strapped for cash and badly wounded or if Greene is the nominee, do you expect the White House and the DSCC/DNC to quietly encourage Democrats to vote for Crist? After all, Bush quietly told Republicans to back Lieberman in 2006.

If Kendrick Meek is the nominee, no.

If Jeff Greene -- billionaire, credit default swap guru, friend of Mike Tyson and Heidi Fleiss --  wins the nomination then it's another story.

Crist, through the policies he has advocated for since he switched from Republican to indenpendent, has given every indication he would caucus with Democrats if he wins. he has not come out and said that, however.

Still, with Greene as the Democratic nominee, we could be looking at a rerun of the 2006 Connecticut Senate race when Republicans all but told their voters to cast a ballot for Joe Lieberman who was running as an independent.

Brazil is now a man down after an (intentional?) cleating of Robben of the Dutch.

Not good for Brazil...Netherlands controlling play. 15 minutes left.

Even your goal in reincarnation Tim Riggins is well on his way to the R's. What comes after you buy 25 acres and settle down with Becky? Why, becoming pals with Buddy and getting a bigger pickup. So long, Lila.

I see Riggs as more of a fierce independent. Like Kevin Costner in "Swing Vote".

Oh god. I just made a "Swing Vote" reference.

The Big Ten has 12 teams now--Nebraska. Just sayin. If you're going to get technical, you may as well be correct.

Double snap!

Why do soccer players seem to get ejected with alarming regularity? Brazil just lost a player to a red card. And then there is Zidene (?) from France. What about the team?

This allows me to detail my favorite hand gestures of the World Cup:

1. The finger wag: This is a classic more in sorrow than in anger move. Best used when: a referee has missed a call.

2. The plaintive double handed plea: Imploring either the refs or teammates to do better. Best used when: a striker is not passed the ball in the proper place in the box.

3. The back of the head grab: After a hard foul, one member of the team t0 whom the harm was done grabs the offender in a "we're friends but that was crap" move. Best used when: one of the stars is tackled in the midfield and is writhing around in pain.

Hey Chris, Earlier this week you spoke about the 2012 Senate races that are quickly developing. I couldn't help but notice that Sen. Bob Casey was absent from this list. Obviously, aside from Ed Rendell, Casey has steamrolled every contender in PA politics. With the support of the White House, is Senator Casey near untouchable in the Keystone State?

Good question. (Andrea, can u link to my breakdown of the ten 2012 Senate races to watch?)

I think whether Casey cruises to a win or has a real race depends on this fall. Republicans look likely to win the governor's race and if Pat Toomey can win the Senate race there will be some serious energy in the party that leaders will try to direct toward finding a serious challenger for Casey.

That said, Casey has a very well known (and liked) last name in the state and there isn't an obvious Republican waiting in the wings. (Perhaps a narrow Toomey loss could lead him to running again?)

Plus, with President Obama leading the ballot in 2012, the Democratic turnout in the state -- particularly in the black community -- should be pretty high, whcih will accrue to Casey's benefit.

One: what does 'paid to be there' caterers? for security detail? as volleball instructors? Two: who you got in the World Cup, Spanish Boots of Spanish Leather or the Boys from Brazil? Three: Favorite Fourth of July Song (written after 1960)?

1. NO idea. In case you don't get the question, click here immediately.

2. As of now -- Brazil down 2-1 with 5 mins left and down a man -- got to go with Spain. But, I like Argentina a lot too.  That Argentina-Germany game is going to be awesome.

3. There is only one right answer: 4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy). God this song is good.

Following on this morning's post, how about a level deeper? Who holds the next level of key numbers? Rossi/Murray? Boxer? Ellsworth? Boozman?

Others to watch:

Boozeman (Arkansas)

Ayotte (N.H.)

Coats (Ind.)

Rossi (Wash.)

Blanche Lincoln (Ark.)

Schumer (N.Y.) -- only because I want to see how much $ he has on hand for a total non-race.

Why is Lee Fisher having such a difficult time raising money?

I honestly have NO idea. But he is. He is also having trouble holding on to campaign managers. His second campaign manager left earlier this month.

The Byrd funeral has started over at C-Span2....

My sister and her husband are life-long Democrats who live in Henderson, NV, a bedroom suburb of Las Vegas, where they both work in casino support industries (security and accounting). They told me that they both plan to hold their noses and vote for Angle because they are convinced that Harry Reid is too focused on being a Washington insider and no longer cares about the state of the Nevada economy and its workers. When I asked if either of them thought that Angle could do a better job than Reid to improve things in NV, they said, probably not, but they couldn't put up with Reid's "Nevada? where's that?" attitude any more.

Reid has to hope these sorts of people are the exception not the rule. But, polling suggests they aren't.

I'm calling it now...Republicans make big gains this fall, take back the House and draw closer in the Senate. In the meantime, the economy over the next 2 years inevitably rebounds completely and is actually strong/booming by end of 2011/early 2012. Obama then runs blatant ripoff of "Morning in America Again" ad and sails to reelection. It's Reagan for the 21st century. Thoughts?

Interesting theory.

As I have said and written before, I do think the Obama-Reagan comparison is surprisingly apt.

Of course I read your discussions. It's a requirement for anyone who wants to understand what is happening.

I knew it! Strasburg is  a Fixista!

Wait, is this not him for real? Don't tease me Strasburg.

Even worse, you just made a Kevin Costner reference.

WOW. Good point.

Netherlands beat Brazil. The frontrunner has lost.  Amazing game.

Of course Mrs. Coach is a "D" - she's all for people from the wrong side of the track going to that other high school, strictly enforces rules to force kids trying to get ahead back to the school where they belong, but gets into a tizzy when her own daughter opts to go there.


Have to ask? Have you ever had any dealing with those "Russian spies"? Were some of them in your old neck of the woods, Arlington, Va.?

I did not. But this question allows me to put Anna Chapman's name in the chat, thereby ensuring 1 jillion page views.

So, thanks!

Anyone think Tim Riggins is even registered to vote? By the way, I have always noted how Riggins is a running back, as was the Redskins running back, and how Saracin (however it is spelled) is similar to Ron Sarasin, who was in Congress from the author's home state of Connecticut. I wonder if there was any intentional or subliminal choice in those names?

Wow. That is nerddom well beyond me on "FNL". Well played.

As for Riggs, there is NO chance he is registered. Although Billy might be, what with him becoming a dad and all.

Dillon is a town that sprung up in recent years. It is highly suspected that most of its residents are actually Russian spies assimilating into American culture.


Chris, you might be better off with an "inverted nipples" reference, which is inexplicably the number two search term on Google.

Any dismay I may ever have harbored towards you disappeared immediately after you linked to Sandy.

Bruce really brings everyone together.

Though, I heard last night on XM radio that Bruce and the E Street Band are likely to never re-unite again. Apparently they aren't getting along so well.

It's a statement on my life that when I heard that I got a little sad.

It's Texas. It's a right to work state.


Hi Chris, I was just wondering what your thoughts were on the Illinois Senate Debate. I'm not a journalist, but I just wondered how the whole Mark Kirk situation is viewed by people with political journalist background. My instinct says something wicked this way come, but I could just be over-reacting. Thanks for your input though!

Check out my post on the race -- what I believe will be the nastiest of the election cycle -- from earlier this week.

Both Kirk and Giannoulias are already bashing one another on TV. And it's only going to get worse (or better, depending on how you view these things.)

Byrd funeral just getting under way...Obama and Joey B being introduced by Gov. Manchin.

If you care about politics, watch C-SPAN2 right now.

That's all folks. Thanks for joining me. I am ending the chat so you can tune into the Byrd funeral.

With eulogies from Obama and Bill Clinton expected, it is a must watch.

Have a great 4th of July. I'll be back here -- same time, same place -- in TWO weeks time. (I am off next week.)

Until then, be excellent to each other. And, spread the word on the Fix!!

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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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