The Live Fix with Chris Cillizza

Network News

X Profile
View More Activity
Chris Cillizza
Friday, August 20, 2010; 11:00 AM

_______________________

Chris Cillizza: Good morning everyone. After howls of protest from the Fix chat community, we have moved this chat back to its normal hour long length. Don't forget that I chat for a half hour on Mondays and Wednesdays too.I am nothing if not receptive to the public whims.Speaking of those whims, let's get to your questions.

_______________________

Fairfax: If a Democrat is running ahead in a polls against his/her Republican opponent, but below 50%, historically how likely is it that enough undecideds break for the Democrat to win?

Chris Cillizza: This is a great question to ponder in advance of the midterms.Typically, an incumbent at 46+ in the polls usually wins on election day -- grabbing enough of the undecideds to get over the top.However, in anomalous political years where the playing field is tilted toward one party or the other, incumbents often wind up with the exact number they are polling at in the runup to the election.In that scenario, which is the one we are facing in this election, 46% in a poll is not safe.

_______________________

Obama's numbers: Chris, I am baffled by the drop in Obama's poll numbers and cannot figure out why the GOP gets so much traction with its nasty, negative approach -- particularly on issues such as the legislation to help small businesses, or the extension of tax cuts and closing of loopholes that many businesses support (see Ezra Klein). He inherited a nightmarish situation on all fronts, and while you can fault him for poor messaging, he has actually steered a commonsense middle course through some ungodly Scylla/Charybdis type issues. To me, the proof that he's centrist is that he's pounded by right and left alike. What do people really expect him to do -- right the economy single-handedly?

Chris Cillizza: I genuinely wonder whether it's possible for any president to succeed in the modern political environment.Message control/discpline is absolutely impossible because of the 24 hour cable channels, blogs etc that force a White House to respond to any number of mini-controversies every day.I also think that Obama stepped into a very difficult economic situation without an obvious (or easy) solution.

_______________________

Obama: Obama is going to get criticized for anything he does. If he were to suggest that The Rock is his favorite wrestler. The GOP would come back and say he is wrong and that Stone Cold Steve Austin is superior

Chris Cillizza: Well, now, that is a real debate.As anyone who follows professional wrestling at all knows, neither were great ring technicians.My favorite wrestler? Bret Hart.

_______________________

House: What is your current % probability that R's will take House? Charlie Cook seems quite positive now.

Chris Cillizza: I am not in the prediction business.That said, it's clear that the House majority is very much in play. Even the most loyal of Democrats agree on that point.Important unanswered questions:1. Does the political environment improve at all for Democrats between now and Nov. 2?2. How much does Democrats' fundraising edge matter?3. How much saliency does George W. Bush have on the campaign trail?

_______________________

yay hour-long chat!: glad you're back for an hour. thirty minutes was not enough.so, with the mccain-hayworth primary a fait accompli, what do you think we'll see coming out of any of the AZ house primaries? anything worth talking about?

Chris Cillizza: The race that will draw national attention is the 3rd district Republican primary featuring Ben Quayle, the son of the former Vice President.Ben Quayle wsd the frontrunner as recently as a month ago but his admission that he had some affiliation with a semi-lewd website documenting the Scottsdale party scene has hurt him.For those who missed it, make sure to go and watch Kelly O'Donnell's "Today" show piece on the race this morning. GREAT stuff.

_______________________

The Obama is a Muslim Condrum: Hi Chris -- Thanks for taking questions today. How does Obama respond, if at all, to these questions about his religious faith? To me it's stunning that you have the WH actually having to make statements, after his decisive victory and a year and a half into his presidency, that yes, the president is indeed not a Muslim and is, as we've all known for a number of years now, a Christian. As I said, stunning (at least I think so).

Chris Cillizza: I was a little bit suprised that the White House said anything about the Pew poll but I suppose it's a recognition of what I talked about above -- the unquenchable thirst of the news cycle for mountains rather than molehills. The simple fact is that there is NO evidence that President Obama has any personal ties to the Islamic faith.Where the story came from and why it persists baffles me. The Pew poll showed that those who disapprove of Obama are much more likely to say he is a Muslim. That makes some sense.But, the fact that less than 50 percent of Democrats say he is a Christian is so very odd to me. Theories? I'd love to hear them.

_______________________

Hitman!: I think the WWF/WWE lost me permanently when they turned Bret Hart into a heel and then the Montreal Screwjob. Best there is, best there was, and the best there ever will be.

Chris Cillizza: Montreal screwjob was the low point for pro wrestling and Vince McMahon. The Hitman should have been the dominant star of that era but his unwillingness to go along with what Vince McMahon wanted probably doomed him.

_______________________

Obama's religion: How much of the confusion about Obama's religion is his fault? After all, as with so many other issues, Obama likes to avoid straightforward answers about his faith, as shown by the exchange with Smitty the barber he documented in his autobiography.

Chris Cillizza: Well, I think Obama views public religious shows as the sort of political pandering that make his skin crawl.He probably knows somewhere in his mind that it makes more political sense to be more overt about his religious beliefs but I also think he has a higher BS meter than other politicians and refuses to go down that road.The statement by the White House that he is a "committed Christian" was an acknowledgment of the potential damage the Pew poll could do to him...and it's possible that this week has convinced him of the need to bite the bullet and be more proactive (and public) about his expressing his religious beliefs.

_______________________

Bret Hart?: Bah, you kids. The greatest wrestler ever was the wrestler who made Milwaukee famous, da one, da only, DA CRUSHER!

Chris Cillizza: I have to take your word for it...but could he pull off pink tights like the Hitman?

_______________________

Ben Quayle: He seems to be like his father: gaffe prone.

Chris Cillizza: Confirmed.

_______________________

Haley Barbour: Can Haley Barbour be the king or is he just the kingmaker in 2012?

Chris Cillizza: I think he would like to be the king, er, president.I also think he is very aware of his limitations -- southern governor, overweight, heavy accent -- and how that could potentially limit his appeal if and when he winds up as the party's nominee. Whether he can win or not depends on a) who else runs and b) the way the race plays out -- both of which are impossible to know right now.

_______________________

Reston: Any rumblings about what John Thune is thinking about in terms of 2012? Does his TARP vote hurt him too much (even though the frontrunners like Palin were "for" it during the 2008 campaign)?

Chris Cillizza: political pros who view him as their best option.Thune has a lot going for him -- handsome, charismatic, conservative without being scary to independents -- and two major questions to answer.1. How bad does he want it? The presidential primary process is incredibly grueling and unless you know in your heart of hearts that this is the most important thing in the world, you are likely to come up short.2. TARP. The bank bailout vote has already ended the careers of several GOP incumbents. It is regarded by many base conservatives as a test of first principles. How does Thune explain why he voted for it?

_______________________

ISO of Wonk: Ok here's a whimsical question for a Friday afternoon. Where do 40ish dateable wonks hang out in DC? Girl's trying to find one - or have one find her, rather. I recall you met @MrsFix at softball - other places, activities? Thanks much!

Chris Cillizza: There can't be a person in Washington who knows less about this question than me.But, there is only one answer I can think of: "Politics and Pints" -- our monthly trivia night at the Capitol Lounge. Second Monday or every month. It's fun. I swear.

_______________________

I am: Bill Richardson. What am I doing after I leave the NM governor's office next year?

Chris Cillizza: I have NO idea.But, I am interested to see how you rule in the attempted posthumous pardoning of "Billy the Kid".

_______________________

Chris Cillizza: RESOLVED: M. Ward is underrated (he says as he listens to the "M. Ward" station on Pandora).

_______________________

Re: Haley Barbour: There is absolutely no way a former tobacco lobbyist is going to win the presidency. All the talk helps raise his profile though.

Chris Cillizza: Thanks for being on the chat, Governor Pawlenty!

_______________________

Independent candidates: Who has the best chance of winning: Crist, Tancredo, Chafee, Cahill, or Cutler?

Chris Cillizza: 1. Crist (Florida)2. Chafee (Rhode Island)3. Cutler (Maine)4. Cahill (Mass.)5. Tancredo (Colo.)6. Mike the Mover (Wash.)

_______________________

Seattle: How worried should Democrats be about the results from the Washington Senate primary? Murray was below 50% and I don't think there were a lot of Democrats dividing up the vote in that jungle primary.

Chris Cillizza: A bunch of state-by-state questions so let's knock them out.My read on the Washington State primary results is that it shows we are in for a very close election this fall.I think it's hard to make hard and fast conclusions about what the fact that Republican candidates combined for slightly more votes than Democratic ones means.It simply doesn't tell us what a race between Murray and Rossi will look like -- other than, as I said above, it is going to be close.

_______________________

Wisconsin Governor: I am surprised that Barrett is trailing in polls. Wisconsin politically leans Democratic. He is the mayor of the state's biggest city, he was a 5 term Congressman, he served in both houses of the state legislature, he came close to beating Jim Doyle in the 2002 Democratic primary, and he recieved lots of positive press coverage after he was attacked in 2009. Is the national environment so bad to where he can't win? It seems that in any other year, he would defeat any Republican handily. What are your thoughts?

Chris Cillizza: The state's economy and the President's declining popularity in Wisconsin combine to make it tough environmentally for both Barrett and Sen. Russ Feingold who is in a real race for a fourth term.On the gov race, Republicans are very gung ho about the candidate skills of Scott Walker. But, he still has to get out of a competitive primary next month.

_______________________

Texas: Can you give us a rundown of the Texas governor's race? Given the GOP tilt of both the year and the state, how long are the odds of Bill White pulling this thing out? Do the Democrats have any chance of taking back the state house or state senate there?

Chris Cillizza: Bill White has more money on hand than Rick Perry and polling suggests he is within striking distance.That said, this is Texas -- one of the most comfortably Republican states in the country -- in what looks like a very good year nationally for the GOP.

_______________________

North Carolina: It seems like Elaine Marshall is in a stonger position at this point in the campaign than Kay Hagan was in 2008. Do you think she can pull it off?

Chris Cillizza: I think that points is debateable for two main reasons. Hagan, on the other hand, was a strong fundraiser. The previous cycle was a very good one to be a Democrat almost anywhere in the country. The opposite may well be the case this November.

_______________________

Tampa: It looks like Meek is pulling away from Greene down in Florida. What do you predict Democrats will do? Hypothetically speaking, if say Meek isn't making up ground by October, does he throw his support to Crist to stop Rubio from becoming a senator?

Chris Cillizza: I do think Meek wins the primary. a race that looks very tough to win.But, campaigns are organic things -- and they constantly change, making predictions of any sort tough.

_______________________

BUTCH!! and Kieth Allred?: Do you think Allred has a shot against Butch Otter in Idaho?He's a dem in a red state in what may be a red year. But Otter (Gotta Love the name BUTCH), is one of those incumbent guvs dealing with the Economy. And Allred already outraised BUTCH and cut BUTCH's lead in half!Your thoughts?

Chris Cillizza: I could see the race being somewhat close. But, like Texas, Idaho is a strongly Republican state. And, nationally, this is shaping up to be a very good year for the GOP.Both of those things should help Gov. Butch.

_______________________

Florida Gov: As someone blessed with a number of older relatives bearing lots of "anytime" minutes on their cell phones, I'm constantly hearing about Florida politics. I wish it weren't the case, but I've started to actually care about who wins the race for Governor. What are your thoughts on how this will play out? Does Alex Sink really have a shot here? (I've been hearing that she's doing well for the last couple of weeks) Also, if you know of any Florida-based political writers that aren't complete and total hacks, please let me know, I haven't found one.

Chris Cillizza: Adam Smith of the St. Pete Times is an absolutely outstanding reporter.As for the Gov race, Alex Sink absolutely has a shot. Rick Scott and Bill McCollum have pummeled each other on TV for the better part of the last month and a new Quinnipiac poll suggested both of them have the scars to prove it.Sink hasn't been tested just yet as a candidate but she will. The interesting debate: who is a strong Republican candidate against her -- Scott or McCollum?

_______________________

DC: If you're a California voter, don't you at some point have to question the judgment of someone willing to drop $100 million to become the governor of California? I mean, who wants that job that much?

Chris Cillizza: Meg Whitman?

_______________________

Michael Shear's article: As the Post's political guru, could you comment on today's Michael Shear article defending Obama's "obvious" Christian faith? In particular, isn't this article just a weakly disguised White House press release trying to correct public fears about Obama's faith? As such, isn't it just another example of the Post serving as this administration's lap dog, happily gobbling up the scrapes dropped to it, while never venturing far from that lap to investigate meatier topics?

Chris Cillizza: Huh. I actually didn't read it that way at all. I thought Mike's piece was a revealing look into a President's private religious life.

_______________________

Obey's Seat: How are the Democrats losing David Obey's seat to a former reality TV star?!?

Chris Cillizza: Genuine toss up. I think aforementioned reality star Sean Duffy might be slightly too impressed with himself but this is a conservative minded district in a state where Republicans look ascendant this cycle.

_______________________

Rumors in the information age: I don't think it's that difficult to understand why stories like "Obama is a Muslim" get so much traction. Information is easy to find, but it's the same mix of fact and myth (and in some ways, more prone to error). And if it's easier to find TV pundits or blogs or tweets that confirm your suspicions, and are never directly challenged, more people will believe those rumors, and believe them more strongly.I think that with the information explosion people are less cynical, but they really should be more so. More information requires more filtering, not less.

Chris Cillizza: Very well said.

_______________________

FNL?: So is Tim Riggins out of jail in time for the next season of FNL? Does Coach Taylor win the state championship with his East Dillon team to finish the series?

Chris Cillizza: The Riggins going to jail thing was really well handled -- as, I thought, was the abortion storyline.I think Season 4 of FNL really should introduce the nerdy, political reporter uncle of Tim and Billy Riggins into the mix. And, I even have someone in mind who fits the role perfectly....

_______________________

AZ: Who has the best chance at re-election - Giffords, Kirkpatrick, or Mitchell? Or, could we retain all three??

Chris Cillizza: In order from best chance to win to worst1. Giffords2. Kirpatrick3. MitchellIf Giffords wins, look out Jon Kyl (R) in 2012.

_______________________

20%: 20% of Americans also think states have the right to secede, believe that aliens have made contact with humans and admit to peeing in the pool. Aren't we taking the implications of polling Obama's religion a little too far?

Chris Cillizza: I tweeted this story yesterday -- fascinating stuff. Pool pee-ers!

_______________________

The Republican South: Could we actually see several Democrats winning gubernatorial races in the south? Florida, Georgia and Texas come to mind.

Chris Cillizza: We could. Emphasize could.I think Democrats best chance of those three is in Florida, which is kind of the south and kind of not.Georgia and Texas are both places where Democrats have their best possible candidates and in a neutral national political environment would be feeling good. In an election cycle like this one, it could be tougher.

_______________________

FNL: "I think Season 4 of FNL really should introduce the nerdy, political reporter uncle of Tim and Billy Riggins into the mix. And, I even have someone in mind who fits the role perfectly...."Jon Ralston?

Chris Cillizza: Um, me.If Ralston was a character in FNL, he would a long lost friend of buddy of Buddy Garrity. Or the new assistant at West Dillon. He would need to keep the goatee in either situation.

_______________________

Ick: Theres is something that creeps me out about buying the election--- Whitman in CA , Bloomburg in NYC, McMahon in CT. (maybe unfair to group Bloomie in with 2 newbies). I'm not saying they won't win--- but it makes me uncomfortable. Is there a point where people say "too much"?

Chris Cillizza: How much personal money a candidate spends is almost never an issue in campaigns. By and large, people either don't know or don't care where the money comes from.A notable exception: California where self funders (Michael Huffington, Al Checchi, Jane Harman, Steve Westly) have come up short in the not-so-distant past.

_______________________

The Race of the Century: Is it going to be McCain (the war hero) or Hayworth (the sly one)

Chris Cillizza: Or the primary of the cycle.McCain will win easily. And deserves huge credit for the effectiveness of the campaign he has run.

_______________________

Jake the Snake: Would get my vote. Obama doesn't follow the snake handling tenants of Christianity does he?

Chris Cillizza: He had a GREAT end of match ritual...the snake out of the bag and then laying it on his knocked out opponent.It's up there with Brutus the Barber shaving the heads of his "unconscious" opponents.

_______________________

Chris Cillizza: That's all for me this week! A few thoughts:1. Make sure to send for the newest Fix product: The Afternoon Fix. You can get all the political news you missed (and what you shouldn't miss) in your email inbox by 5 pm every day. One click signup is here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn?node=admin/email/express&action=subscribe&newsletter_code=AFTRNFIX2. Don't forget that I now chat THREE times a week. Mondays and Wednesdays for 30 minutes and Fridays for the full hour! All chats start at 11.3. Go listen to M. Ward. Will be well worth your time.Have a great weekend.Chris


© 2010 The Washington Post Company

Discussion Archive

Viewpoint is a paid discussion. The Washington Post editorial staff was not involved in the moderation.

Network News

X My Profile