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

Office Work

Among the most vulnerable senators up for re-election next year are a party leader, a presidential candidate and a rookie who got the job because of her dad. But despite the likelihood of a few hotly contested races, 2004 is actually shaping up to be a good year for Senate incumbents. According to the polls and fundraising numbers, for the first three months of this year, most of the 32 incumbents seeking re-election are enjoying considerable leads over their potential or announced challengers. Senators such as Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) (both of whom would be considered vulnerable if the other party could field strong candidates against them) and others such as John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) (both of whom will probably face primary challenges) all seem likely to cruise to another term. In 2000, six senators (five Republicans and one Democrat) lost re-election bids; in 2002, four did (two Democrats and two Republicans). So why does 2004 look...

Party Poopers

It's been fun to watch Republican Party leaders on Capitol Hill snarl at one another the last few weeks. House Republicans are livid at their Senate colleagues, especially Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) and Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), for approving a $350 billion tax cut. "It's time that Mr. Frist gets his chamber in order," one House aide told The Hill . Senate Republicans, meanwhile, feel their House counterparts, who passed a $550 billion tax cut, don't understand how hard it is to govern in a chamber where one senator can hold up debate and where their party has a mere two-vote majority. Ah, the perils of united government. After an election year in which Republicans blamed the "Daschle Democrats" for not allowing the GOP to enact legislation -- and told voters that things would be better if only they controlled both the House and Senate -- the GOP is proving that one-party control doesn't mean laws will be made quickly and neatly. It's a lesson that...

No News Is Good News

In mid-March, Washington Post reporter Jonathan Weisman made a startling confession on media columnist Jim Romenesko's Web site. Weisman acknowledged that he changed a quote in a story about R. Glenn Hubbard, President Bush's departing economic adviser, after receiving pressure from the White House. He admitted that the switch violated journalistic ethics, but he also said reporters need to "reconsider the way we cover the White House." Few journalists seem likely to heed Weisman's call, however. After eight years of bludgeoning the Clinton White House, reporters have been remarkably tame in going after George W. Bush. The trend of positive coverage has only increased leading up to and during the war against Iraq. And some news outlets have even taken a direct role in promoting the president's positions. In one of the most egregious examples, Clear Channel Worldwide Inc., which owns more than 1,200 stations in the United States, organized pro-war rallies in Atlanta, Cleveland, San...

Empty Promises

One of the more useless means of measuring support for the presidential candidates is now underway: the race among candidates to win endorsements from members of Congress. It carries little if any weight with voters -- most of whom probably don't even know it's happening -- and doesn't mean much for the candidates or the lawmakers who endorse them. Still, it's a way to feed the press beast, which is always looking for new information about the men (and woman) who want to win the nation's highest office. On Thursday Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.) held a press conference to announce that 10 House members have endorsed him. The comments made by the lawmakers were typically bland. Rep. Dennis Cardoza (D-Calif.), a first-term congressman, said: "I am supporting Joe Lieberman for president because he is a man of high integrity and strong morals. Not only did he take the time to come to my district, he truly listened to my constituents and quickly understood the needs of the central valley."...

Lightning Twice

George W. Bush's presidency is looking a lot like his father's. The same people serve in his administration, another economic downturn has hit American workers and Iraq is again the target of a U.S. military campaign. Add another similarity to the list: George W. Bush is likely to be a one-term president, just like his father. That's because his high public-approval ratings are tied to his role as commander in chief, not to how he's performing the rest of his presidential duties. A CNN/ USA Today /Gallup Poll in March contained some revealing evidence of this. Bush's approval ratings on his handling of Iraq and foreign affairs are high, at 71 percent and 64 percent, respectively. But his poll numbers on the economy, taxes and the federal budget deficit all hover around 50 percent. What's particularly telling is that while his foreign-policy approval ratings have jumped in the last couple of months (approval of his handling of Iraq was just 54 percent in early February, before the war...

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