Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
August 28, 2015

Posts in "Column"

August 24, 2015

Missing the Boat on the Big Political News

NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 24:  A screen on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) shows the the Dow Jones industrial average briefly dropping over 1000 points in morning trading on August 24, 2015 in New York City. As the global economy continues to react from events in China, markets dropped significantly around the world on Monday.  (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

The Dow Jones industrial average briefly dropped more than 1,000 points in morning trading on Monday. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

On Aug. 21, I did something — twice — that I rarely do. I tweeted. But it wasn’t about Donald Trump’s poll numbers or Hillary Rodham Clinton’s emails. It was about the stock market’s plunge.

While Trump’s latest salvo (no matter the subject) is always entertaining and the size of Bernard Sanders’ most recent crowd is worth noting, Wall Street’s current performance and the investment community’s nervousness could turn out to be more important for the two parties next year.

Full story

August 11, 2015

Stop the Presses: O’Malley Nabs Swalwell Endorsement

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 23:  Democratic presidential candidate and former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley speaks during an event at the Truman Center for National Policy July 23, 2015 in Washington, DC. O'Malley discussed the need for additional Wall Street reforms while speaking with former Congressman and House Finance Committee Member Brad Miller (D-NC).  (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

O’Malley’s playing up Swalwell’s endorsement says a lot about his campaign. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Who knew the Democratic presidential race would be fundamentally changed in the blink of an eye? But that happened recently when California congressman Eric Swalwell, 34, endorsed former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley.

Well, maybe I’m exaggerating a little.

Full story

August 4, 2015

One Last Hurrah for Joe Biden?

Vice President Joe Biden and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., leave a meeting with House Democrats in the Capitol Visitor Center where Biden briefed members on the nuclear deal with Iran, July 15, 2015. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Biden has plenty of credentials and credibility but being vice president for eight years has its downside. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The news that Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. is giving serious consideration to running for president spread like wildfire over the weekend.

That is understandable. Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, the Democratic front-runner, has not exactly performed like a winner, and growing questions about her character, forthrightness and judgment have produced plenty of negative coverage in the media, which feeds on controversy.

Full story

July 28, 2015

Chris Christie’s Conundrum

Christie speaks at the Faith & Freedom Coalition conference in D.C. on June 19. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Christie speaks at the Faith & Freedom Coalition conference in D.C. on June 19. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

On first glance, Christie’s bio and profile should make him a top-tier hopeful for the 2016 Republican nomination. But he isn’t — at least not right now. In this case, timing is everything.

A former county freeholder and U.S. attorney finishing his second term as governor in a very blue state, Christie, 52, is a guy with a big personality who has received more than his share of national media coverage over the past few years.

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July 21, 2015

The Politics of Identity Politics

identity politics

Perdue and Gardner proved exceptions to a rule in 2014. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

“I’m tired of hyphenated Americans,” complains Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal in “We’re All Americans,” a television spot aired by Believe Again, the super PAC supporting the presidential hopeful’s bid.

“We’re not Indian-Americans or African-Americans or Asian-Americans. We’re all Americans,” he continues as the audience applauds. Full story

July 13, 2015

Who Will Benefit From the Issues Mix in 2016?

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Immigration could be the wild card issue in the 2016 election. (File Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Every election is different, but they almost always come down to one question: What is the election about?

Some elections are about one or both of the candidates (personality, preparedness or accomplishments), while others are merely about “change.” Some are about the economy in general, or jobs or inflation in particular. A relative few are about national security or a military conflict.

Full story

July 8, 2015

Bernie Sanders: The Latest Version of Howard Dean

The Sanders poll numbers are good, but Democrats aren't likely to go against Clinton in the end. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Sanders poll numbers are good, but Democrats aren’t likely to go against Clinton in the end. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Vermont Sen. Bernard Sanders’ poll numbers in New Hampshire have reporters taking notice and progressive Democrats excited: Bernie is surging!

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg, if you believe the 73-year-old Vermont independent-turned-Democratic presidential hopeful.

Full story

July 6, 2015

The Donald Trump Impact: Not so Inevitable After All

Donald Trump 2016 is xxxx. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Will the Donald Trump immigration comments linger? (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

I was surprised by the near unanimity over the weekend about the impact of the Donald Trump comments about Mexican immigrants. Almost every disinterested political observer agreed Trump’s typically over-the-top remarks were certain to hurt GOP prospects in the 2016 presidential election.

I am skeptical about that.

Full story

June 30, 2015

When the Second Time Isn’t the Charm

Santorum speaks during the Faith & Freedom Coalition'’s Road to Majority Conference. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Santorum speaks during the Faith & Freedom Coalition’’s Road to Majority Conference. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

I feel bad for Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee and Rick Perry. They are presidential retreads at a moment when anything that is more than an hour or two old is passé.

John McCain was a retread in 2008 (having lost a bid for the GOP nomination in 2000), as was Mitt Romney four years later. Ronald Reagan was a retread in 1980, and Richard M. Nixon was one in 1968. But they’re ancient history. Times have changed. Full story

June 23, 2015

Does Scott Walker Have What It Takes to Win in 2016?

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

 

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is widely viewed as a top-tier hopeful for the GOP presidential nomination. But it’s less clear he has the right profile to knock off the likely Democratic nominee, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Walker’s strength in the nomination race comes from his positioning in the Republican Party.

Full story

June 16, 2015

Roll Call at the Big 6-0

Roll Call's softball team from the early 2000s.

Roll Call’s softball team from the early 2000s.

During my 23 years at Roll Call (my first column was published on June 11, 1992), I’ve seen many changes at the newspaper. It has been forced to evolve because journalism has changed more radically than any of us could have imagined.

Politics, too, has changed. In the summer of 1992, we still talked about the GOP’s “lock” in the Electoral College and the Democrats’ unassailable stranglehold on the House of Representatives, and we had no idea that two decades later we would witness the election of an African-American president, the birth of something called the tea party or the White House candidacy of a former first lady — twice. Full story

June 8, 2015

Can Marco Rubio Save the GOP in 2016? (Video)

Rubio does not fit the typical Republican presidential candidate demographic. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rubio, of Cuban descent, doesn’t fit the typical GOP presidential candidate demographic. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Republican presidential field looks unusually diverse this cycle — an African-American (Ben Carson), an Indian-American (Bobby Jindal), a woman (Carly Fiorina) and a Hispanic, or, if you prefer, a Cuban (Marco Rubio). One candidate is married to a Hispanic originally from Mexico (Jeb Bush).

There is even a Canadian in the field.

Full story

June 2, 2015

Party’s History of Establishment Picks Could Be Over (Video)

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Was Romney the last establishment pick for the Republicans? (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Battles for the Republican presidential nomination almost always come down to two alternatives — an establishment-backed candidate with pragmatic instincts and an insurgent (often significantly more conservative) who tries to appeal to constituencies that feel ignored.

And except for 1964, when an insurgent Barry Goldwater defeated a slew of establishment opponents, and, possibly, 1980, the establishment has won these fights to select the party’s presidential nominees.

Full story

May 26, 2015

How to Fix an Unfair Presidential Debate System

A Santorum fan in Iowa awaits the August 2011 presidential debate. The former senator could be excluded from this year's debates. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A Santorum fan in Iowa awaits the August 2011 presidential debate. The former senator could be excluded from this year’s debates. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Fox News and CNN, which will broadcast the first two GOP presidential debates, have decided on a system for excluding candidates that could result in Donald Trump participating in those debates but current or former senators and governors being excluded.

Nice going, guys.

Full story

May 18, 2015

Can Republicans Repeat an Upset in Colorado?

Bennet xxxx. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Bennet, left, is not in a Tossup race. At least not yet. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The May 5 email I received from Colorado Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet’s campaign committee opened with: “Larry Sabato in Politico: COLORADO IS ONE OF ONLY SEVEN 2016 TOSS-UPS. Colorado will decide the 2016 election!”

Forget the fact Sabato’s piece was talking about the Electoral College and the presidential contest, not the Senate race in the Centennial State. The Bennet campaign wants you to know control of the Senate after 2016 rests on Colorado, and you’d better dig deep into your pockets if you want to re-elect Bennet and assure a Democratic sweep in the state.

Full story

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