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

Money Matters

Washington has been abuzz the last few days about the $7.4 million Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) raised for his presidential campaign in the first three months of this year. Granted, it's an impressive number and a good start to the campaign. But it's nowhere close to the amount of money the party's eventual nominee will need to raise to have a good chance of defeating President Bush next year. Consider this: At the same point in the 1999 campaign, Vice President Al Gore had raised $8.9 million. That's $1.5 million more than Edwards has now. Gore was seen as the front-runner, and he was unlikely to have much primary competition, which meant that he didn't face the prospect of having to spend his money early in the campaign. Compare that with this campaign: Edwards isn't considered the front-runner (a recent Franklin Pierce College poll of likely New Hampshire Democratic voters showed him with just 2 percent support) and there are 10 candidates who have expressed interest in running...

Channel Changer

There was good news last week, and it came from an unusual source: CNN. After months of staffing up on such big names as Aaron Brown, Paula Zahn and Connie Chung, CNN decided to let Chung go. And television news will be the better for it. Chung -- whose big accomplishments on other networks have included prompting then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich's (R-Ga.) mom to call Hillary Clinton a bitch and then-Rep. Gary Condit (D-Calif.) to deny that he killed intern Chandra Levy -- applied that same tabloid approach to her CNN show, which lasted less than a year. Over the last few months, she's devoted airtime to such true-crime subjects as Robert Blake, Laci Peterson and Clara Harris, leaving Brown and Larry King to spend more time on actual issues of importance -- like Iraq. My favorite example of a typically bad Chung interview came on Jan. 3, when she talked to the leader of the Raelian cult about a possible cloned human baby. As she introduced him, she said, "You want to be called your...

Senator's Senator

There have been few great public intellectuals in the Senate in recent years. The chamber has more than its share of show horses, of course. It has workhorses, too. But very few men and women stand out for their ability to shape and move the nation's debate forward based on intellectual merit. Former Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-N.Y.) was one of those senators. Moynihan died at the age of 76 yesterday, and his colleagues wasted no time in praising him. "Whenever he spoke I listened closely, because I knew I would always learn something from him," said Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.). "He was a true renaissance man who put action behind his diverse interests, from protecting the sanctity of the American family to preserving historic art and architecture to restoring Pennsylvania Avenue as America's 'main street' to saving Social Security for future generations." Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), who worked with Moynihan on the Senate Finance Committee, called him "a giant among political...

The Republican Railroad

In July of 1994, just four months before Republicans swept the elections and won control of Congress, then-Rep. Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) blasted the Democratic leadership for trying to ram health-care reform legislation through Congress without giving the minority party a chance to be heard. "It is fundamentally wrong for America," he said, "for people who are supposed to be elected every two years, who are supposed to be sensitive to the concerns and the needs of the American people, to deliberately and ruthlessly run roughshod over the American people." But in the eight years that House Republicans have been in the majority, they've perfected the methods they once denounced -- and backed off promises to improve the system. On bills such as welfare reform, the extension of unemployment benefits and the recent omnibus appropriations, Republicans have stopped Democrats from offering amendments on the floor and, in effect, made the House a one-horse show. "They've really shut down the...

Oil Slick

Buried under all the war coverage last week was a piece of news damaging to the Bush administration's domestic agenda: Its plan to drill for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) was defeated narrowly in the Senate. ANWR drilling, of course, was the central plank of George W. Bush's energy platform. He'd even urged Congress to pass it on the basis of national security, the idea being that if we drilled for oil at home, we wouldn't need to import so much from abroad and thus be vulnerable to the whims of dictators such as Saddam Hussein. The defeat of ANWR should have garnered more news coverage because it's the most promising sign yet for Democrats that Bush is vulnerable in 2004. For the last several years, ANWR has been one of the most contentious and high-profile issues in the Senate. Energy groups have spent millions of dollars lobbying on it. And the administration has invested considerable political capital on ANWR, with Vice President Dick Cheney reaching out to...

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