The Live Fix: Why Deeds lost, election hangovers, Crist vs. Rubio, DINOs and RINOS, Cillizza's new role on 'Vampire Diaries'

Chris Cillizza
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, November 6, 2009; 10:00 AM

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.

A transcript follows.


Chris Cillizza: Good morning everyone. Thanks for joining me an hour early this week (in honor of daylight savings time and a meeting I have at 11).

We're going back to the roots this week. No Starbucks. Fix home office with a bowl of Cracklin Oat Bran.


Did we mention that a) there was a fascinating election earlier this week and b) we are now less than one year from the 2010 midterms?

Let's do this.


Washington, DC: A comment: don't change the format of your weekly chat. For those folks looking for "serious" political discussions, there's at least one politics chat on every day of the week. (How many health chats are there? How many arts chats?) When I want analysis I read your blog or -gasp!- the newspaper.

Chris Cillizza: Message from Fix chat fans: Don't ever change.

Message received.

Current soundtrack for this chat "Thin Wild Mercury Music" by Bobby D.


Fairbanks, Ala.: Hi Chris,

Former Virginian now living in AK. A combination/question comment for you.

1. Rank the reasons why Deeds lost in order:

A. Wasn't right candidate

B. Ran poor campaign

C. Poor turnout (down 4-5% statewide?)

D. Not as popular as Kaine/Warner

The key to a Dem statewide victory in '05-'08 was always to win big in Fairfax (and lately Prince William and Loudoun) and stay close in the rest of the state. Looks like PW and Loudoun are probably purple and Fairfax went JUST GOP.

Chris Cillizza: I love rankings. If I stuck to the options you offered, here's how I would rank them from most important to least:





I think the the Virginia race proved that candidates and campaigns matter. McDonnell was a good candidate, Deeds wasn't. McDonnell ran a disciplined campaign focuses on jobs, jobs, jobs. Deeds talked about the thesis but not ever about what he would do as governor.

Clearly there were some national headwinds for Deeds as well -- look at how badly he lost independents for evidence of that.

But, there's no reason to think that with the right candidate and the right campaign, Virginia couldn't have gone Democratic on Tuesday.

I would say the opposite about New Jersey by the way. Looking back, it's clear Corzine simply could not win. People had made up their mind on him -- in a bad way -- and they weren't changing that opinion.


Fairfax County, Va.: Obviously I'm not the first to ask about this, but whither Raj Goyle after these off year election results?

Seriously, though, Terry McAuliffe a winner? He was trounced by the guy who was crushed in the general election, so what does that make him? I am not the only Democratic primary voter who was hugely put off by the way McAuliffe threw money around while soliciting endorsements, all while the Blagojevich mess was making us think about our own state political culture. Let me be clear that I'm sure McAuliffe has never crossed the line, but it sure didn't feel like Virginia and I am glad he didn't have the chance to money-up our politics. Think of all the people who would have imitated that if he had won. Ugh.

Chris Cillizza: Well, my thinking in making the Macker a winner (in the winners and losers column I wrote the day after the election) is that there was a general sense of buyer's remorse toward Deeds among state and national Democrats in the final weeks of the campaign.

The thinking was that McAuliffe would have been able to fight McDonnell more effectively on the jobs/economy issue and the Macker's personal wealth would have allowed him to keep pace with Republican fundraising and help downballot races where Democrats got washed away on Tuesday.

It's impossible to game out what a McAuliffe-McDonnell race would have looked like and whether it would have been better for Democrats.

But, with Democrats now without any statewide offices in Virginia heading into 2013, you can bet there will be a significant chunk of people in the party activist world who will look to McAuliffe to carry the party standard.


Cracklin Oat Bran BEFORE a meeting?: Hope it's a conference call...

Chris Cillizza: Oh well said. I am 33 going on 34...gotta stay regular.


Vernon, British Columbia, Canada: Good column this morning Chris, but I was surprised you didn't mention or even allude to your colleague Milbank's column about the protest outside of Congress with GOP house members in attendance, and speaking. So have any of these members given up their gov run health care? Especially Rep. Bachman, it would certainly lend credibility to their statements if they did. Do you know? Thanks. No one said freedom was pretty (Post, Nov. 6)

Chris Cillizza: When Dana speaks, everyone else listens. Including me.

_______________________ Election 2009: Winners and Losers (The Fix, Nov. 4)


Trick or treaters and political junkies: Is there a post-sugar high hangover for political junkies right after an election like there is for trick or treaters after Halloween? Maybe we should go through your bag and regulate the number of races you can overanalyze like we do with our kids to make sure they don't wolf down all their candy?

Chris Cillizza: I always find myself sort of letdown in the days after an election.

I get SO fired up on election day and the day after because there is so much data to sort through, so much information waiting out there to be found and analyzed.

I have long wanted national elections -- like 2010 and 2012 -- to be held across several days because with everything on one day, it's too much for me. I am like Violet Beauregard in Willy Wonka's chocolate factory. (The Gene Wilder one, not the Johnny Depp one.)


reporter/blogger skills competition: It was claimed on Kane's Q&A yesterday that you were a faster typer than Kane was (he also lamented your Yankee fandom). If there was a reporter/blogger skills competition, what would the events include? How about typing speed/accuracy, short hand quoting, Googleing speed, speed crossing DC from point A to B, fastest callback from Gibbs, ability to find nearest Starbucks without use of PDA...

Chris Cillizza: I type with two fingers but I type fast. ADVANTAGE CILLIZZA

Paul Kane is several years my senior and has a hair line I would have envied when I was in my 20s. ADVANTAGE KANE


Fairfax, Va.: So, taking the lessons we've learn from NY-23 and looking forward, how much of a shot do you really think Rubio has going against Crist? Crist may not be the Republicans' Republican, but he's still a fairly popular governor, isn't he?

Chris Cillizza: I actually think that Rubio had already turned the primary into a real competition before NY-23.

The key moment for Rubio was when he reported raising more than $1 million in the third quarter, still well short of what Crist collected but enough to keep him within shouting distance of the governor.

That financial showing proved that Rubio was in the race to stay and that he would have the money to make sure Republican primary voters knew they had an alternative to Crist.

Everything since then -- including NY-23 and Crist's unsuccessful attempts to walk back his support for the stimulus -- has been gravy.

My guess is that the Club for Growth gets involved for Rubio some time soon and, as they proved in NY-23, that means a significant financial windfall.

Momentum is all on Rubio's side at the moment but Crist still has a 15-20 point lead which isn't insignificant.


Alexandria, Va.: It is fundamentally a weak decision to move out of Alexandria. Bad idea. You should post a discussion of this, so as to warn others away from your mistake.

Chris Cillizza: Have to say I am very happy with Falls Church/Fairfax County. There is a Pie-tanza three minutes from my house!

Now, if I had moved to Maryland you might have had a point....


Woodbridge, N.J.: Does this "rejection of the Obama administration" stuff really make sense?

I mean Gov.-Elect Christie ran ads here with people saying "I vote for Obama and now I'm for Christie for the same reason" or something like that. He also did interviews saying how Obama would have a partner in New Jersey. Whenever Obama came to the state to campaign for soon-to-be-ex-Gov. Corzine, Christie would always say it's wonderful to have the sitting President to visit. This doesn't sound like the talk of rejection, especially to how Democrats talked about Bush 43 in 2008 and 2006 election cycles. I didn't follow Virginia as much but I don't Gov.-Elect McDonnell went after Obama that much either.

Do I have a point here?

Also, what's the latest of your BFF Raj Goyle?

Chris Cillizza: Woodbridge! Home of former Gov. Jim McGreevey!

Yes, you do have a point. Christie did not run against Obama in any way and, as you point out, regularly made clear that he stood ready to work with the president.

The New Jersey race is rightly understood as a referendum on an incumbent who made promises in 2005 that he didn't keep over the next four years. Corzine, although he had been elected to the Senate and as governor, was not ever terribly popular as a politician ever in the Garden State and it all caught up with him in this race.

It's worth noting that the President campaigned for Corzine three times since August but he is the head of the Democratic party and it would have been more than passing strange if he hadn't done so.

(Of course, if Obama had campaigned for Bill Thompson even once -- or cut an ad for the NYC Comptroller -- you might have seen an upset of epic proportions for Mayor of New York City on Tuesday night.)


New York: Alas, Jonathan Weisman was the fastest typist in these chats...but he defected over to the WSJ, where they don't play no chats.

Chris Cillizza: Weisman. Now that guy could type.


Athens, Ga.: I like how you think Gene Wilder's one is classier then Johnny Depp's version.

You realize that before, there was an actual awesome book called Charlie and the Chocolate Factory? Just when I read that, I thought you should have cited Violet Beauregard from the book (we need kids to read).

Chris Cillizza: Dude. Roald Dahl. James and the Giant Peach. The BFG.

What is the amateur hour?

And, yes I thought Gene Wilder had the right combination of eccentricity and sweetness to play Wonka. I thought Johnny Depp was just creepy in that role.

Wonka was Wilder's second greatest role. The first? Dr. Frankenstein in "Young Frankenstein"


Evanston, Ill.: Just curious,

Do you still find the random and with no context Raj Goyle reference still a bit funny or are you a bit sick of them by now and hoping to move on?

Chris Cillizza: A little of both.

Context: Raj Goyle is a Democrat running for Congress in Kansas 4th district.

The Goyle-ites like to invade the Live Fix chat with LOTS of questions about him.

This context will never be provided again. Consider yourself warned.


Anonymous: What do you have against Maryland?

Chris Cillizza: Well, the chat is only an hour long.....


Fairfax, Va.: Charlie Cook lists Boxer's seat as a "Lean Democrat." Stu Rothenberg lists her as a "Safe Democrat." Discuss.

Chris Cillizza: Terrific question.

I think I would rate the race somewhere in between Charlie and Stu.

Former HP exec Carly Fiorina is now officially in the race and while she got off to a VERY bumpy start in the runup to the campaign she should -- on paper -- present a semi-seriou challenge to Boxer.

Boxer should be safer than she is but moments like berating a witness at a Seate hearing for calling her "ma'am" rather than "Senator" tend not to sit well with some voters.

But, California if Cawlifornya and so Boxer starts with a clear edge.


Boston: From memory it seems the Dems have won almost every Congressional special election over the past few years. Is my memory correct? Any idea how many in a row and what is the longest special elect winning streak for either party?

Chris Cillizza: They have won the last five competitive special elections -- where both parties spent money -- over the last two years.

Mississippi's 1st, Louisiana's 6th and Illinois' 14th were all in 2008 and now New York's 20th and 23rd this year.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which oversees House races, deserves huge credit for that record as special elections are notoriously hard to predict with wacky turnout patterns and very low interest from voters.


New York, N.Y.: Is it now just Beltway common wisdom (an expression I'm sure you and everybody at WashPo love) that Anthony Weiner could have been elected Mayor of New York if he ran?

Chris Cillizza: "Chris Cillizza's blog has brought me to laughter and tears -- all at the same time," is the sort of expression I (and everyone else at the Washington Post) love.

As for Weiner, I do think he would likely have been a stronger candidate against Bloomberg and, in retrospect, may have even been able to win what looked up until the end like an unwinnable race for the Democrat.

But, at least 50 percent of winning office is making the leap of faith to run for office. Weiner had his chance and passed. Will it come again? Maybe. But, maybe not.


Florida Conservative Here: Crist has been a pretty good governor for a pretty purple state.

But I'm voting for Rubio for Senate. Better to lose with a conservative than to win with a RINO, since those seats are pretty much jobs-for-life.

Chris Cillizza: Question: If RINO (Republican in name only) has caught on why not DINO (Democrat in...well you get the idea)?

I mean, DINO is hilarious. It is also the name of Barney Rubble's pet dinosaur if I'm not mistaken.


East Lansing, Mich.: Dahl film adapations never really get "it" that his books still have. I really love "Matilda" and yet that Danny DeVito film wasn't that good. Same with Johnny Depp ruining C&tCF.

Plus there are so many great ones that never get made into films.

Bet you wish Little Charlie would start reading ASAP so you can re-read all the Dahl classic, right?

Chris Cillizza: Charlie, at eight months old, just finished "War and Peace" and is now on to "The Brothers Karamazov". He's really his mother's son.

Interested Roald Dahl fact: he and Live Fix chat producer Andrea Caumont have the same birthday!


Santa Clara, Calif.: I read a lot of analysis of New York's 23rd special election but next to nothing about about California's 10th special election on the same day.

I was a bit surprised that anybody involved in state government like the Lt. Gov. could still get elected. Although there isn't as much to say about it, do you have any thoughts or observations about California's 10th special election?

Plus, in case nobody else asks, any Raj Goyle updates?

Chris Cillizza: My quick thought: this district was competitive in the early years when Ellen Tauscher (D) held it but redistricting in 2001 made it a very strong Democratic seat.

So, Garamendi's challenge was in winning the primary. The general election was just a formality.

The interesting thing to me is who gets the Lt. Gov. job for the next year with Garamendi resigning to serve in Congress?

The leading name is state Sen. Abel Maldonado, a moderate Republican who was the critical vote in passing the Governator's budget package earlier this year.


Dunn Loring, Va.: How much longer do you think Obama can get away with his "blame everything on Bush" strategy?

Chris Cillizza: Dunn Loring! Now you can't say Andrea is screening your questions!

Polling -- exit and otherwise -- suggests that most Americans still see the struggles of the economy as the fault of Bush not Obama.

Republicans are working hard to change that perception with several GOP leaders coming out after the election on Tuesday and casting it as a rejection of the Obama economy.

My guess is that by the 2010 midterms, the state of the economy will be much more blamed/credited to the current president as voters (and Americans generally) tend to have short memories.

And, with unemployment now over 10 percent (10.2 percent as of this morning) the Obama Administration -- and downballot Democrats -- have to be concerned about that fact.


Gaithersburg, Md.: Don't you think Anthony Weiner is preparing for bigger and better things than mayor of NYC?

Chris Cillizza: Like what? Emperor?

We are talking about NEW YORK CITY here. The Big Apple. Gotham. The City that never sleeps. Yadda yadda yadda.

On a serious note, I am not sure what bigger and better things Weiner would be in line for. Both U.S. Senators from the Empire State are Democrats and neither is old or in poor health.

The Governor is in deep trouble electorally but the common assumption is that state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo will step in to keep the governorship in Democratic hands in 2010.

So, there aren't a whole lot of options out there at the moment for Weiner.


Minneapolis: Gene Wilder's best role: A little seen television movie he was in called "Scarecrow". He played a (what else) scarecrow who turns into a human and falls in love....when he turns into a human - brilliant acting.

Chris Cillizza: Acting! Brilliant Acting!

Also, that movie is called "The Wizard of Oz". He needed a brain.


Corvallis, Ore.: Seems sorta neat that the faculty adviser to the student council on The C.W.'s "The Vampire Diaries" is named Mr. Cillizza, right?

You ought to Tweet the creators about it.

Chris Cillizza: Wait, WHAT?

Is this true? Can I get a second source?

Also, this could be the rough equivalent of my attempts to become the homeless man's Bill Simmons.


This is huge.


DINO (Democrat In Name Only): Perhaps DINO hasn't caught on because, as a whole, liberals are not on a witchhunt to kick out all but the ultraliberal elite? Which might have something to do with how we won NY-23?

Chris Cillizza: Oh. Snap.

This question proves that partisanship can be used in ANY circumstance. ANY.


Seattle: Give us some good fun music ideas!

Chris Cillizza: I have been on a big Avett Brothers kick at the moment. "I and Love and You" is a beautiful song on a beautiful album of the same name.

Other suggestions from chatters?


University of Alaska at Fairbanks: A real Alaskan now asking.. are you a satellite radio guy?

If so, what's your package: music, news, gossip,..?


Chris Cillizza: XM. Sirius.

Music: 43, 45, 50 and 58 (BRUUUUUUCE!)

Sports: 140 and 142

That's about it. Suggestions welcome. I need to expand my satellite palette.


Hanover, N.H.: Is there any drama right now in Mass. special election to replace Edward M. Kennedy to help fix your election hangover?

Or is no real drama in that one and Martha Coakley just to sure of thing to win and nothing particularly wild about her or her winning.

Chris Cillizza: Not much, unfortunately.

This race was billed for years as one for the ages in Massachusetts and instead it has turned into an incredibly ho-hum affair.

Martha Coakley, the state Attorney General, has a huge lead in the polls and more money than anyone except for Boston Celtics co-owner Steve Pagliuca.

Anything can happen in elections -- see NY-23 -- but if Coakley does the basic blocking and tackling she should, she is VERY likely to win the Democratic nomination on Dec. 8 and get elected to the Senate on Jan. 19.


Providence, R.I.: I saw Gene Wilder in a recent interview and he came off very, very bitter.

Mean I think he thinks he should be more famous then he is today (ask anybody under 25 who Gene Wilder is and you'll get a blank look).

Poor guy, but his attitude was very unappealing.

Chris Cillizza: I hope someday someone writes this about me.


New York, NY: Dino is Fred Flintstone's pet, not Barney Rubble's.

Anyway, which of Charlie Crist, Mark Kirk, and Carly Fiorina will lose their primaries to the tea-partiers?

Chris Cillizza: I stand corrected. I was thinking too much of the Great Gazoo when I wrote that answer.

I would say that today Crist has the best chance of losing the primary because Rubio is a proven commodity (he is the former Speaker of the state House).

The people running against Kirk and Fiorina are far less known either in the state or nationally. I think Kirk is almost certain to be the Republican nominee in Illinois -- his ham-handed attempt to win Sarah Palin's endorsement aside -- but I could see Fiorina running into more problems with Chuck DeVore.


Roald Dahl: Goood buzz for the animated version of his "Fantastic Mr. Fox" with George Clooney voicing the dapper Mr. Fox. Who may have strongly held liberal political views.

Chris Cillizza: I would go see that. Also, I am going to see "Avatar" too. Even though it has the potential to be among the best or among the worst movies ever.


Baltimore: If Rubio wins the Republican primary in Florida, how does he fare in the general?


Chris Cillizza: Hard to know.

Polling conducted in the race suggests that Rubio would run about even with Rep. Kendrick Meek, the almost-certain Democratic nominee, if the election were held today.

Those polls don't take into account the massive PR bump Rubio would enjoy if he knocked off Crist, however. He would be THE story of the 2010 midterms.

Meek, for his part, doesn't get much love from national Democrats but is doing everything right in terms of raising money so far in the race.


Washington, D.C.: There's a character named after you on a teenybopper Vampire show. I'm teary eyed from laughing so much. That's wicked.

Oh, my friend, you have arrived.

Chris Cillizza: I mean, that is HUGE.

Still, having Bill Simmons describe me as "the homeless man's Bill Simmons" would be nirvana.


College Park, Md.: If ask anybody under 25 (or over 25) who Chris Cillizza is and all I get is a blank look.

That's what you get for messing with Maryland.

Chris Cillizza: For the record, I have much love for Maryland -- especially College Park, home of the best field hockey team in the nation.

It's just Virginia is and always has been home for me and Mrs. Fix.

And, the politics of Virginia are more interesting than those of Maryland.

The Commonwealth has given us -- among others -- George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, George Allen, Chuck Robb, Ollie North, Mark Warner, Linwood Holton and Jerry Baliles.


Sirius XM,,,: Chris

I'm surprised that Lithium (XM 54, Sirius 24) isn't one of your favorites?

Also - why no Howard, POTUS, Mad Dog Sports, etc?

I like Mike and Mike but outside of them ESPN Radio is pretty unlistenable.

Chris Cillizza: I do Dan Patrick in the morning. That guy rox.

And I am not a Howard Stern guy. never have been.

I love Mad Dog. Need to listen to that one more.


Bedrock: DINO is Fred Flintstone's pet dinosaur. Barney Rubble's family has a pet "hopparoo" (a combination of a kangaroo and dinosaur) named Hoppy. I have a 5 year old kid who loves the Boomarang channel.

Chris Cillizza: Sure, it's the five year old.....


Corvallis, Ore.: Considering you're not a 14-year-old girl, it's a safe bet you don't watch The C.W.'s "The Vampire Diaries." But faculty adviser for Mystic Falls High School's student council is named Mr. Cillizza and he kind of looks like an older version of you.

My bet is somebody in the production team is an avid reader of The Fix Blog.

Chris Cillizza: This may be the greatest thing that has ever happened to me.

And by, "kind of looks like you" do you mean he is tall, goofy and uncoordinated?


Chris Cillizza: Ok, folks. Have to go run to a meeting and then to a guest appearance on the "Vampire Diaries".

Thanks for spending the hour with me. Make sure to tell your friends (and your enemies) about the Live Fix chat. Every Friday -- except this one -- at 11 am.

Have a great weekend.


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