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

Rule Breaker

When most people don't like the rules of a particular game, they either complain that the rules are unfair or they quit the game altogether. Not President Bush. He just changes the rules. Consider a few recent examples. Bush and White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer didn't like some of the recent questions and comments coming from veteran White House reporter Helen Thomas. (She's called Bush "the worst president in all of American history.") As the dean of the White House press corps, Thomas, by tradition, gets to ask the first question at each press conference. But at his recent press conference on Iraq, Bush ignored Thomas completely, thus violating an unwritten rule that had been followed by every recent president, including his father. Then there's the tussle over judicial nominee Miguel Estrada. Bush doesn't like the fact that Democratic senators are filibustering Estrada's nomination. So he suggested changing the rules to "ensure timely up-or-down votes on judicial...

Primary Focus

When Bill Clinton left the White House in 2001, a lot of people predicted that he would have a hard time making the transition from being the most powerful man in the world to being a former most powerful man in the world. They were right. Clinton may have faded from view right after George W. Bush took office, but now he's re-emerging on the national scene. (So is his wife, but I'll get to that in a minute.) He was recently interviewed at length by James Fallows in The Atlantic Monthly and appeared on Larry King Live and the Today Show , among other outlets. He and his 1996 opponent, former Sen. Bob Dole (R-Kan.), debuted their point-counterpoint segment on 60 Minutes last night. The decision by 60 Minutes producers to run the Clinton-Dole segment is a strange one. It's not strange for Clinton and Dole, who stand to make a small fortune for their spots. But will viewers really care what they have to say about issues? The 1996 campaign wasn't exactly a nail-biter, nor were the Clinton...

Fast Runner

Things seem to be going well for Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.). The presidential candidate has returned to the campaign trail after undergoing surgery for prostate cancer. He's weathered his first crisis by straightforwardly addressing questions about his health scare and whether he lied to a reporter about it. And he's been making fundraising forays in states -- such as California and New York -- that are rich in both cash and electoral votes. Kerry has also been the subject of numerous recent profiles, in magazines from Vogue to Time to the Prospect . For the moment at least, there seems to be little disagreement among pundits and journalists that Kerry is the front-runner for the 2004 nomination. But this news comes with a worrisome question for the Kerry campaign: Is its candidate peaking too early? After all, the Democratic primaries and caucuses aren't for another 10 months, and the election is more than a year and a half away. The puff pieces are no doubt going to be replaced by...

Color Blind

UPDATE [3:30 p.m.]: It looks like Attorney General John Ashcroft misled us again. Although he said Monday that the terrorism-alert system would stay at "orange" for the foreseeable future, the government today downgraded the alert level to "yellow." You might think this calls into question the thesis of the following article, which predicts that a code stuck at orange forever would render the terrorism-alert system irrelevant. The fact, however, that the color-code change seems to be getting so little coverage validates our point -- sort of. This code is one people aren't paying much attention to, nor should they be. When Attorney General John Ashcroft announced Monday that he has no plans to lower the nation's alert level, there was barely a reaction. It has been almost three weeks since the alert color jumped from yellow to orange -- and in that time, Americans have grown accustomed to the idea that we are at a "high risk" for terrorist attack. On Monday, Ashcroft didn't give any...

Shortsighted Longshots

Every election cycle has them: those pesky people who are determined to run for president no matter what the polls or more rational people say. Even though it's only February, some of these Steve Forbes-esque candidates have already made their way into the race. This week, Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) and former Sen. Carol Moseley-Braun (D-Ill.) announced their intentions to run. Neither, of course, stands much chance of winning, and while they might bring new ideas and energy to the party, their candidacies will also hurt the eventual nominee. Kucinich, a four-term congressman from Cleveland, is making the central issue of his campaign the need to stop a probable war with Iraq. To be sure, this is an issue that needs more attention from the Democratic Party. Former Gov. Howard Dean (D-Vt.) -- until now probably the most anti-war candidate -- never voted on the resolution authorizing force against Iraq; and of the six candidates who now serve in Congress, Kucinich is the only...

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