Mary Lynn Jones

Mary Lynn F. Jones is a Washington-based writer. Her work has also appeared in The Chicago Tribune, National
, the Washington Business Journal and Barron's Guide to the Most
Competitive Colleges
. A native Washingtonian, Jones has been a regular
political commentator for WMAL-AM and has made numerous radio and television
appearances, including on National Public Radio's "Talk of the Nation"
and Fox
News Channel. Mary Lynn received her master's degree in journalism from
Columbia University and her bachelor's degree from Wellesley College.

Recent Articles

Florida Key

Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) announced yesterday that he will not seek re-election to the Senate, and it was probably the best decision -- for Edwards and, more importantly, for the Democratic Party. Even if Edwards had decided to campaign for a second term, his seat would have been a toss-up. At least now the party can nominate someone who will be able to focus on keeping one of North Carolina's seats in the Democratic column. But if opting against re-election was the right call for Edwards, it would be the wrong call for another presidential contender who finds himself trailing badly in national polls: Sen. Bob Graham (D-Fla.). Graham has yet to announce whether he will campaign for another term in Florida. Democrats everywhere should be hoping he does. Graham's decision is important because he is a political institution in Florida, an otherwise decidedly centrist state. Should he drop out of the Senate race, his seat would clearly become up for grabs. But because Graham's personal...

Party Favor

Based on the reaction presidential hopeful Howard Dean drew from the approximately 4,000 people at his Saturday speech in Falls Church, Va., there's a lot of anger here -- as elsewhere -- about the way the Bush administration is running the country. After Dean counted off the reasons Bush cited for going to war in Iraq, the crowd shouted, "Liar!" (with reference to Bush, of course, not Dean). Dean repeatedly referred to "Ken Lay and the boys." He told those assembled that "this time the person with the most votes" will win the White House. And he brought up GOP names sure to rile Democrats: Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Penn.), Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) and Attorney General John Ashcroft. Dean also hit all the right notes in reaching out to the Democratic base. He talked about the importance of the minimum wage, education spending, health care, the environment and a foreign policy based on something other than "petulance." He said he wants...

Political Muscle

There's no doubt which movie star is dominating attention this summer. It's not Tobey Maguire of Seabiscuit , Will Smith of Bad Boys 2 or Colin Farrell of S.W.A.T. No, it's Arnold Schwarzenegger. I'm not talking about his turn in Terminator 3: The Rise of the Machines ; I'm talking, of course, about his new role as a would-be politician. After he broke the news Wednesday on The Tonight Show , Schwarzenegger was everywhere. On Friday alone he appeared on five network morning news programs. He even kicked the Kobe Bryant story off cable television (thank goodness someone did). Compare that with Al Gore. I wanted to watch the former vice president speak on Thursday about President George W. Bush's poor job of handling foreign policy, the economy and the environment. But I couldn't find it anywhere. CNN showed a quick clip, then -- before going back to covering regular news -- said it would break in if Gore said something interesting. The paltry bit of coverage Gore received was only...

Secret Service

When President Bush called a press conference last week, a few notable things happened. The main development, of course, was that he finally took responsibility for those 16 words in his State of the Union address -- the ones claiming that Iraq was trying to buy uranium from Niger. It was about time. CIA Director George Tenet had already fallen on his sword for Bush. National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice's reputation also had come under fire. But after White House aides kept shifting the blame around on Iraq -- much as they'd changed the rationale for why we went to war in the first place -- Bush made it sound like there was never any question as to who made the decision to include the Niger charge. "I take personal responsibility for everything I say, of course," Bush said, six months after he made the original claim. "I also take responsibility for making decisions on war and peace. And I analyzed a thorough body of intelligence -- good, solid, sound intelligence -- that led me...

Gag Order

House Republicans did something highly unusual last week -- they voted against a position held by the Bush administration. By a vote of 400 to 21, the House passed a bill that would effectively strike down the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) decision allowing media companies to expand their reach. It was a slap in the face to FCC Chairman Michael Powell and to news organizations that had spent millions of dollars lobbying on the issue. As B. Robert Okun of NBC told The Washington Post , "The backdoor efforts . . . to cut off funds to the FCC needed to implement these rules is very disappointing to us." No doubt. In the months leading up to the FCC's 3-2 party-line vote on June 2, the leaders of several major news companies -- including News Corp.'s Rupert Murdoch, Viacom's Mel Karmazin and NBC's Robert Wright -- met with commissioners and their aides. Washington superlobbyists such as Richard Wiley, a former FCC chairman himself, also tried to sway the panel's vote. And when...