Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
July 3, 2015

Posts in "Column"

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

April 20, 2015

Cruz’s Struggle: This Man Loves to Argue

Elections 2016

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The first time I met Ted Cruz, he argued with me. The second time I met Ted Cruz, he argued with me. It wasn’t personal, of course. Ted Cruz simply loves to argue.

Those two incidents told me a lot about Cruz. The first time was at an event in Florida in February 2012, months before he won the Texas GOP Senate nomination. I had never met him, but he wandered up to me and started complaining about my assessment of the Republican primary in the Lone Star State.

Full story

April 14, 2015

The Young and the Restless of 2016

Elections 2016

Paul is one of three GOP senators in their first terms running for president. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Once upon a time, presidential candidates were expected to have more than passing experience in government, as well as the maturity and wisdom that sometimes come with age. But that has changed, apparently.

Barack Obama was in the United States Senate for only two years before he began his bid for the presidency and had only four years of service in Congress when he was sworn in as president. He was just 47 years old at the time.

This year, the trend toward youth and/or inexperience has continued. Full story

March 17, 2015

The Fearsome Foursome: Bush, Paul, Walker, Rubio

Elections 2016

Rubio is one of the top four Republicans expected to run for president. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A veritable bevy of Republican presidential hopefuls have already hired staff, wooed deep-pocketed contributors and made speeches in Iowa and New Hampshire, proving what we already know: The 2016 nomination preseason is well underway.

Fundraising, organization, the size of the field and the calendar all will play a significant role in affecting how the race unfolds. The outcome is uncertain.

Full story

March 5, 2015

What the ‘Big Ten’ Tells Republicans They Need in 2016

Elections 2016

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker finished second in CPAC’s presidential straw poll. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

We won’t know the 2016 Republican presidential nominee for more than a year, but we already know the 10 states — the electoral “Big Ten” — that will select the next occupant of the White House.

Because of that, we can evaluate the GOP’s general election prospects over the next 12 to 18 months by watching the party’s trek through its primary and caucus calendar. Will the Republicans select someone who can carry enough of the key 10 states to win 270 electoral votes? Full story

March 3, 2015

Pat Toomey Is a Strong Candidate. Will That Be Enough in 2016?

Elections 2016

Toomey. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Yes, I know Pennsylvania Democrats don’t have a 2016 Senate candidate who excites the entire party yet. I also know the election is 20 months away — plenty of time for them to rally around a nominee.

GOP Sen. Patrick J. Toomey’s re-election prospects in Pennsylvania next year depend to a large extent on the state’s political environment when voters go to the polls. If it is like 2010 or 2014, he is likely to win. If it’s like 2006 or 2008, he is likely to lose. Full story

February 25, 2015

Remembrance of Shutdowns Past

Elections 2016

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Republicans scored big gains in the 2010 and 2014 elections because both of those midterms were about President Barack Obama and the Democratic Party. Democrats had successful elections in 2006, 2008 and 2012 primarily because they made those elections about the GOP and George W. Bush, John McCain and Mitt Romney.

You might think politicians from both sides of the aisle would understand that a political party does best when it makes the national political discussion about the weaknesses, failings and shortcomings of the other party. Full story

February 23, 2015

Rand Paul, Hillary Clinton Face Foreign Policy Challenges in 2016

Elections 2016

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

While the economy is a decisive topic in many presidential elections, national security looks increasingly likely to become a top issue in next year’s contest. And if that happens, it could dramatically affect both the direction of the race for the Republican nomination and the party’s prospects in November.

While the economy’s slow recovery hasn’t yet produced solid wage growth or the sort of good, full-time jobs that many had hoped for, President Barack Obama’s job approval numbers on handling the economy have started to climb. Full story

February 17, 2015

Past and Precedent: What Makes This Mississippi Special Election Interesting

You might think the best way to understand Mississippi’s upcoming 1st District special election to fill the late Rep. Alan Nunnelee’s seat is to examine the 2008 special election in the same district. After all, that previous special election to fill the seat left open by Roger Wicker’s appointment to the Senate happened less than seven years ago.

If you think that, you are wrong. Full story

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