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

Budget Busters

House Republican leaders twisted the rules -- and some arms -- to get their way last week on Capitol Hill.

Democrats had proposed a motion instructing budget conferees to adopt pay-as-you-go rules, which would have required lawmakers to make budget cuts to offset any additional spending increases or tax cuts, something the Senate had already approved. Top House Republicans, though, opposed such offsets for tax cuts, and President Bush apparently shares that view.

Chamber Potshots

Throughout the past week, members of the Bush administration and other top Republicans have engaged in a game of career assassination against Richard Clarke, the former counter-terrorism chief who has criticized President Bush for being disengaged in the fight against al-Qaeda. They've noted that Clarke was the only constant during the ten years of al-Qaeda attacks against U.S. interests that began in 1993. Conservative commentators Bob Novak and Ann Coulter even suggested that Clarke made his remarks because he's ticked that Condoleezza Rice, an African-American woman, got the job he wanted.

Friendly Fire

Over the last few decades, presidents have used many methods of influence to get lawmakers to pass pieces of legislation. They've personally called members of Congress or invited them for meetings at the White House. They've worked with Hill leaders to
gain votes by making concessions on other, less-prized legislation. And they've cajoled members with charm or, in the case of Lyndon Johnson's famous "treatment," intimidation.

Congress Conquest

The past few weeks have been kind to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC).

Two prominent Republicans have decided not to run for retiring Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell's seat (R-Colo.), while Democrats have coalesced around state Attorney General Ken Salazar. Former Gov. Tony Knowles (D-Alaska) continues to poll well against Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska). And Democrat Nancy Farmer shows signs of increasing strength against Republican Sen. Kit Bond in Missouri, according to Farmer's internal polling.

"Without question, the Senate map is continuing to move in our direction," the DSCC's Cara Morris told me.

Common Cause

After the 2000 presidential election, liberals and centrists blamed one another for Al Gore's loss. Liberals argued that Gore's populist message helped his campaign. Centrists countered that Gore went too far to the left to attract enough votes to win.

No more. The party's two branches are putting aside their differences to achieve a common goal: ousting President Bush from office and stopping his agenda on Capitol Hill. “There is more Democratic unity than I've ever seen,” said Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.). He attributes the lack of dissension to Democrats “correctly recogniz[ing] how terrible it would be for every liberal value” if Bush is reelected.

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