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. moment of truth

    This article is a prime example of what is wrong with American Media. A TV drama show compared/contrasted to the current political scape, as if it will shed influence?!

    February 16, 2014 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  2. Name

    Blah biddy blah blah blah. They're just as worthless at looking out for our best interests as frank underwood. See approval ratings.

    February 16, 2014 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  3. SBP

    The teaparty. LOL

    February 16, 2014 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  4. Alan S.

    I wish there was a Frank Underwood then we be talking about the Tea Party in the past tense.

    February 16, 2014 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  5. Mitchell Croom

    Is this seriously what professional journalism has become? Perhaps instead of making inane and condescending comparisons of our nation's leaders to television characters, you could actually report on what they're doing?

    February 16, 2014 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  6. james

    While obviously a made for TV drama, the sad reality (acknowledged by Mr. Spacey) is that House of Cards is a fairly faithful description of politics today. I would be very happy if each of the politicians named above would simply go away. They do our nation absolutely no good, and are fine examples of the narcissism that passes for political savvy these days.

    February 16, 2014 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  7. ac

    So long as the GOP is sunk at the ballot, all is well.

    February 16, 2014 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  8. gstlab3

    Yes it is a house of cards., cards built on beliefs in a false and corrupt system now exposed and it is just a matter of time before it fails

    February 16, 2014 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  9. Ross

    God Bless you Cruz, you are the best thing a Democrat like myself could have hoped for.
    Keep up the good work. I first thought Sarah Palin was a gift sent from God, but you have out done her.
    Just keep on looking out for the ultra wealthy, and screwing over the poor and the middle class, bashing gay people for falling in love, shutting down our government in a battle you couldn't win, costing your state hospitals 100s of millions of dollars by rejecting medicare expansion.
    You are truly a man of God, turning your back on the poor and the middle class, and looking out for yourself and your political ambitions.

    February 16, 2014 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  10. bdby

    America is so very tired of all these politicians “Postering” to make the other side look bad. I include both democrats and republicans in this accusation. Instead of taking care of the American folk by encouraging job growth you all all seem to be tripping over each other to block any type of progress at all.

    In America’s eyes right now you are all worthless and don’t deserve the pay and benefits you collect. How about you all resigning and allow some REAL AMERICANS in the House and Senate to take care of the people’s work. You should all be ashamed of yourselves but I guess that is not in your vocabulary.

    February 16, 2014 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  11. freedomringingnow

    Who cares as congress is broken. We need term limits to reduce politicians like Boehner and McConnell who are old and on the take from big oil, tobacco and whomever wants their votes.

    If we had term limits it would make it hard for them to be owned and not for the US people which they are elected.

    The current system is a joke and busted.

    February 16, 2014 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  12. just wondering

    golly it's Gomer Cruz for Prez i dent

    February 16, 2014 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  13. Dave

    To you elite: please know that 90% of your readers don't know or really care about the newest trendy show, House of Cards .

    February 16, 2014 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  14. longtooth

    Intrigue, power plays, people who are morally bankrupt attracted to positions of authority? The more things change, the more they remain the same.

    February 16, 2014 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  15. allenwoll

    Pols have NOTHING to do with "Real Life" ! !

    February 16, 2014 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  16. Richard Rivere

    McCain – ever the bitter old man showing more senility with his intemperate complaints re the president's failure to solve the mess in Syria. A few weeks back he railed about our failure to arm the opposition but we have since found out that the "opposition" consists of numerous splinter groups including some with Al Qaeda or radical Islamist persuasions. McCain
    has changed tactics and now just scatter-shoots his criticism but does so without any solutions. McCain – you are no longer presidential timiber – you never were and your bitterness over your loss is destroying you – so be it. Go on with your bluster – it is ruining whatever image you had. The Syrian mess is just that – a mess – the solution will not come from a bitter political loser.

    February 16, 2014 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  17. RLC

    Neither Party wants to address the debt. There is no leadership or courage in Washington. Another sad day for America. Why is McCain trying to fight another war? Why is Kerry looking for a political solution? We need a foreign policy that does not meddle in every global problem, especially in places that have no interest in a solution. Monica is relevant because it demonstrated Hillary is an enabler and merely sucked it up because she was more interested in power than the integrity that must go with power. The country is ready for a new generation of leaders.

    February 16, 2014 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  18. GotRocks

    The PROBLEM with Ted Cruz is that "House of Cards" hasn't been able to come up with a politician that matches him – for that would take someone that is PRINCIPLED – and good luck with that.

    February 16, 2014 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  19. OBeezy

    Did you honestly just compare Mitch McConnell to Frank Underwood? Clearly you don't actually watch the show, because Mitch McConnell is easily one of the most gaffe prone members of Congress, and Frank Underwood ascended to VP in the span of a year, ousting more people along the way than the number of votes McConnell has ever whipped in his entire career. If you're going to try so desperately to pose yourself as cool or pop-culture savvy, at least watch a few episodes of what you're referencing. PS. Writing BTW makes you look incredibly amateurish, not hip, or young, or relevant.

    February 16, 2014 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  20. Devon

    Wow, there's a lot of Opinion in this story. But presented as news.

    February 16, 2014 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  21. JOSH

    Hillary is a devious amoral woman. Talk about income inequality. She and Bill have made over $100 million dollars and have not produced a thing.

    February 16, 2014 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
  22. dkc_2001

    It's a house of cards all right... all jokers, and a few cards short of a full deck.

    February 16, 2014 11:55 pm at 11:55 pm |
  23. Just a thought

    House of cards...... I do not believe it is fictional writings

    February 17, 2014 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  24. RadioUranus

    Congress and the lobbyists are merely vermin feeding on the rotting carcass of what once was America.

    February 17, 2014 12:29 am at 12:29 am |
  25. beechwwod1

    Wow, it so realistic, it as if they could sue Congress to stop imitating eerie....

    February 17, 2014 12:40 am at 12:40 am |
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