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

Right Turn

On Friday, President Bush installed Alabama Attorney General William Pryor as a judge on the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Only last month, he appointed Charles Pickering Sr. to a similar position. Both appointments are clearly election-year moves aimed at placating the religious right, a group Bush needs to help him in the November election. The morning of Pryor's installment, Robert Knight of the Culture and Family Institute -- an affiliate of Concerned Women for America, which describes itself as bringing "biblical principles into all levels of public policy" -- blasted Bush in The Washington Times for not coming out more strongly against gay marriage, for pushing legislation that he calls the "Ted Kennedy Leave No Child Behind education bill," and for increasing the budget for the National Endowment of the Arts. Knight wrote that both the National Education Association and the arts endowment "boldly promoted the homosexual agenda for schoolchildren." The fact that members of...

Idle Chatter

Last week, House Speaker Dennis Hastert gathered Republican Party members for a "mandatory" conference meeting to discuss what to do about the $521 billion federal budget deficit, according to The Hill . Afterward, he said, "Nothing is sacred in this business. Everything is on the table." Not exactly what a Republican representative running for re-election -- who needs to show his constituents he's bringing home the bacon -- wants to hear. But Republicans also know that Democrats won't miss many chances to remind voters that when Bill Clinton left the White House, the government enjoyed a surplus, not a deficit. Those words aren't exactly music to a GOP representative's ears, either. So top administration officials, such as Office of Management and Budget Director Josh Bolten, are talking about bringing back some form of the line-item veto, as The Hill noted. Yes, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the line-item veto unconstitutional in 1998, but no matter. Several GOP lawmakers have...

Double Duty

It's not easy to run for president when you're a senator. Over the weekend, John Kerry took first place in primaries and caucuses in Michigan, Maine, and Washington state. But he's embarked on a rocky road, trying to win votes while working as a senator. Just look at the bumps he's already encountered -- and what he has ahead of him: Howard Dean has criticized Kerry for not passing more bills through Congress and chided him for raking in money from special interests, even as the senator denounced them on the campaign trail. Wesley Clark has complained that Kerry supported President Bush's tax cuts, the war in Iraq, and the USA Patriot Act. And those were just the attacks from Democrats. Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie has painted Kerry as more liberal than the GOP's favorite whipping boy, Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy. And there's more to come: Many of the GOP's big guns -- including some in the Senate -- are holding their fire until Kerry officially wins the...

Gloves Off

There have been plenty of stories written in recent weeks about how the Bush administration has ignored rules of good governance in order to further its partisan agenda. But Republicans on Capitol Hill have been just as brazen, and Democrats are finally ready to strike back. Last fall, GOP leaders held the Medicare reform vote open for almost three hours as they struggled to find enough support to eke out a victory. Michigan Representative Nick Smith was targeted by his party's members, who told him they would help his son's congressional campaign only if he supported the measure. Smith, who later backtracked on his comments, ended up opposing the bill anyway. Democrats, infuriated by the incident, had hoped that the bipartisan Ethics Committee -- headed by Republican Representative Joel Hefley but composed of an equal number of Democrats and Republicans -- would investigate the matter on its own. No such luck. Republicans aren't about to do the Democrats' work for them, especially in...

Disapproval Ratings

Over the weekend, political observers made much of the fact that a new poll showed John Kerry would defeat President Bush by 49 percent to 46 percent if the general election were held today. Of course, the election is not being held today, and Kerry's numbers probably owe more to renewed press and public interest in his campaign than to any other factor. What's more, it's unrealistic to expect that those numbers won't change at all in the next 10 months, especially because we're still not sure who the Democratic nominee will be. But the numbers are part of an encouraging trend that shows Bush's vulnerability. Just like his father, George W. Bush is finding that the bounce from a war in Iraq is short-lived. A poll conducted in mid-January by The New York Times and CBS News found that 48 percent of those surveyed approve of the way he's handled the situation in Iraq -- compared with 46 percent who disapprove. The president's numbers on foreign policy in general are similar. And while 68...

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