Sunday chatter:  D.C. drama is a 'House of Cards'
February 16th, 2014
06:36 PM ET
9 years ago

Sunday chatter: D.C. drama is a 'House of Cards'

(CNN) - What do Hillary Clinton, John Boehner, Mitch McConnell and Ted Cruz have in common? It’s the characteristics they share with “House of Cards” characters.

They were also the main topics on the Sunday talk shows.

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And with the debut of the second season of “House of Cards,” the Netflix series that skewers Washington intrigue, #thistown is talking about it along with Washington’s real political drama.

Here’s what else was the talk of Sunday:

Ted Cruz

After Republican Sen. Ted Cruz forced his Republican colleagues to vote on the debt ceiling this past week, Sen. John McCain of Arizona said on CNN’s “State of the Union” that he “respect(s) … his rights” but said he had “no plan.”

Cruz, a thorn in the side of mainstream Republicans and beloved by Democrats because of his watch-out-for-No. 1 mentality that burns his partymates, gained no friends last week with his latest stunt: blocking the debt ceiling bill that most of the rest of his party just wanted to put behind them.

Republican strategist Kevin Madden, also on “State of the Union,” said that “a lot of the usual tools that you have at your disposal as majority leader to punish somebody like Cruz is not there because Ted Cruz … doesn’t care about moving up in the Senate.”

Texas tea partier wants GOP on Cruz control

“But is (retribution) real - or is it forced? I mean in the - in ‘House of Cards,’ you do this to the leader or you end up in the river or in the Dumpster,” John King, CNN’s “Inside Politics,” said.

Mitch McConnell

Cruz screwed up McConnell’s plan to force the Democrats to pass the measure to lift the tapped debt limit, a ploy to protect Republicans from having to vote for it.

But Cruz blocked McConnell, forcing Republicans to vote for the measure. McConnell, whose political savviness resembles #HOC’s top congressman, Frank Underwood, minus the cold-hearted murders, wasn’t too happy, to say the least. Washington Post reporter Robert Costa said on “Inside Politics” that McConnell was "furious" at Cruz for forcing a 60-vote threshold to raise the debt ceiling.

McCain told CNN’s Candy Crowley he “appreciates” McConnell’s vote, despite potential political fallout in his re-election bid and primary race against conservative challenger Matt Bevin.

Madden, the Republican strategist, said McConnell “will take a little bit of a hit” at home in his re-election bid, “but he’s still in a much stronger position because we’ll have the debt ceiling showdown off the table.”

Panel: Cruz creating headaches for McConnell, GOP

BTW, McConnell said at a political event over the weekend that he voted to lift the debt limit “to protect the country.”

Former South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint, who is now president of the Heritage Foundation, said conservatives “don’t feel we’re well represented in Washington.”

John Boehner

DeMint was talking about Boehner, too.

But others are praising the House speaker for his play this past week regarding the debt limit.

After battling – and giving in – to the conservative core of his House Republican caucus multiples times, including the time when it led to the 16-day government shutdown, Boehner shocked political observers by voting on a “clean” debt limit bill that doesn’t have any quid pro quos attached.

“He had a good week,” Democratic strategist Margie Omero said on “State of the Union.”

Madden agreed: “He’s trying to get his members to fight the smart fight,” Madden said, which is not the debt limit but Obamacare. “He’s in a much better place” now that the debt limit has been lifted and Republicans don’t have to address it again before the 2014 elections.

CNN National Political Reporter Peter Hamby said on “Inside Politics” that “Boehner thinks that what more can he do with this group of people in the House and that's why he just thinks he's done the right thing for the party, averted fiscal disaster and helped the party in the midterm elections. I think talking to people around him and people in leadership, he just can't deal with this small segment of the party.”

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton all the time. Yep. That pretty much sums it up.

As newly unearthed documents reveal some of Clinton’s thoughts regarding her husband’s affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky, the Clinton years are back in the news.

Oh, and CNN reports that the reason Clinton wanted to keep such detailed notes on her time as first lady was for “revenge.” That’s very Underwood of her, but before Underwood or Netflix even existed.

Omera, the Democratic strategist, said, “I don’t think there is a single undecided or undecided-leaning voter out there who is going to change their mind based on these papers.”

Omera noted that if Republicans hound Clinton for things that happened a long time ago, the throwback will remind people that the Republican Party is a “party of the past.”

Madden, once again, agreed with Omera. “The way to beat Hillary Clinton in 2016 if there is a Hillary Clinton candidacy is not through Arkansas and the past. It is a litigation of the future of this country,” he said.

“Does America want somebody associated with Washington … who’s been here for 25 years? Do we want an Obama third term?” Madden added.

Inside Politics: Hillary Clinton's telling words about critics, then and now

And Mitt Romney added his two cents – because he was asked on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

"I don't think Bill Clinton is as relevant as Hillary Clinton if she decides to run for president," Romney said, referring to his affair with Lewinsky.

“I don't think that's Hillary Clinton's to explain. She has her own record, her own vision for where she would take the country,” Romney said.


Unfortunately for McCain, he has been sounding the alarm on Syria since that country’s civil war began nearly three years ago, but the Obama administration, which calls the shots, doesn’t seem to be listening.

He called the American role an “abysmal failure and a disgraceful one.”

He said he doesn’t want to put American service members on the ground there, “but to not revisit other options, which are viable – I think is the only thing we can do,” he said on “State of the Union.”

McCain: Still “viable” option in Syria

A second round of peace talks wrapped up in Geneva on Saturday with little progress toward ending Syria's civil war, and nearly 5,000 people have died in there in the past three weeks, marking the most violent stretch yet.

On the same day McCain expressed his dismay, Secretary of State John Kerry said the U.S. is committed to finding a “political solution” in Syria.

House of Cards

Season 2 is out, and it is intense. ABC’s “This Week” interviewed Kevin Spacey, who plays the ruthless main character, House Majority Whip Frank Underwood. The actor said “House of Cards” is not far from the real Washington of political dealmaking, backstabbing and win-at-all-costs machinations.

Spacey said that when he studied for the role by following House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, he was taken aback at how hard it was to corral the caucus.

Spacey said McCarthy said, "'If I could kill just one member of Congress, I'd never have to worry about another vote.'"

Filed under: Hillary Clinton • Matt Bevin • Mitch McConnell • Ted Cruz
soundoff (80 Responses)
  1. ?

    that guy killed a dog at the beginning. cold. are we supposed to get the idea that they are cold hearted killers with no conscience?

    February 17, 2014 01:30 am at 1:30 am |
  2. mickinmd

    The actor said “House of Cards” is not far from the real Washington of political dealmaking, backstabbing and win-at-all-costs machinations.

    The series is based on the BBC Series, "House of Cards," where the central character rises to Prime Minister. The killings are all rationalized as for the good of the country!

    February 17, 2014 01:55 am at 1:55 am |
  3. Big D

    And CNN is Zoe Barnes

    February 17, 2014 02:22 am at 2:22 am |
  4. Janet Nappy Lotto

    Q: How is "House of Cards" like the real DC?
    A: All fake and make-believe

    2016: Dem or Rep... We all lose

    February 17, 2014 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  5. Randyk

    How many times does John McCain need to be horribly wrong about foreign policy before we stop pretending he's a foreign policy expert who must be consulted on everything? Surviving the horrors of the Hanoi Hilton shows his personal courage and toughness. It doesn't actually make someone a foreign policy genius. For that we should look at his record in office and he's been wrong on just about everything for years and years, especially Iraq and the rest of the Middle East. Why must it be headlines when he opens his mouth about Syria?

    Maybe things would go better if we learned to value the opinions of people who are shown to be right about things more often.

    February 17, 2014 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
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