The Live Fix: Conn. Senate, Sarah Palin and best of 2009 in music

Chris Cillizza
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, December 11, 2009 11:00 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.

Vote for the best and worst campaigns of the year and the biggest political scandal of the decade.

Check out the discussion archive.


Chris Cillizza: We are coming to you live from the official Fix office in Falls Church. At our side, a cinnamon Latte from Greenberry's Coffee in McLean. In our belly, a chocolate croissant from same.

A few things before we get started:

1. Make sure to head over to the Fix and cast your votes for the best and worst campaigns of 2009. Results will be announced next week. Got a suggestion for what we should call the awards? "The Golden Fix"? "The Cillizzys"?

2. Always wonder what your nickname would be on "Jersey Shore" -- the best/worst thing to come out of MTV since the Fix presidential dialogues? Wonder no more:

Let's do it.


Charlotte, NC: In today's Morning Fix, you mention that the National Journal, based on a survey of political insiders, touts Debbie Wasserman Schultz as one of the the up and coming Democratic members of Congress. You refer to her as DSW. Is this a typo or is she called this even though her initials are DWS? Also, her potential of holding the title of chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is mentioned. In March 2008, she said she would not campaign against the Cuban American GOP Congressmen in the Florida delegation. This was said to be because of her friendship with them. The Diaz-Balart brothers and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen are all in swing districts and the stance DWS took is not one that would foster support for becoming DCCC chair since the role would require her to support Dems for Congress regardless of her bipartisan relations. Morning Fix: The Obama Nobel speech examined (The Fix)

Chris Cillizza: That's for the "Morning Fix" plug.

And, thanks for catching my typo. "DWS" is my nickname for Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a nickname born from the fact that I don't want to type such a long name.

I think she along with New York Rep. Steve Israel (the frontrunner) and Iowa Rep. Bruce Braley (the long shot) are in the mix to chair the DCCC next cycle.

Even if DWS doesn't get the DCCC -- hello acronyms! -- she will be a major player in Democratic leadership in the years to come.


Athens, Ga.: After what happened to Corzine, don't you think that the Democratic establishment will be much more decisive when it comes to pushing Chris Dodd to retirement?

Chris Cillizza: Absolutely.

As I wrote yesterday on the Fix, there appears to be a growing conventional wisdom that Dodd simply cannot be re-elected next year.

The Cook Political Report moved the race to "lean Republican" yesterday and Dodd allies have had to beat back retirement rumors that cropped up again in earnest this week.

I think Dodd's prominence within the party -- he was chaired the Democratic National Committee and is a mainstay in the Senate -- means that the White House and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee will give him more leeway to make his own decision to step aside before they give him a push.

But it certainly feels like that push is coming...


Washington, D.C.: Hi,

Just a follow-up on last week's comment in your live chat.

Besides being informative and interacting with readers, the #1 goal of these chats would is so that The Fix gets called "The Homeless Man's Bill Simmons"

The second would be that people associate congressional candidate Raj Goyle with these live chats.

The third would be to confirm that Cillizza was the name of a character on "The Vampire Diaries"

Chris Cillizza: Yes. I think that accurately states the goals of the Live Fix.

Come on Simmons! How long can you ignore the pleas of Fixistas everywhere! I can only imagine his email inbox is being barraged with missive titled "Chris Cillizza aka the Fix = homeless man's Bill Simmons"


East Hampton, Conn.: I understand that your political trivia quiz was light on the politics. What gives, Fix?

Chris Cillizza: East Hampton in the House! Is that Ben Franklin's still there? (East Hampton is the town next to Marlborough where the ole Fix was raised.)

Thanks for the chance to plug "Politics and Pints", the Fix's political trivia night. The first one went down on Monday night and it rocked.

There were PLENTY of political questions like "What was the name of the Republican John Tanner beat to claim his House seat in 1988". There were also a few random questions -- "What Country were Mentos invented?" -- to keep things interesting. (Answers below.)

If you missed our first Politics and Pints, never fear. Send me an email at with "Politics and Pints" in the subject line and I will personally alert you to the next one in early 2010.

1. Tanner beat Ed Bryant, later a Congressman and Senate candidate

2. The Netherlands.


Anonymous: History is well supplied with demagogues whose relentless self-promotion ended in political self-destruction. What are the odds Sarah Palin will ultimately disappear in consequence of her ultimate lack of rational solutions to our very real problems?

Chris Cillizza: Whew...for a second there I though this post was about the Fix's relentless self promotion.

I think that for Palin to be a serious player in the 2012 sweepstakes, she has to find ways to stake out ground in a handful of policy areas.

She clearly is most comfortable talking about energy -- witness her controversial climate change op-ed in the Post a few days ago -- but on other matters of foreign and domestic policy she seems much thinner.

Bashing the media isn't a presidential campaign platform.


Boston, Mass.: I've lived in the state most of my life and I'm curious why Coakley's name recognition heading into the runoff was so much better than Capuano's. I knew she was Attorney General and vaguely remember some child abuse cases that were mentioned with her bio but it's not like I knew her better or worse than I knew Capuano (and Capuano represents a different district than where I live). Should Capuano have laid the behind the scenes and public image groundwork better the previous 2-3 years for a statewide run or would that have just looked improper especially in the last year or so with Kennedy's declining health?

Chris Cillizza: Coakley took a calculated risk to begin organizing (and polling) for the Senate race before Ted Kennedy had even passed away.

While that level of activity didn't sit well with insiders, it's apparent that average voters either didn't know about it or didn't care.

As for the name ID question, Coakley is a statewide elected official while Capuano represents only one-tenth of the state.


All we are saying...: Do you think Obama should have accepted the peace prize on "behalf" of those really working, in the trenches, for peace? It seems kind of wimpy to say you don't deserve it and then to accept it -- doesn't it?

Chris Cillizza: I suppose that was an option. But, he did make clear VERY early on in the speech that he did not boast the record of accomplishment of many of the people who had received the award before him.

As I noted in the Morning Fix today, this speech is an important one as it lays out Obama's vision of the world and America's place in it.

Some reporters have taken to calling it the "Obama Doctrine" speech and that makes sense to me.

Go read it if you haven't. Important address for any number of reasons -- most notably his defense of the necessity of "just wars".


You refer to her as DSW.: Aha! A Freudian slip. You are obviously subconsciously longing to be shopping at Discount Shoe Warehouse.

Chris Cillizza: I do love that place. SO MANY SHOES. Try to never go there with Mrs. Fix can be a three to four hour time commitment.


Abingdon, Md.: If the desire of some Dems is to have Dodd bow out, 1) who would they put up in his place to run who could beat Dodd's opponent and 2) what 'carrot' are hey holding out for him to step aside?

Chris Cillizza: Abingdon's in the house!

1) Richard Blumenthal. Blumenthal is the most popular elected official in the state and has been Attorney General in the state since 1990. He has long coveted a run for Senate and already has announced he will run against Joe-mentum Lieberman in 2012.

2) An ambassadorship? Some sort of senior policy role?


Friendship Heights: I haven't seen you discuss this yet but what is Sen. Lieberman doing to his 2012 re-election chances with his stances on health care reform?

Sens. Lincoln and Nelson maybe slightly to the left of their constituents on this issue but Lieberman is far to the right of his and has taken a much more public role in this debate and could pay for his positions in 3 years, assuming he is running again?

And looking at their states is there really any chance that Senators Snowe and Collins vote against healthcare reform with or without a public option included in the final package? My gut feeling on these two is that they want to be relevant to the process but in the end are likely to vote for health care reform regardless of whether includes what they want.

Chris Cillizza: Speaking of Connecticut....

I don't think Lieberman could complicate his re-election chances any more than they already are. His opposition to the public option has inflamed liberals who already dislike him over his stance on the Iraq war, his friendship with John McCain and his unapologetic centrist credentials.

As I noted above, Lieberman has almost no chance to run and win the Democratic nomination in 2012 -- particularly if Blumenthal is in the field. Lieberman's best hope is to follow his 2006 model; run as an independent and hope Republicans don't put anyone serious forward, which would allow him to cobble together enough independent and GOP votes to possibly win.

Assuming he runs, and I am not sold on the idea he will, the 2012 race will be the toughest of Lieberman's career.


RE: Palin: Chris

I'd agree with you that Gov. Palin is comfortable speaking about energy issues, but that doesn't mean her positions have been consistent.

I happen to think various position shifts represent the biggest opening for her GOP opponents in attacking her policy/leadership credentials.

Off topic -- what'd The Fix choice for Album of the Year?

Chris Cillizza: There is no such thing as "off topic" in this chat.

The album I have loved the best this year is "I and Love and You" by the Avett Brothers.

My song of the year is "Home" by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes.

Other nominations?


Anonymous: If you are going to be New York City on a Friday night, you may like to drop an e-mail to ahead of time to booker for The Rachel Maddow Show.

She is now doing a 3-person panel every Friday night for all topics rather then one guest per topic.

Sure she'd love to add you to a seat if they know you were available.

Chris Cillizza: Always happy to be on with Rachel...I will just keep sitting by the phone waiting for it to ring...evoking memories of my dating life in high school.


Kirksville, Mo.: Have you been following the recent increase in volume about Sen. Blanche Lincoln get primary challenger to her left from Lt. Gov. Bill Halter.

Forget Sen. Lincoln for a second (it's easy if you try) and strictly from Lt. Gov. Halter's POV, does it makes sense to enter a primary?

Will Barack Obama and Joe Biden do the same thing for Sen. Lincoln as they did for Sen. Specter with an endorsement, stump speeches and fundraising?

Chris Cillizza: Halter is some who loves to have his name out there but I am not sure at the end of the day whether he really will do it and, even if he does, whether he can raise the money or build the organization to beat Sen. Lincoln.

I do think there is considerable unrest toward Lincoln among national liberals but it's less clear how large a faction of disgruntled Democratic base voters there are in Arkansas, which tends to be more conservative than the nation as a whole.

Whether or not Halter runs, Lincoln is in serious trouble next year in the general election. State Se. Gilbert Baker is the Republican frontrunner although Stanley Reed, former head of the Arkansas Farm Bureau, who just got into the race, could be formidable as well.


Little Rock, Ark.: You gotta feel for our senator, Blanche Lincoln. Challenged from the Right by Republicans, challenged from the Left (maybe) by Lt. Gov. Bill Halter, a critical vote on health care who is probably in trouble no matter what she does. What do you think lies in store for this Southern lady?

Chris Cillizza: See above. And I know what would lie in store for me if I lived Little Rock. Lunch at Doe's Eat Place.


Orono, Maine: I don't understand Barack Obama.

I mean he says he is too undeserving for a Nobel Peace Prize because of his lack of accomplishments.

I seem to remember a few folks saying he was undeserving of the nomination of the Democratic party for the U.S. presidency because of his lack of accomplishments.

I don't about him, but I rank U.S. presidency above the Nobel Prize Price.

I don't understand Barack Obama.

Chris Cillizza: Is this a haiku?


Oakton, Va. : Re: Goals of Live Fix -- doesn't Sexi Lexi factor in anywhere? And kudos to you Chris for going to Greenberry's -- it has no equal imho.

Chris Cillizza: I think touting political nicknames has to be in there.

Also, my nickname on "Jersey Shore" would apparently be "Danny Tan-ner". Mrs Fix's would be "Snickers".

Not kidding.


Princeton, N.J.: You're really typing fast today! Would it be neat if Dodd stepped aside in favor of Ned Lamount and Joe and he had to sit together?

Chris Cillizza: OH the irony. That would be a great example of two Senators from the same state hating one another.

Of course, Princeton, New Jersey is the classic of the genre with Bob Torricelli and Frank Lautenberg.


Berkeley, Calif.: Dance like the photo's not tagged, love like you've never been unfriended, tweet like nobody's following.

Chris Cillizza: This is similar to my life mantra: "Be excellent to each other"


Goreacle Joementum: Had the Goreacle not raised Joementum's national profile by picking him as 2nd banana in 2000, would we still have smilin' joe to kick around?

Chris Cillizza: Impossible for me not to highlight this question due to the brilliant use of Gore-acle and Joe-Mentum.

I will NEVER forget Joe-Mentum's proclamation following his 6th place finish in the NH primary in 2004: "We are in a three-way tie for third."

A modern classic.


Hanover, N.H.: It's because of those three goals that I read these live chats.

Chris Cillizza: I aim to please.

Also, music talk/recommendations have to be in there.

In that vein, "Blood Bank" the EP from Bon Iver aka Justin Vernon.

I would buy an album of that guy reading my phone bill.


Anonymous: Everybody seems to have their pet theory about why are vampire so in vogue these days, but here is one. Wondering if you've heard it before.

Vampire and economic recessions.

There was a massive 6-year economic depression following a financial panic at end of the War of 1812. It was during that time that first ever original English language vampire book, John William Polidori's The Vampyre (often wrongly attributed to Lord Byron), was written and published.

There was recession following the financial panics of 1893 and 1896 when Bram Stoker's Dracula was first printed. Oddly enough, at the time when Dracula the novel was released, one of the biggest questions in the United Kingdom was military involvement in the Arab world (in that case, it was Sudan).

It was in the Wiemar Republic, with its extreme hyperinflation, that F. W. Murau's Nosferatu was filmed and released.

It was during the Great Depression that Bela Lugosi's Count Dracula films first became box office hits.

There was during the economic recession at the end of the 1980s and beginning of the 1990s when Lost Boys, Interview with a Vampire and Buffy the Vampire Slayer were filmed and released.

There was even a recession in the United Kingdom when Christopher Lee's Dracula films from Hammer Films came out.

Sort of neat, right? Vampires as a representation of economic insecurity.

Chris Cillizza: "Everybody" has a pet theory on this subject? Really?


San Diego, Calif.: Who wins an Obama-Biden vs. Palin-Limbaugh 2012 presidential election.

Chris Cillizza: Snubbing Lou Dobbs eh? This will not stand.

Also, how can this question be complete without the best conspiracy theory out there -- Obama dumps Biden for Hillary Clinton!


Belair, Md.: So, what's on the Fix Family Christmas list this year?

Chris Cillizza: 1. More page views

2. More page views

3. Three blue-chip recruits for Catholic University field hockey.


Cleveland, Ohio: Which of these figures will ever run for public office again:

Newt Gingrich Rudy Giuliani Fred Thompson Sarah Palin Eliot Spitzer

If they do, for what? If they don't, how will they continue to get the media attention they so clearly crave?

Chris Cillizza: In order of most likely to run to least:







DCCC: This is not an acronym; acronyms are pronounced as words. Abbreviations are spelled out.

Chris Cillizza: I stand corrected. Actually, I am sitting down. Harder to type while standing.


Keystone Stater: "Ned Lamount and Joe and he had to sit together?"

Well, for 12 years Pennsylvania had Specter and Santorum both on the Republican side of the Senate aisle. And it was a hoot listening to each campaign for the other, especially the time Pat Toomey challenged Specter.

Chris Cillizza: Yes. Classic. Nothing better than two Senators who just do not like one another but have to work together because they are from the same state.


N.H. (in 2004): "I will NEVER forget Joe-Mentum's proclamation following his 6th place finish in the NH primary in 2004: "We are in a three-way tie for third.""

He actually finished 5th, which makes his claim slightly more legitimate. However, Clark and Edwards were really in a tie for third (both rounded to 13 percent, Clark finished slightly ahead), but 8 percent and 5th place isn't worth very much Joementum.

Chris Cillizza: FIFTH!

"Three way tie for third"

That's like saying that on my high school basketball team, I was in a four-way tie to be the "sixth man".


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