Jul 23, 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.

Good morning everyone! It's 226 degrees here in Washington today and I have a cold!

Good times.

But, I am never too hot or too afflicted with a cold to chat -- online, of course.

Away we go!

Chris: Talk about blowing a huge opportunity! If the administration had just waited to get the whole story on Ms. Sherrod's speech, it would have had a club of righteousness with which to beat Breitbart and the rest of the rightwing noise machine every time another "scandal" was discovered (e.g., ACORN, the New Black Panthers, etc.) Instead, by being so craven and firing Sherrod immediately, they showed they are terrified of the noise machine. (I personally don't think Tom Vilsack pulled the trigger on this all by his lonesome.) Now, according to news stories, the White House is terribly upset with Sherrod for doing so many interviews. To which I, as a loyal liberal Democrat say, sorry guys, you got yourself into this mess. I don't blame Ms. Sherrod one minute for wanting to twist the knife a teeny bit.

Fair point.

I think the White House or, as the story goes, Tom Vilsack, was so eager to get in front of the story and kill it before it grew that they wound up operating on incomplete information and turning what could have been -- at most -- a minor blip into a gigantic news story.

I wrote about this earlier in the week but I really think Democrats may look at this week as a lost chance.  In a week where financial regulatory reform passes and Democrats pass unemployment extensions, this should have been a winner.

Instead all anyone talked about was Shirley Sherrod and why the Administration has acted so hastily.

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Did you just make that up about "The Kennedys of West Virginia"? For one, West Virginia has Rockefellers, which are a bit more upper crust then the Kennedys. Second, who ever heard of the Goodwins before? Honestly just wondering if you either made that up or one person coined that term this week.

This is a reference to a post I wrote yesterday looking for the first political family (or a family dynasty of some sort) in every state.

As for Carte Goodwin specifically, I simply referenced his family's long political lineage in the state to prove that there is a Goodwin family in each of the 50 states.

Why are the Kennedys still the standard for political families? I seem to remember another politically affluent family, the Bushes. If we're talking about who has more political influence, the Bushes win. I know the Bushes' PR folks don't like that image despite its reality, but should we all try to update on the Kennedys to the Bushes?

I actually think the Bushes might be the first family of Connecticut. Prescott Bush and all that.

And, the Kennedys still have/had more people involved or potentially involved in elected office. Jack, Bobby, Ted, Patrick, Joe Jr., Mark Shriver, Caroline Kennedy etc etc etc

Why did she resign? She was totally in the right. Our bureaucrats are supposed to be exempt from this kind of strong arming.

Well, she didn't really "resign". She was asked/forced to resign and did it.

That's semantics though. She was clearly let go.

Terry Goddard has been elected state AG twice and is a former mayor of Phoenix. Shouldn't he being doing a lot better in polls than he is right now?

A TON of good governors questions...(and I am working on the Friday Governors Line as we speak) so let's bang them out.

On Arizona, you are right that Goddard, on paper, has a terrific resume. (AGs often run well when they seek the governor's office.)

But, and I wrote a post about this recently, the immigration debate in Arizona has fundamentally altered the calculus in the state.

Before Gov. Jan Brewer (R) signed the nation's strictest immigration law this spring, she wasn't expected to even make it out of her own party's primary.

Once she signed it, however, she became a national conservative hero -- driving any serious primary opposition out of the race and strengthening her hand in the race against Goddard too.

The race isn't totally out of reach for Democrats but Brewer is far stronger than she was even a few months ago.

Heard that Tom Tancredo is trying to get on the ballot. Given all his controversial views, wouldn't he be worse than McInnis?

Tancredo, who spent some time in Congress and even ran for president, has threatened to run as an independent this fall if either Scott McInnis or Dan Maes, the party's two potential Republican nominees, winds up as the GOP standard-bearer this fall.

National Republicans are hoping that McInnis who has been badly wounded by a plagiarism scandal, can hang on to win the Aug. 10 primary against Maes and then can be convinced to leave the race. Such a scenario would allow the party establishment to put someone else -- perhaps state Sen. Josh Penry -- in as the nominee.

Would that keep Tancredo out? It's hard to say. He is ambitious and wants a platform to outline his hardline immigration views.

I think even if Penry wound up as the nominee, Tancredo could well find a reason to get into the race.

Any advice for how to get Carolyn Hax to answer one of my questions?

She chats for like 6 hours. I think it's a war of attrition.

Other suggestion: Put in subject line "Addressing the Chris Cillizza problem". That could work.

Anyone bought the new Arcade Fire album yet? Do i need to have it? And other new music I must buy?

What's the view from Washington on our governor's race here in Colorado? I can't see Tom Tancredo helping anything for the Republicans, but maybe that's just wishful thinking on my part. Does Hickenlooper have it in the bag?

Just to follow up...yes, Hickenlooper, who is the mayor of Denver, has to be considered a heavy favorite now despite the fact that Colorado has moved toward Republicans over the past 18 months.

McInnis, Maes and Tancredo look like the gang who can't shoot straight. And, no matter what happens in the primary -- and immediately afterward -- it's going to be ugly for the GOP. And it's going to play out very publicly.

Neither of which is good news for Colorado Republicans.

I've two questions from the southwest:

1. What happened to AZ-1? This district has such a solid history of Republican representation, but right now, Ann Kirkpatrick seems somewhat secure in her first bid for re-election. Is this a marginal race that might switch, are the projections a little misleading, or has Kirkpatrick won this district over?

2. What's you read on the race for Gov of New Mexico? Susana Martinez is a candidate who I'm suprised we haven't heard more about in the national media, she could potentially change the face of the GOP (along the same lines of Haley or Whitman).

Thanks for the HMBS reference!

Second question first.

I agree on Susan martinez. Having met her, she has impressive law and order credentials and as a Hispanic female Republican would do much to help Republicans change the "old white guy" stereotype of their party.

And, I think she has a decent shot of winning; she's running against Diane Denish, Gov. Bill Richardson's (D) lieutenant, which is not a great credential to have these days in New Mexico.

As for Arizona 1, I think it's less of a target than AZ-05 (Harry Mitchell) and AZ-08 (Gabrielle Giffords) but, as you rightly note, it is a swing district by the numbers and could fall if there is a large Republican wave this fall.

What are you hearing about O'Malley vs Ehrlich? Is it going to be as close as the polls say it will?

I just drive through a big chunk of Maryland yesterday -- was having dinner with Richard Ben Cramer, a personal hero and author of the best campaign book ever ("What it Takes") -- and saw many, many Ehrlich signs.

(And, yes, you rightly read the above as a transparent effort to tout the fact that I got to meet Richard Ben Cramer. I was like a kid on Christmas morning. So exciting.)

I think Ehrlich is the best possible candidate Republicans could nominate and he has the benefit in running in a year that should be pretty good for Republicans nationally -- unlike when he lost to O'Malley in 2006.

That said, Maryland is still a very Democratic state and O'Malley is quite savvy.  I think it's uphill but far from impossible for Ehrlich.

Can Chet Culver make a comeback?

Well, anyone can make a comeback (John Travolta, Marv Albert, Steve Howe of the Yankees, Elliot Spitzer) in America. Short memories/attention spans are one of our great collective gifts.

But, Culver is in very serious trouble. Republicans nominated their best candidate -- former Gov. Terry Branstad -- and polling suggests he has a comfortable double digit edge over Culver.

Culver hasn't done himself much good, running through staff like Mel Gibson runs through expletive laden rants.

Could Culver win? Sure. Will he? Probably not. He is, without question, the most vulnerable incumbent governor in the country running for re-election this fall.

Who does Alex Sink want to run against: Scott or McCollum?

Oooh. Tough call.

Rick Scott has HUGE negatives related to the fraud penalty his health care company paid.

But, Scott also has HUGE amounts of money thanks to that same health care company and, in a state as costly to run ads as Florida, money matters.

Scott also can theoretically run as an outsider to the political process, a strategy that McCollum, a political lifer, can't take.

Either way, the competitiveness and nastiness of the Republican primary is good news for Sink.

Is there something very sick in the DC culture that the guy who defrauded America on both ACORN and Shirley Sherrod makes Politico's 50 list, but the King of Connecticut, the Godfather of Field Hockey, the Highest of Hoyas, the Homeless Man's Bill Simmons....well, the genial host of this chat is left off the list?

Thank you for acknowledging my snubbing by Politico.  Commence letter-writing campaign to Politico higher ups in 5, 4, 3, 2.....

Maybe Simmons was afraid of competing against The Live Fix because he released his column hours earlier than he normally does. Was there some sort of secret plan hatched between the two of you when you spoke so those of who love both Friday features didn't have to be distracted by one or the other?

There was no collusion!

If Simmons is LeBron in this metaphor, can I be D Wade?

Or more accurately, can I be Juwan Howard?

Or, even more accurately, can I be the guy who sprays water into the mouths of the players during timeouts?

It's not semantics. Having been both fired and forced to resign (I had my issues as a 20-something), there's a difference. Basically resigning saves your employer a headache of going through firing process where they have to state exactly why you are being fired (which doesn't help you finding your next job) as opposed resigning where you don't have to give a reason if they agree to let you go on your contract. So resigning saves time and effort on your employer as well as you to save face when explaining why you aren't working anymore during your upcoming job interviews.

Thank your Mr./Mrs. often-fired-or-resigned-person for clarifying.

Chris, As a native-Nutmegger (that's someone from Connecticut) I doth protest when you say the Bushes are our first family. Considering they all claim to be from everywhere but Connecticut (Texas, Florida, Maine), and excepting the obligatory 4 year stop in New Haven for college, they don't do anything in or for Connecticut. I therefore move for you to strike your previous statement and resubmit that the Bushes are the first family of Texas, which is a far more screwed up place then my home Constitution State.

Ok, but who would u nominate as the firsty family of CT then?

The Lamonts?

I am kidding -- sort of.

I saw the documentary, "Lucky." Who do you think is the political version of the guy who SPOILER ALERT acted strangely, lost everything, and ended up living in a shack? I'm going with John Edwards who seemed to have everything going for him and, then, yeah...fathered an out-of-wedlock child while his wife battled cancer. I don't think can be topped, although Blago when he thought he'd be on a Presidential ticket is close.

That is a damn good documentary. 

Edwards is the runaway winner.

Other nominees:

Mark Sanford who was seen as a viable presidential candidate before he "hiked the Appalachian Trail".

John Ensign who was seen as viable presidential candidate before he had an affair with the wife of his former chief of staff.

Blago who saw himself as a viable candidate for emperor of the world before he went the way of Nixon (paranoia, taping etc.)

Chris, We all know there is going to be a Rod Blagojevich movie. So why not have as its star, none other than Steve Carell! He looks like Blago, he's plays buffoons very well, and he's got some free time coming now that he's leaving the office! Now, who should play Mrs. Blago? Roland Burris?

Can I be Richard Daley in the movie. That guy is tough. Like me. Um, sort of.

A band you need to check out is The Gaslight Anthem. They're a great mix of The Clash and Springsteen.

Dig it. And did you hear that Springsteen and E street won't ever tour again allegedly? They are not getting along.

It's amazing they stayed together this long. They are up there for band longevity with REM and U2.

I know he is part of the administration, but wasn't Vilsack one of two or three republicans included in the Administration? When a Republican is invited to join the administration of the other party, do they resign their party affiliation? Are they kicked out?

Nope. Former two term governor of Iowa and a presidential candidate for Democrats in 2008. How could you forget ;)

Could Senate control come down to free agents Crist and Lieberman?

Yes. And what a wonderfully fascinating story that would be.

Even though he hasn't declared, do you believe Jeb Bush is the frontrunner for the Republican nomination for president in 2012?


The "Bush" name won't be even close to rehabbed enough for Jeb to run in 2012.

Now, 2016 is an entirely different thing. Of course, he'll have to contend with Bobby Jindal.....

The McMahons ;-)


I maintain that it would be absolutely awesome that after Linda mcMahon wins the Republican nomination for Senate, she calls a press conference and just as she starts talking she puts on a coat or cape or something with a huge "D" on it. Then Dick Blumethal appears and she endorses him.

It would be a double-cross right up there with Vince McMahon and Brett Hart or Hogan joining the NWO.

I can imagine Jim Ross doing the commentary right now. "I have never been so disgusted! Linda McMahon fooled us all. She said she was a Republican. We all believed her. And now this...this...spectacle."

Yes, i do spend time thinking about this stuff. Draw your own conclusions.

Politico sure does love its lists. I mean they do have a lot of "lists" stories. Almost as many as headlines about the GOP comeback. I figure the law of average is that eventually you'll end up on one of those Politico lists (heck, are you 100% you weren't already on one). Your former workmate seems pretty trilled by it.

My list of snubbings:

1. Politico Top 50

2. Guest starring role as Tim Riggins little brother on "Friday Night Lights"

3. Keyboard player for Wilco

I have MANY more but these are the three biggies.

Hey, I live in Texas and will not let that Conn. dude sling bush family to us. Just cuz we let some of them live here does not mean we want them.

I would say the Bentsens -- Lloyd and Ken -- might qualify?

Where did you hear Springsteen and E Street won't tour again? I got nothing on Google. Sources, Fix, I want sources!

I read about it somewhere on the Internets...so you know it's true.

And, good to know Patti Scialfa is a "Live Fix" chat fan. Thanks for the question, Patti.

What's the over/under on Crist caucusing with the Democrats if he wins? Seems like he tipped his hand heavily by touting a conversation with Reid.

I think it's very likely that if Crist winds up in the Senate -- still less thamn a 50-50 proposition -- it will because he co-opted Florida Democrats.

And, that will virtually ensure he caucuses with Democrats. I could be wrong but if you look at the positions he has staked out since switching to run as an independent in April, they have consistently favored the Democratioc viewpoint.

Nah...you are one of the Washington Post's identical triplets...you, Dana and John Kelly...can your mothers tell you apart?

I don't look anything like those guys!

My look-alikes: Brad Pitt and George Clooney. People are ALWAYS stopping me on the DC streets asking me if I am one of those two dudes.

they only snubbed you out of fear-- the PostPolitics page means I can skip their site and save some time.


Thanks for checking out postpolitics.com. It's a really good page where you can find everything and anything you need to know about what's going on in politics.

Yes, the signs sprouted early for Bob, especially in certain areas of Baltimore County and, I imagine, on the Eastern Shore. But O'Malley has three big things going for him; namely, Baltimore CIty, Prince George's County and Montgomery County. If he piles up big enough margins in those three jurisdictions, what happens on the Eastern Shore and in western Maryland won't really matter.

Also, much will depend on the billing scandal that's hovering over the moving company owned by the husband of Ehrlich's running mate. He is facing federal fraud charges, which can be very, very serious to deal with.

Did I mention I got to meet Richard Ben Cramer?

I don't get why the United States bitches and moans about the FIFA World Cup while they went nuts over the Tour de France. You think not much happens in soccer, have you ever watched the Tour de France? P.S. Happy Belated Birthday to Raj Goyle

Soccer is fascinating. People riding bikes just isn't. Admit it, you are only watching to see who falls.

PS -- Nice Goyle reference.

Fired or laid off and you can be qualified for unemployment insurance; resign and you often, depending upon the state, are left with zero.

Lot of experts on resigning/firing on the chat. These are my people! The unemployed or the recently fired!

Hi Chris! Two questions: I cannot understand why Kasich is struggling just for parity with Strickland in the governor's race, what's your take? I don't know if you like older rock, but I just finished listening to the Exile remix. Totally savage, a 70s word for awesome.

The Democratic Governors Association has done a very good job of knocking Kasich around over his work with Lehmann Brothers after he left Congress.

You know it's bad when Kasich's first television ad of the race features him defending his time at Lehmann. Um, not good.

As for "Exile", I need to pick that up. And, terrific use of the word "savage". Like, a totally boss reference.

That's all folks. I am going to load up on Alka Seltzer and try to feel better sometime soon.

Thanks as always for spending the hour with me. 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 son.

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