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

Stay Seated

Unlike Bill Bennett, I'm not a gambler. But if I were, I'd bet that Democrats aren't going to take back in the Senate in 2004. This prediction may sound pessimistic (and a little odd, coming from a liberal magazine). But Democrats should be realistic about their chances. And the truth is, knowing that there's little prospect of taking back either half of Congress in 2004 could actually be a blessing in disguise for the party: It could allow Democrats to be themselves during the next 18 months, freeing them to build a sustainable ideological vision for the party rather than triangulating furiously in the hope of picking up just one or two more seats. It could also portend good things for the eventual Democratic presidential nominee, given the electorate's recent tendency to favor divided government. With Congress locked in Republican hands, Democrats might be able to make the argument that sending George W. Bush back to the White House would give far-right conservatives heady momentum...

Jay School

Journalists are once again navel-gazing. The subject this time is the extraordinary series of lies told by Jayson Blair of The New York Times . The paper's reporters and editors engaged in a heated discussion last Wednesday, with one staffer telling Executive Editor Howell Raines, Managing Editor Gerald Boyd and Publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr., "I believe that at a deep level you guys have lost the confidence of many parts of the newsroom." Whether or not the Times ' bosses regain that trust, some troubling trends in journalism as a whole suggest that there could easily be another Jayson Blair. As Times editors noted in their self-defense, it's hard to stop a reporter who's bent on "professional self-destruction," although editors were certainly to blame for their lack of communication about Blair's problems and for promoting an error-prone reporter. But there's also a disturbing larger lesson here about the way the press operates. Another reporter could repeat Blair's professional...

Environmental Factors

President Bush learned again this week about the dangers of naming a former governor to a presidential administration -- especially when the administration is one that brooks little dissent. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Christie Todd Whitman, a former New Jersey governor, announced yesterday that she will resign her post next month. Meanwhile, another governor-turned-cabinet-secretary also seems to be pining for life as a state executive. Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson, who was governor of Wisconsin before joining Bush's team in 2001, recently said, "I think it's time for me to take a hiatus from government and do something else for a while." And he told, "I will someday run for elected office again in Wisconsin." When I interviewed Whitman in 2001 for The Hill , she told me that she didn't imagine running for public office again. ("The one thing I have decided is that from this office it would be very hard to run for another office...

Which Way?

If you need an explanation for why the Democrats can't score points against President Bush, look no further than a recent interview that House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) gave to the National Journal . In the interview, Pelosi essentially defends the president's war on Iraq and his national-security policy in general. Though she acknowledges that Democrats have some disagreements with the administration on homeland security, she says, "We don't have to be in disagreement with the president on national security." Asked what she would think if no weapons of mass destruction are found in Iraq, Pelosi replied, "People have lost their lives. I would not want to leave the impression that because we have not found weapons of mass destruction, it was not a worthy sacrifice. So, I don't place a high premium on it." Compare those remarks -- there are others she made that I'll get to in a minute -- with an interview Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) recently granted to The Washington Post...

Rock and a Hard Place

Don't envy Olympia Snowe. In the last two months, the Republican senator from Maine has been called to the White House for personal lobbying by the president and vice president, cornered by the House Ways and Means Committee chairman on the Senate floor, dubbed a "Daschle Republican" by The Wall Street Journal and denounced in a television ad as a "Franco-Republican" -- all for demanding that George W. Bush's tax cut be capped at $350 billion. Welcome to another episode in the life of a moderate Republican. Snowe, who has opposed the White House on many issues, is polite as she listens to other Republicans make their case about the tax cut. But the pressure tactics of this administration and its allies are more heavy-handed than previous administrations' were, designed to make lawmakers who disagree with them uncomfortable enough to change their minds. It's clear that Bush views moderates as disloyal ingrates who deserve to be punished and each political skirmish as a war. As White...