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

Nancy Drew

President Bush signed the Medicare reform bill Monday morning. Later that afternoon, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) held a rally for a group of lawmakers and senior citizens who were opposed to the bill. The event was a photo op, to be sure, but it was also a fitting end to Pelosi's first year as House minority leader. As The Washington Post recently reported , Pelosi has exceeded nearly all expectations during the past year. She did not walk into an easy situation; when she took office last January, many Democrats were unhappy. As the Post explained, Dems had failed in four consecutive elections to win back the House, and Republicans were deriding their new leader as a San Francisco liberal. Further, noted the Post , some Democrats were quietly concerned that Pelosi would give little heed to the party's more moderate members. Sure, Pelosi had a year as deputy to former Minority Leader Dick Gephardt's (D-Mo.) under her belt. But it was very much an open question as to whether she would...

Kerry On

November was not kind to John Kerry. The Massachusetts senator and Democratic presidential hopeful got the kind of media ink that campaign press secretaries dread. To wit: "Kerry Fires Campaign Manager; Democrat, Lagging Behind Dean, Hopes to Redirect Candidacy" ( The Washington Post , Nov. 11); "Kerry Tries to Rejuvenate His Faltering Campaign" ( USA Today , Nov. 24); "Storied Past, Golden Resume, But Mixed Reviews for Kerry" ( The New York Times , Nov. 30). What has happened to a candidate that many assumed would be comfortably leading the crowded field at this point? Well, a number of things. For one, Kerry peaked too early. As I noted ( here ) in March, Kerry's status as the early front-runner was not necessarily a benefit to his campaign. Like Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.), Kerry earned early praise from the press and some political operatives. But whereas Edwards never really went anywhere, Kerry failed to protect his lead. His campaign didn't take former Gov. Howard Dean (D-Vt.)...

Recall Redux

Three years ago, Katherine Harris gave the Democrats headaches in Florida. Now she's doing the same for Republicans. The former Florida secretary of state and current Republican congresswoman helped hand the White House to George W. Bush during the Florida recount of 2000. Now she is seriously weighing a bid for the seat being vacated next year by retiring Sen. Bob Graham (D). Harris, who has less than a year of legislative experience in Washington under her belt, told The Miami Herald recently that she's "getting a lot of anecdotal evidence" that her candidacy would help Bush's re-election efforts. She also said her campaign would allow her to "gut all the inane arguments that [Democrats] make about the recount, which are really ludicrous." It's not clear how Harris plans to "gut" arguments about the 2000 Florida recount -- nor is it clear how running for the Senate would allow her to do that. What is clear is that neither President Bush nor Gov. Jeb Bush (R-Fla.) wants these...

All Alone

After the Republicans took control of Congress in 1994, President Clinton famously wondered aloud whether he was relevant anymore. Given the recent actions of congressional Republicans, House and Senate Democrats could be forgiven for asking the same thing about themselves. Last week, Senate Republicans staged an almost 40-hour-long "reverse filibuster" to highlight the fact that Democrats have held up several of George W. Bush's judicial nominees. Never mind that Republicans held up many of Clinton's nominees toward the end of his second term. Never mind that Democrats have allowed the confirmation of 168 judges while only blocking six. Never mind that Congress is already more than a month past its original target adjournment date of Oct. 4. And never mind that many bills still await action. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), who heads the Committee on the Judiciary, told The Hill that "hardly anything" on the Senate agenda "is more important" than the president's right to nominate judges...

Comity Club

Last Friday, Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) received the 2003 George Bush Award for Excellence in Public Service. The prize is given out annually by the Bush Presidential Library Foundation; according to the Houston Chronicle , an ad hoc committee of the former president's acquaintances had recommended to Bush Senior that Kennedy be nominated for the award. Bush spokesman Jim McGrath said his boss was "immediately supportive," according to the Chronicle . It could have been an awkward event. After all, Kennedy has been one of the Senate's most aggressive voices in attacking the elder Bush's son, especially on the Iraq War and its aftermath, and he and Bush certainly had their differences when the latter was in office. But Kennedy and Bush joked about the accusations they'd hurled at each other in the past, and both praised the other's commitment to public service. Such bipartisan comity is rare these days, especially in Washington. Even outside of the nation's capital, there's an anger...

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