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

Hill Climb

For months now Democratic presidential candidates have been trying to generate interest in their bids for the White House by "officially" announcing their campaigns -- despite the fact that they have already been campaigning, in some cases, for more than a year. Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) relaunched his bid on Sept. 2 in South Carolina, with an aircraft carrier providing a visually pleasing backdrop. Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) soon followed suit, starting his campaign anew in his hometown of Robbins, N.C., on Sept. 16. Neither of these staged events provided the candidates with the boost they were hoping for. In fact, of those who've been running -- officially or not -- for quite a while now, only one has succeeded in attracting renewed media attention halfway through the pre-primary campaign: former House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt (D-Mo.). Gephardt didn't make a splashy re-entry into the race. Rather, he got some positive attention after The Washington Post reported that GOP...

Don's Donnybrooks

In mid-2001, Washington's chattering classes were abuzz with talk about which of George W. Bush's cabinet secretaries would be the first to resign. Most of the attention focused on one person: Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. Rumsfeld wasn't a popular figure around town. Democrats, of course, had never liked him. And the career military people at the Pentagon made clear from the start of the Bush administration that they disagreed with his plans for military transformation. Such animosities weren't really unexpected. More surprising, though, was Rumsfeld's rapidly deteriorating relationship with congressional Republicans, whose ranks he had once belonged to. According to a piece John Bresnahan wrote for Roll Call in October 2001, Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) yelled, "I am discouraged, I am frustrated and I am angry," at Rumsfeld during a hearing. Things got bad enough that Rumsfeld, according to the piece, sought advice from former House Speaker Newt Gingrich on how to cajole Congress...

Tolerable Cruelty

The arrogance of Republicans on Capitol Hill is finally starting to catch up with them. Last week, House Republicans missed their own deadline to pass a Medicare prescription-drug bill. President Bush suffered a defeat when the Senate voted Thursday to turn half of his $20.3 billion aid package to Iraq into a loan, despite heavy lobbying by Vice President Dick Cheney and other administration officials. And House Republicans are passing important bills -- on topics such as Head Start and Washington, D.C., school vouchers -- by one-vote margins, as Juliet Eilperin reported recently in The Washington Post . This is happening partly because moderate, and even conservative, Republicans are increasingly standing up to President Bush . Why now, you ask? Because of both their own approaching elections and Bush's falling poll numbers. Republicans are realizing that what plays well in Washington might not be popular back home. And so you have right-wingers such as Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.)...

Hard Sell

Former Atlanta Mayor and U.S. Ambassador Andrew Young gave a seemingly odd but increasingly common reason last week as to why he's not running for Georgia's open Senate seat next year. "I was afraid I'd win," he said. "Winning would mean I would spend the next seven years of my life in Washington, and Washington is not always the center of action." Young's decision isn't welcome news for Democrats -- it leaves the party without a front-runner to succeed conservative Democrat Zell Miller -- and it's yet another example of how leaders of both parties are having difficulty as they try to recruit Senate candidates next year. The GOP has had a worse time with this task. Republicans have yet to field a strong candidate to vie for retiring freshman Peter Fitzgerald's seat in Illinois. Several Democrats who could have faced difficult elections next year -- such as Patty Murray in Washington and Blanche Lincoln in Arkansas -- are likely to win another term because the Republicans' top choices...

Misplaced Mudslinging

When I recently asked Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe how he felt about having nine candidates in the presidential race -- this was before Wesley Clark's announcement last Wednesday brought the field to 10 -- he replied, "Love it. The more, the merrier." McAuliffe added, "For me to have nine candidates traveling around the country right now as ambassadors for the party -- drawing the distinctions, talking about the failures of the Bush administration -- is spectacular. The goal is to make sure we're unified next spring." There's little doubt that the nine candidates who lose the primary contest will rally around the winner -- especially if they want a shot at the vice-presidential slot. But they probably won't do so happily, especially if current front-runner Howard Dean manages to hold on and win the nomination. Right now at least three candidates are already taking the gloves off against Dean. The three candidates in question -- Dick Gephardt, John Kerry and...

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