Blog Posts by Chris Cillizza

  • The Fast Fix: Is Palin failin’?

    Does Palin still have what it takes to maintain support of the Republican base?

    A box office star Sarah Palin isn't.

    A new documentary about her time as governor of Alaska has grossed less than $100,000 since its release earlier this month, including a paltry $24,000 last weekend.

    That flop is leading some people to question just how much pull Palin retains within the Republican base, a troubling storyline for the 2008 vice presidential nominee as she mulls a 2012 run.

    Palin has largely disappeared from the national scene since her out-of-nowhere Memorial Day bus trip to historic sites that seemed to be party political gambit and part family vacation.  While Palin has laid low, the 2012 presidential election has picked up speed with a key straw poll vote set for next month in Iowa.

    Out of sight isn't always out of mind when it comes to Palin though. A new Washington Post/ABC News poll showed her running second behind former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney in a hypothetical 2012

    Read More »from The Fast Fix: Is Palin failin’?
  • The Fast Fix: Can a third party take the presidency?

    Americans are getting fed up with Democrats and Republicans, but even so, would a third party stand a chance in the 2012 election?

    People don't like Republicans. Ditto Democrats.

    With so much unrest in the electorate, the time appears ripe for a third party to emerge in the 2012 presidential race.

    And, there are already a number of groups working to set the stage for such a candidacy.

    Americans Elect, for example,  is focused on securing a spot on the ballot for a third party candidate and have already done so in eight states. They expect to make the ballot in California this week.

    Of course, there's one big problem for the supporters of a third party bid in 2012. They don't have a candidate.

    Past successful third party runs have been largely candidate driven -- from Teddy Roosevelt's run as a Bull Moose candidate in 1912 to Ross Perot's two bids in the 1990s.

    Without a person to rally around, it's hard to imagine how a third party could effectively capitalize on voter disgust with

    Read More »from The Fast Fix: Can a third party take the presidency?
  • The Fast Fix: Will debt ceiling fight leave voters more dissatisfied?

    Voters appear ready to make both parties pay for the ugly debt ceiling fight.

    No matter what happens this week, the debt ceiling fight looks like a political lose-lose situation for both parties.

    For President Obama, the inability to forge compromise on a so-called "grand bargain" has the potential to undermine the brand on which he ran and won in 2008.  That brand centered on his ability to do big things, to solve problems that Washington had been either unable or unwilling to solve in the past.

    For House Speaker John Boehner and congressional Republicans, a small deal on the debt is likely to further erode already low public confidence in their ability to lead. Remember that while Republicans won the House majority in the 2010 election, voters didn't really like or trust them all that much. This won't help.

    A high profile swing and a miss on doing something big on deficit reduction will further sour the public on politicians and the federal government.

    A Washington Post/ABC News

    Read More »from The Fast Fix: Will debt ceiling fight leave voters more dissatisfied?
  • The Fast Fix: Grover Norquist’s effect on the debt ceiling

    Grover Norquist, the President of Americans for Tax Reform, wields a great deal of power in the debt ceiling debates. Despite not being a congressman, Norquist and his conservative tax pledge have had a huge influence on Republican actions in the fight.

    The most important person in the debt ceiling fight isn't a president or even a member of Congress.

    His name is Grover Norquist and he runs a group called Americans for Tax Reform.  And for years, Norquist has been extracting a pledge from members of Congress that they will not vote for any tax or revenue increases. Ever.

    Two hundred forty current House members -- the vast majority of them Republicans -- have signed Norquist's pledge. And their signatures are making it very difficult for Congress to cut a deal with the White House over the debt ceiling since Democrats insist spending cuts be paired with revenue increases.

    Who is Norquist? And how did he get into driver's seat on the debt debate? Norquist was politically active at a

    Read More »from The Fast Fix: Grover Norquist’s effect on the debt ceiling
  • The Fast Fix: Could Bachmann’s migraines end her campaign?

    In the past, Michele Bachmann's migraines have affected her availability to vote in the U.S. House, and even hospitalized her. Could they be strong enough to derail her presidential bid?

    Could migraines really affect Michele Bachmann's chances of becoming the Republican presidential nominee in 2012?

    That depends on the extent of the problem and whether there is any evidence that Bachmann's headaches have made it impossible for her to do the job in the past.

    Reports this week suggest that past migraines have forced Bachmann to miss votes in the U.S. House ... and have even sent her to the hospital.

    Seeking to stop the story in its tracks, Bachmann released a statement insisting that "my ability to function effectively has never been impeded by migraines and will not affect my ability to serve as commander in chief."

    History suggests that Bachmann's health issues likely won't derail her presidential aspirations. John McCain won the Republican nomination in 2008 despite battling skin

    Read More »from The Fast Fix: Could Bachmann’s migraines end her campaign?
  • The Fast Fix: PAC-ed to the gills

    Political action comittees, or PACs, are a driving force in modern elections, moving vast sums of money in support of candidates. Now Super PACs, created in the wake of a 2010 Supreme Court ruling, can raise unlimited funds from almost any source.

    Super PACs are the hottest thing in politics these days.

    There's one supporting Mitt Romney, one attacking Mitt Romney. Heck even Steven Colbert has one!

    So what is a super PAC exactly?

    At its root, it's a political action committee -- hence PAC -- that can raise and spend money on elections. There are tens of thousands of federal state and local PACS. What makes these PACS "super" is that they can raise unlimited amounts of money from almost any source.

    They came into existence after a landmark Supreme Court ruling in 2010 that did away with the ban on corporations and labor unions from spending unlimited sums directly advocating for the election or defeat of candidates.

    While Colbert's Super PAC is for fun, partisans on both sides of the

    Read More »from The Fast Fix: PAC-ed to the gills
  • The Fast Fix: Are there Tea Party Democrats?

    Michele Bachmann claims disaffected Democrats make up a part of the Tea Party movement, which is generally associated with the far right. Is there truth to her claim?

    Is the Tea Party a movement composed entirely of Republicans? Or is there such a thing as a Tea Party Democrat?

    Republicans have long argued that the tea party includes Americans of all different partisan stripes.  In announcing her presidential candidacy last month, Rep. Michele Bachmann said this about the Tea Party:

    "The liberals, and to be clear I'm NOT one of them, want you to think the Tea Party is the Right Wing of the Republican Party. But it's not. It's made up of disaffected Democrats, independents, people who've never been political a day in their life, libertarians, Republicans. We're people who simply want America back on the right track again."

    There's limited evidence that Bachmann is right.

    A 2010 Gallup poll showed that 15 percent of Democrats described themselves as Tea Party supporters although other

    Read More »from The Fast Fix: Are there Tea Party Democrats?
  • The Fast Fix: The first ‘first husband’?

    Political wives are the norm, but the presidential campaigns of Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin could possibly give the U.S. its first female president, and first "first husband."

    Political wives are a known commodity in presidential politics. But what about political husbands?

    The 2012 Republican presidential campaign could answer that question with the possibility that two high profile women -- Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin -- will run.

    Bachmann's husband, Marcus, is seen as her closest adviser. The two met in high school and he has been involved in every aspect of her political career and is a constant presence at her side as she ramps up her presidential bid.

    Bachmann is a psychologist who runs a counseling center in Minnesota. He and his wife have been married since the late 1970s and have five children together. The Bachmanns have also been foster parents to 23 other children.

    Palin's husband, Todd, is better known nationally. Commonly referred to as the "first dude" from

    Read More »from The Fast Fix: The first ‘first husband’?
  • The Fast Fix: Will we hit the debt ceiling?

    The federal government will default on its loans in 20 days unless politicians can reach across the aisle and come up with a deal to raise the debt ceiling, a tall order at a time when the two parties couldn't be further apart.

    The federal government will default on its loans in 20 days if the White House and congressional Republicans can't come up with a deal to raise the debt ceiling.

    And, the two sides haven't been further apart -- publicly at least -- for months.

    Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican who has established a reputation as someone willing to work across the partisan aisle, said this weekend that he'd bet against a deal getting done.

    While the situation is decidedly fluid, there's lots and lots of pessimism about the prospects for a deal. If no deal is reached, the political consequences of default are chaotic and potentially cataclysmic for both parties.

    President Obama was elected in large part on his promise to make the government work again. If he

    Read More »from The Fast Fix: Will we hit the debt ceiling?
  • The Fast Fix: Campaign Kerfluffles

    Every politician makes mistakes, but if you've made one during your presidential campaign you need to recover quickly to have a shot at office.

    To err is to human -- especially if you are running for president.

    Here's a look at the biggest problem each of the major candidates Republican candidates face in 2012 -- and how they can fix it.

    Michele Bachmann: Bachmann has a tendency to misspeak. Her assertion that the battle of Lexington and Concord was fought in New Hampshire is the best example of this problem. She needs stay on message and stay away from talking about topics she's less familiar with

    Jon Huntsman: Huntsman is running as the civility candidate in a Republican primary where voters seem to be looking for someone willing to take the fight to Obama. Huntsman has to prove to skeptical voters that he's ready for the fight -- and can win it.

    Mitt Romney: Romney has decided not to apologize for signing a health care law in Massachusetts that some Republicans compare to what

    Read More »from The Fast Fix: Campaign Kerfluffles

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