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

Spreading Democracy

It's a sad state of affairs when a lawmaker has to introduce a bill prohibiting other lawmakers from hacking into one another's computer files, bribing other members on the House floor, or calling the Capitol police to have another member removed from a room. But that's exactly what legislation being introduced this week by Rep. Carolyn Maloney does. While each of these examples would seem to violate standards of common decency, they're all things Republicans have done since taking control of the House in 1995. Maloney's bill -- called the Restoring Democracy to the U.S. Congress Act of 2004 -- isn't the only one. Rep. Martin Meehan is proposing legislation -- the Democracy in Congress Act of 2004 -- to allow votes to stay open for a maximum of 30 minutes. (Maloney's bill calls for a 17-minute time limit; the only restriction now is that votes are open for a minimum of 15 minutes.) Republicans have abused this rule repeatedly, most recently on July 8, when they held open a vote for 38...

Games Congresspeople Play

With about 30 legislative days left this year, Republicans have decided to spend a good part of that time focusing on the issue of gay marriage. Yes, they still haven't passed a budget, most of the appropriations bills, or legislation like class-action reform (which went on life support recently) but no matter -- this year is about politicking, not governing. The Senate will debate and likely hold a vote on a constitutional ban on gay marriage this week. Because it's a constitutional amendment, the bill needs the support of two-thirds of the Senate to pass. In such a partisan chamber, it's hard to get a simple majority to pass a bill these days. Republicans acknowledge that the bill doesn't have enough votes, but they're going ahead with it anyway to score political points. As Sen. Dick Durbin noted on the Senate floor on July 7, the GOP's plan amounts to a “political grandstand. ... It really demeans this great Constitution we have sworn to uphold that we are playing games” by...

"Little Tent" Republicans

Conservative Republicans continue to show that it's their way or the highway when it comes to Washington. Illinois Republican Sen. Peter Fitzgerald told The Chicago Tribune recently that Republicans "sabotage[d]" the campaign of Senate candidate Jack Ryan, who had to pull out of the race after embarrassing disclosures from his divorce records. "Why fight a two-front war -- against the Democrats on one hand, his own party leadership on the other hand?" Fitzgerald asked. Considering the trouble Republicans had in coming up with a Republican candidate before Ryan -- and the fact that more than a week has passed with no replacement -- it looks like Democrat Barack Obama is almost a sure bet to pick up the seat this fall. Another example of the GOP's disdain for its own comes from Rep. Wayne Gilchrest of Maryland, who told CongressDaily recently that he's never had any one-on-one time with President Bush. But he said he's learned that by not letting go of the president's hand immediately...

24-Hour Party People

Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle made a revolutionary speech on the Senate floor last week. He didn't call on the president to resign or tell a senator to “fuck yourself,” as Vice President Dick Cheney suggested to Patrick Leahy on June 22. Instead, Daschle said senators should rise above their partisan differences and work together. Daschle even outlined steps that Senate Democrats should take next year if they regain control of the chamber. They would, he said, deal in good faith with the executive branch; do the Senate's job with respect to the budget, oversight, and judicial nominees; respect the minority party; and “end the cycle of partisan retaliation.” He also said senators should spend more time with one another so that they can follow the example of former President Ronald Reagan and erstwhile House Speaker Tip O'Neill, who put aside their political differences and were friends after 6 p.m. While Daschle's ideas would, if actualized, bring back some comity to the Senate,...

Never Mind Bob Bullock

Throughout the 2000 presidential campaign, George W. Bush invoked the name of Bob Bullock, the late Democratic lieutenant governor of Texas. Bush said his relationship with Bullock represented the spirit of bipartisanship that had ruled Texas during his years as governor. In his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention in Philadelphia, Bush called the evening "bittersweet" because Bullock, "my great friend," was not there. I couldn't find any such Bullock references this year by doing a quick keyword search on President Bush's reelection website. But there's another Democrat that Bush is calling "my friend" these days: Sen. Zell Miller of Georgia. Miller was at the launch of Democrats for Bush in March and later wrote fellow Democratic Bush supporters that "you have demonstrated true courage and conviction to values and principles over partisanship." And in remarks last month to the Democratic Leadership Council, Miller said Kerry's "extreme positions are totally out of...