Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
October 9, 2015

Posts in "Column"

October 7, 2015

Why I Keep Forgetting About John Kasich

UNITED STATES - JUNE 19- Republican presidential candidate, Ohio Gov. John Kasich speaks during the Faith & Freedom Coalition’s Road to Majority conference which featured speeches by conservative politicians at the Washington D.C. Omni Shoreham Hotel, June 19, 2015.(Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Kasich’s path to victory is no more clear now than it was in the spring. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Republican contest for president probably will boil down to a fight between a pragmatic conservative, such as former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush or Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, and either an uncompromising conservative, such as Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, or an outsider, like Ben Carson.

Most of the GOP hopefuls fit into either of those categories, but Ohio Gov. John R. Kasich doesn’t.

Full story

September 28, 2015

Does Voter Anger Explain the Success of Presidential Outsiders?

UNITED STATES - September 25: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at the Values Voters Summit at the Omni Shoreham hotel in Washington D.C., Friday, September 25, 2015. (Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

The past 18 months have radicalized some in the GOP grass roots, which helps explain the rise of candidates such as Trump. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Those of us who report on and analyze politics for a living have been talking ad nauseam about voters’ frustration and anger.

It’s the hot topic that presumably explains Donald Trump, Ben Carson and Bernard Sanders, as well as the problems that political veterans such as Hillary Rodham Clinton and Jeb Bush have encountered.

Full story

September 21, 2015

Young, Ambitious and Wealthy Isn’t Enough in Arkansas

U.S. Attorney Conner Eldridge speaks at a Little Rock, Ark., civic club Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2015. (AP Photo/Danny Johnston)

Beebe’s wins as a Democrat in Arkansas won’t provide Eldridge with a roadmap to victory in the Senate race. (Danny Johnston/AP File Photo)

Former U.S. Attorney Conner Eldridge announced on Sept. 9 he will seek the Arkansas Democratic Senate nomination and the right to challenge incumbent Republican Sen. John Boozman in 2016.

Writing in the Arkansas Times before Eldridge entered the race, veteran political journalist Max Brantley observed the Democrat would be “a sparkling candidate in a long tradition of young, ambitious, smart lawyers — [Dale] Bumpers, [David] Pryor, [Jim Guy] Tucker, [Bill] Clinton, [Vic] Snyder.”

Full story

September 14, 2015

And the News Gets Worse for Clinton

Compared to the Republican race for president, the Democratic contest looks almost normal.

Yes, Hillary Rodham Clinton’s poll numbers have plummeted so far and so fast that she trails an avowed socialist in Iowa and New Hampshire polls, and she looks so damaged that Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. has been encouraged to consider whether he should run for his party’s nomination. Full story

September 9, 2015

A Significant Reassessment of the GOP Race


Trump’s image in Iowa has improved at the same time that his flaws, shortcomings and liabilities have become more apparent. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Republican front-runner Donald Trump isn’t going away anytime soon, I now believe.

That assessment doesn’t mean I think Trump is the favorite for the Iowa caucuses or the GOP nomination, but it does reflect a fundamental shift in my thinking. I have believed and been arguing that once Iowa Republicans start to see the caucuses as an opportunity to select the next president, rather than an opportunity to express their frustration and anger, they will turn away from Trump (and other outsiders) and toward politically experienced, mainstream contenders.

Full story

September 1, 2015

Does David Vitter Have Something to Worry About?

UNITED STATES - JUNE 23: Sen. David Vitter, R-La., participates in a press conference on Tuesday, June 23, 2015 to introduce a six-year highway reauthorization bill titled the Developing a Reliable and Innovative Vision for the Economy Act (DRIVE Act). (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Poll numbers in the 20s are a red flag for someone with high name recognition like Vitter. (File Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Two-term Republican Sen. David Vitter started his bid for Louisiana governor as a solid, if not prohibitive, favorite. But Pelican State watchers believe that Vitter’s prospects look less certain now than they did six months ago.

Does Vitter really have something to worry about? The answer to that question depends on whether you think three recent polls are close to being correct.

Full story

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.

Full story

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?


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

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