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

    Iraq war, Afghanistan wars horrified, looted the national treasury. GOP is so pathetic.

    February 16, 2014 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  2. Stuffitu

    6 million people have lost their health insurance due to Obozocare which they were paying for themselves and 3 million have signed fo health insurance subsidized or completely paid for by the 49% of us who actually work and pay taxes. Can any of you liber yards make some sort of sense of this?

    February 16, 2014 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  3. Rick McDaniel

    The real DC is far WORSE than what is shown in the TV show.

    February 16, 2014 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  4. OBummer

    Is this really news or am I reading The Enquirer?

    February 16, 2014 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |

    This is become silly ! all our elec do for years n0w ! Is throw jabs at each other . In the publics eyes they need to be forced to stay in that make up room !

    February 16, 2014 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  6. eddhur

    we need somebody like cruz i am sick of everything else

    February 16, 2014 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  7. conoclast

    And now the conservatives too are feeling 'unrepresented'? Will somebody please tell me just who IS being represented in Washington then? It certainly isn't the middle class!

    February 16, 2014 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  8. Greg

    We need to deport Cruz. A put McCain in a old folks home for Republicans.

    February 16, 2014 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  9. keven

    Cruz wants his little fascist faction to force their ideology on the rest of America. At least the democrats can deal with their own extreme members of their party. Republicans don't have the guts, though Boehner is finally stepping up.

    February 16, 2014 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  10. ZQ

    Sensationalized nonsense. 'The West Wing' based on research from past press secretaries has been endorsed by White House staffers and presidents alike as realistic. House of Cards is an enjoyable fiction, but if you think it is close to reality, you've allowed your cynicism to make you less intelligent.

    February 16, 2014 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  11. Juergen

    Ted Cruz is a buffoon who's dome nothing for America. He gets as much exposure as he does because of his constituents: they want to drop America in it's tracks.

    The walkout in October....headed up by Cruz? Two days ago, guess who was saying he had nothing to do with it? Cruz.

    He's a snake. Go to votesmart dot org to see how people vote and where their heads really are.

    February 16, 2014 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  12. Hal Smith

    Make no mistake! HOC is Spacey's way of showing America What actually goes on in Washington. NOTHING put positioning

    February 16, 2014 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  13. Glenda

    This entire administration is non functional and plain old junk from the neck up.

    February 16, 2014 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  14. Jim Shaffer

    CNN is becoming the National Inquirer of cable news. Sansationalism and comparisons to TV shows that many of us don't watch or care about is probably giving you ratings among some demos but not others. Good luck and see you around. You're losing some of us.

    February 16, 2014 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  15. marc

    Not sure the mainstream Repubs have been 2 and 2 together yet that Cruz means to sabotage their re-election efforts, get a tea partier to win the primaries, then lose the general election...hopefully lose for if the nation is to remain intact. The billionaire Koch brothers are obviously Cruz's handlers, now ordering the mainstream Repubs be eliminated in an attempt to further force their will on all Americans. The mainstream Repubs don't have much time to neutralize Cruz and the other Koch minions, so they'd better wake up quick and take action if they want any chance of holding onto their seats. Years of coddling to the likes of Palin, Bachmann, and Cruz have gotten them nowhere but a forced exit from DC.

    February 16, 2014 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  16. GOP Sux

    Cruz is the epitome of the slimeball politician, Snake Oil Salesman and Oilcan Harry all rolled into one. He is the slimiest that I've seen in a long time and a disgrace to the Nation. just pick him up and execute him...will do the USA a favor.

    February 16, 2014 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  17. CNeder

    DC mirrors House of Cards??? So Biden killed a reporter for asking tough questions? Perhaps about Benghazi?

    February 16, 2014 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  18. LOL

    Ted Cruz is a wacko extremist, not even an American by the way(Canadian), whom the Democrats planted in the Republican party to sabotage them.

    February 16, 2014 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  19. Jon Samuel

    Cruz is one of the few honest members of Congress that is telling the voters the truth - the nation's debt is built on a house of cards that will come falling down. It is an involuntary tax imposed on our children and grandchildren who will be aaddled with this enormous debt. Why? The leftists want to add more and more social programs to buy votes and consolidate their power

    February 16, 2014 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  20. ObamaCares!

    John McShame is a joke and ceased to be relevant decades ago....

    February 16, 2014 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  21. Greg

    Until some reporter gets pushed in front of a train to cover a murder it's not House of Cards.

    February 16, 2014 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  22. Avalon

    I enjoy watching House of Cards but I can say that in matter of fact, our Congress (both Democrats and Republicans) in reality, are displaying the sheer incompetence and immature than ever. Its embarrassing that they're our leaders and representing this nation in front of the whole world. They're joke.

    After all, House of Cards is just a TV show.

    February 16, 2014 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  23. skytag

    I like to think that once upon a time what mattered was what was best for the country and the American people. Today everything seems to be about political maneuvering, especially with Republicans. I left the Republican party during Bush's second term and nothing they've done in the intervening years has given me cause to rethink that decision.

    February 16, 2014 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  24. Mike Williams

    It's all a riddle within a mystery with an enigma…Edward House would be so proud...

    February 16, 2014 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  25. Pilgrim1

    The only thing Ted Cruz resembles is the back side of a pig....

    February 16, 2014 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
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