Jason Dick

We Reviewed Andy Barr, Amy McGrath and Beto O’Rourke’s New Campaign Ads
 

Deputy editor Jason Dick and elections analyst Nathan L. Gonzales watch campaign ads from candidates in Kentucky and Texas and break down what the messaging might mean in the election to come....
Senate Busies Itself, Plus Chuck Norris and Some Cactus
The one-day work week is something we can all get behind

The spectacle of politics and how it fits, or doesn’t, into the nation’s culture. Subscribe to our newsletter here.

The Senate convened around noon on Wednesday. The Senate adjourned around 4:33 p.m. on Thursday. Now THAT is a work week!

Aretha Franklin Gets R-E-S-P-E-C-T From Lawmakers
Members of Congress recall personal connections, dedication to civil rights

As the news of the death of Aretha Franklin circulated, members of Congress recalled their personal connections to the Queen of Soul, as well as her long advocacy of civil rights. 

“What made her talent so great was her capacity to live what she sang. Her music was deepened by her connection to the struggles and the triumphs of the African American experience growing up in her father’s church, the community of Detroit, and her awareness of the turmoil of the South. She had a lifelong, unwavering commitment to civil rights and was one of the strongest supporters of the movement,” Georgia Democratic Rep. John Lewis, a civil rights icon in his own right, said in a statement. 

Weekend Work for the Senate? The Bluff That Won’t Go Away
Upon Wednesday return, a quickly defused musing of weekend work

Senators returned to Washington on Wednesday and scarcely had time to head to lunch before their leaders unsheathed the threat of weekend work, an oldie but goodie bluff that was taken off the table before dinner time. 

Returning around noon from a two-week recess that was to stand in for the traditional month-long state work period, the chamber’s official order of business was considering the nominations of two judges to be on the 4th U.S. Circuit of Appeals: First A. Marvin Quattlebaum Jr., then  Julius Ness Richardson. The plan all along has been to confirm those two South Carolinians, then turn to a two bill appropriations package consisting of the Defense and Labor-HHS measures, at some point. 

Ben Foster and Being Part of a ‘Continuing Conversation’ About Veterans
Political Theater Podcast, Episode 32

“For being an actor, being of the generation of the desert war, these questions are ever-present,” Ben Foster says about a body of work that has seen him portray veterans of America’s current conflicts. For the Boston native, veterans’ re-entry to civilian life is part of what he says is “a continuing conversation” he says is important. His latest movie, “Leave No Trace,” is the story of a veteran who is “slipping through the cracks.” For a country still at war and embroiled in extensive debate about veterans, and their well-being, it is a timely movie. Foster discussed the movie recently with Political Theater. 

#Flashback Friday: The Heard on the Hill ‘Blotto Files’
Five years ago, a time to reflect on drunken misdeeds

“Sometimes Hill staffers hit the sauce a little too hard,” Heard on the Hill reminded readers during the first full week of August recess five years ago. 

Followed, as outlined by HOH columnist Warren Rojas, was a rundown of “The Blotto Files” of congressional staffer misdeeds, including Rep. Rick Larsen’s “December to Remember” crew, and Rep. Steven Palazzo’s party-time Annapolis staff. 

Primary Elections? Sure, We Got ’Em
August might be a sleepy time for some, but not for the midterms

The spectacle of politics and how it fits, or doesn’t, into the nation’s culture. Subscribe to our newsletter here.

August might be a sleepy time for legislation, the Senate’s capital busy-work period notwithstanding (See The Kicker below). But this is a midterm election year, and we are still in the thick of primary season.

All 11 Congressional Special Elections Have One Thing in Common
Political Theater Podcast, Episode 31

There have been 11 special elections for the U.S. Congress in the last two years, and they all have one thing in common: Democrats have performed better than the partisan breakdown would suggest. Political Theater host Jason Dick breaks it all down with senior political writer Simone Pathé and elections analyst Nathan L. Gonzales.

Margaret Heckler, Through the Years With Bikes, Bread and Cake
Former congresswoman, HHS secretary, ambassador to Ireland dies at 87

Former Rep. Margaret M. Heckler, a Massachusetts Republican who went on to become Health and Human Services secretary and later ambassador to Ireland, died Monday at the age of 87, but not before leaving behind some indelibly light-hearted images from her Capitol Hill days using some pedal power — with various foodstuffs. 

Heckler, born on June 21, 1931, was first elected to Congress in 1966, and did it in dramatic fashion before even getting to the general election. She defeated Massachusetts Rep. Joseph W. Martin Jr., the former speaker of the House, in a  Republican primary.

Paul Laxalt, Nevada Senator and ‘First Friend’ of Ronald Reagan, Dies at Age 96
Republican was governor and three-time chairman of Reagan presidential campaigns

Updated 1:55 p.m. | Paul Laxalt, a former Nevada governor and senator who was President Ronald Reagan’s closest friend and adviser in the Senate, died Monday. He was 96.

Laxalt, who was governor of the Silver State from 1967 to 1971, was first elected to the Senate back in 1974, overcoming the weight of Watergate to narrowly defeat Democratic Lt. Gov. Harry Reid. As fate would have it, Reid would ultimately succeed Laxalt following his retirement, winning his Senate seat in 1986.

From Oakland to Birmingham, and Everything In Between
Deaths of two very different members of Congress highlight dynamism of the legislative branch

The spectacle of politics and how it fits, or doesn’t, into the nation’s culture. Subscribe to our newsletter here.

The deaths of two very different former members of Congress this past week is a reminder of what a dynamic place Capitol Hill can be. Rep. Ronald V. Dellums, D-Calif., and Sen. Maryon Pittman Allen, D-Ala., did not have too terribly much in common. But they became a small part of the whole that is the American experiment.

What's In a Name? Some of Roll Call's Favorite Lawmaker Nicknames, Past and Present
Undercover Capitol takes you inside the historic workplace — one video at a time

JASON DICK: We're gonna talk about nicknames today. Some of the more powerful people in Congress have had nicknames.

Joe Cannon, the former Speaker of the House, had a couple of them. He was “Uncle Joe” for those who were feeling warm towards him, because he was a paternalistic figure.

Podcast: Left to Its Own Devices: Medical Tech, Congress and the Public
Political Theater, Episode 30

“I was shocked and doctors were shocked” at how much the medical device industry is “the Wild West,” says Amy Ziering, producer of the  documentary “The Bleeding Edge.” Ziering and director Kirby Dick discuss with CQ Health Editor Rebecca Adams and Political Theater host Jason Dick their movie, the “perfect platform” that Netflix provides and a host of news associated with the industry, including Congress’ consideration of legis...
Ron Dellums, a Congressman Ready-Made for the Camera
Some of Roll Call‘s best photos of the late California Democrat

Former Rep. Ronald V. Dellums, who died Monday at the age of 82, cut a striking figure in the halls of Congress, a tall, well-dressed man whose presence cameras gravitated toward. Here is a short selection of some of Roll Call’s favorite pictures of the California Democrat, who was first elected...
Better Off Now — So Much Better Than ‘Better Off Dead’
GOP hoping the sequel business is good for them

The spectacle of politics and how it fits, or doesn’t, into the nation’s culture. Subscribe to our newsletter here.

“Better Off Now.” No, it’s not the sequel to “Better Off Dead,” the classic surrealist teen comedy starring John Cusack.

Podcast: The Capitol Shooting That Changed Everything
Political Theater, Episode 29

July 24, 1998 changed everything on Capitol Hill. The shooting and ensuing deaths of two Capitol Police officers left a scar on the close-knit community and began a ramping up of hardened security around the legislative branch that continues today. Roll Call Senior Editor David Hawkings covered the event, and Roll Call multimedia reporter Thomas McKinless produced a documentary about the episode with fresh eyes. They discuss what they remembered, and what they learned on the latest Political Theater Podcast. 

Listen here: 

Can You Tell August Recess (Kinda Sorta) Is Almost Here?
Messaging votes, floods in the Capitol, stinky gas and boatloads of cash

The spectacle of politics and how it fits, or doesn’t, into the nation’s culture. Subscribe to our newsletter here.

It’s almost time for the kinda-sorta August recess (with the House leaving after next week for a month, and the Senate, not so much) and that means there will be no shortage of messaging votes set up by Republican leaders so their members can head back to the hustings and brandish their votes before November’s midterm elections. 

Podcast: Democrats Cashing In on 2018 Midterms
Political Theater, Episode 28

Midterm elections typically have lower voter turnout than presidential ones. If that turns out to be the case in 2018, it won't be because of a lack of cash or candidates. In short, the midterm cycle is awash in campaign money. Breaking down some of the gobsmacking amounts and what it means for the control of Congress are Roll Call political correspondents Simone Pathé and Bridget Bowman on the latest Political Theater podcast.  Listen here:

 

Start With Stormy, End With Strzok
Summer in the Capitol reaches peak tension

The spectacle of politics and how it fits, or doesn’t, into the nation’s culture. Subscribe to our newsletter here.

There’s nothing like a good knock-down, drag-out hearing about — what else? — THE 2016 ELECTION. The House Judiciary and Oversight and Government Reform committees had a good old time Thursday calmly discussing whether there was bias in the FBI’s investigation of presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. In the hot seat was FBI special agent Peter Strzok, who gave as good as he got about text messages with a woman who was not his wife that were about politics. Griffin Connolly and the Roll Call video team had a good time cataloguing the seething emotions at the hearing, which featured a healthy dose of questions and allusions to infidelity. 

Podcast: When Political ‘Dark Money’ Rode to Town
Political Theater, Episode 27

Filmmaker Kimberly Reed grew up in Montana with little anticipation her home state would be ground zero for a massive fight over money in politics. But her new documentary, “Dark Money,” tells a tale worthy of any Western, as lawmakers on both sides of the aisle fight for their own prerogatives in the face of out-of-state interests gunning for them.

With the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, the high court’s role as the ultimate referee over money’s role in politics is back in focus. Reed and Campaign Legal Center founder Trevor Potter and CQ Roll Call campaign finance reporter Kate Ackley discussed the film, money in politics and the campaign landscape on this week’s Political Theater Podcast.