Mary Lynn Jones

Mary Lynn F. Jones is a Washington-based writer. Her work has also appeared in The Chicago Tribune, National
Journal
, 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

Local Zero

One of the few bright spots in the recent $350 billion tax cut is that $20 billion was given to states to help them face budget shortfalls. Unfortunately, a similar provision to help the nation's cities and counties didn't end up in the legislation that President George W. Bush signed. This omission is just another example of Bush's skillful use of political posturing. He gets the credit for giving individuals -- especially wealthy ones likely to donate to his campaign -- tax cuts and doesn't take the blame for decisions by states and local governments to cut services, raise taxes or both. Tom Goodman, a spokesman for the National Association of Counties, recently told The Hill that 70 percent of counties are dealing with budget shortfalls. Some counties have even dropped their memberships with the organization because of financial woes. That's pretty significant when you consider that memberships start at just $360 per year and that the organization lobbies the federal government for...

Hidden Treasure

The impressive Bush fund-raising machine lived up to expectations last week when Federal Election Commission (FEC) documents showed that the president had raked in $34.4 million in the second quarter of this year. But there were some hopeful signs for Democrats, too, in the numbers behind the numbers. Sure, President Bush raised more than all nine Democratic hopefuls combined. About 105,000 donors gave the president money; 70 percent of those donations were worth $2,000 each, according to The Washington Post . But almost as many people gave to the campaigns of two Democratic candidates -- former Gov. Howard Dean (D-Vt.), who raised $7.6 million with about 73,000 people supporting him, and Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), who took in $5.9 million from 23,000 people. About 60 percent of Dean's contributions amounted to $250 or less per person, which means the contributions will be eligible for federal matching funds. And because Dean's contributions came in smaller amounts, his donors won't...

New Math

For a while, the Democrats' entire election strategy for 2004 seemed to be: Wait for George W. Bush to make a mistake, seize upon it and ride it to victory. The president's handling of the Iraq War aftermath may be just the mistake they were waiting for. According to a new Washington Post -ABC News poll, 40 percent of Americans now feel that the war was not worth fighting (compared with 27 percent in late April). A roughly equal number, 41 percent, disapprove of the way Bush is currently handling Iraq. The situation in Iraq is affecting Bush's overall approval rating, too, which now stands at 59 percent. Of course, 59 percent is still a comfortably high number for Bush, and more than he needs to win re-election next year. But it's not the 68 percent rating he enjoyed a few weeks ago. With the number of U.S. casualties in Iraq growing almost daily, 52 percent of Americans believe the number of U.S. deaths is unacceptable. And Bush's approval rating is likely to fall even farther as...

Mission: Imperfect

According to President Bush, the war with Iraq has been over for more than two months. But the dozens of families of soldiers killed since May 1 would likely tell you a different story. Three more soldiers were killed over Independence Day weekend, including one who was buying a soda at a student center. On Sunday, The Washington Post published photos of the soldiers who have died since the Iraq War "ended." Many of them were in their early-to-mid-20s. Meanwhile, those Iraqis aligning themselves with the United States also face danger: Last week, seven U.S.-trained Iraqi police officers were killed in an Iraqi-led attack. Saddam Hussein, wherever he is, is taking credit for some of these attacks, according to an audiotape released last week by al-Jazeera, the Arab satellite television channel. Because we can't seem to find the alleged weapons of mass destruction, attempting to find Hussein would be a logical next step. As one Iraqi citizen told The Washington Post , "When the American...

Conjuring Camelot

In speeches by many of the Democratic presidential hopefuls, two names keep coming up: George W. Bush and John F. Kennedy. It's no surprise that the candidates keep mentioning Bush -- after all, he's the man they're trying to defeat. But why are the Democrats invoking the name of a president who was killed 40 years ago? It's partly because Kennedy still enjoys high poll numbers, said Stephen Hess, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. The Camelot era still evokes a feeling of nostalgia from baby boomers, who came of age during the early 1960s. And more recent Democratic presidents -- namely Lyndon B. Johnson, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton -- are saddled with more negatives than Kennedy. "If you're going to recall a name to rally the troops, what better name can you use?" Hess asked. So what are the candidates saying about Kennedy? Here are a few examples from the last two weeks: Former Gov. Howard Dean (D-Vt.): "Some in the Democratic Party claim that a candidate who...

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