Jason Dick

‘The River and the Wall,’ a journey down the wall’s path
Political Theater Podcast, Episode 62

When Ben Masters began the 1,200-mile journey along the Rio Grande to film his new documentary “The River and the Wall,” he had no idea the border wall would dominate politics the way it does today. Nor did he think, as he spoke with such locals as Beto O’Rourke and Read more...
Not green with envy: People who missed Friends of Ireland lunch

Regardless of how you spend your St. Patrick’s Day, it’s not likely to be as awkward as the Friends of Ireland luncheon at the Capitol this year.

Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar found himself Thursday in close quarters with Speaker Nancy Pelosi and President Donald Trump, one day before the president vetoed a resolution Congress passed to terminate his national emergency declaration on the southern border. Amid all that, Trump found time to discuss Brexit, which the Irish are concerned will erect a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland. 

Why Trump, in the era of fake news, is fueling journalism majors
Political Theater Podcast, Episode 61

When the president of the United States labels you the enemy of the people, what’s a young, aspiring journalist supposed to think? While recognizing that journalism is in a crisis, Christina Bellantoni, a professor of journalism at the University of Southern California and a former editor of Roll Call and at the Los Angeles Times, says the era of fake news is actually bringing out the real value of journalism and helping to motivate the next generation to seek the truth. “It&...
Reactions to Senate GOP 2020 hype video: ‘I’m ready for the cycle’
 

They may not be trapped by mad scientists and forced to watch b-movies with their robot friends, but Roll Call's political wonks have spent their fair share of hours watching campaign Read more...
When you want to HR 1 but have to anti-hate first
Podcasts for all the news, plus marijuana and daylight saving too!

Not disrespect intended to the Senate, but the action was in the House this past week, dominated by debate about a resolution condemning anti-Semitism and bigotry and passage of a sweeping overhaul of campaign finance, election and ethics laws. And we have a podcast for each topic! We also have a cool story and video about pot and more. 

HR 1. Democrats love it. Republicans hate it. K Street really hates it. The White House wants to veto it. 

Why everyone wants to talk about HR 1
Political Theater Podcast, Episode 60

Democrats love it. Republicans hate it. K Street really hates it. The White House wants to veto it. Everyone’s talking about HR 1, House Democrats’ overhaul of campaign finance, election and lobbying laws.

Things that go boom: Michael Cohen, Apollo 11 and this week
“Says who?” guy from 2016 dropped in on Capitol Hill

There was so much political theater this week, it wouldn’t fit into just one podcast. So we did two! 

Michael Cohen, who will forever, at least to Political Theater, be the “Says who?” guy from the 2016 campaign, dropped in on Capitol Hill this week for a round robin of testimony with multiple committees about his fixer-for-Donald-Trump days. Sturm? Meet Drang. 

How the National Archives helped ‘Apollo 11’ get a fresh look
Political Theater Podcast, Episode 59

The Apollo 11 Moon landing is one of mankind’s iconic stories. So how, with the 50th anniversary of the lunar landing coming up, does the documentary “Apollo 11” tell the story in a new way? For director Todd Douglas Miller and his team, it started with archival footage, some of it never seen, at the National Archives and other audio and visual files around the country. Miller discusses his new film, how it came together, both in middle of the politically tumultuous 196...
Does Michael Cohen testimony change political strategies?
Political Theater Podcast, Episode 58

Sure, as one cable news talking head says, Michael Cohen’s congressional testimony on Wednesday is “very, very explosive” and spread out over “several, several hours” but does it change the political parties’ 2020 strategy? Roll Call political reporters Simone Pathé and Bridget Bowman discuss. 

From silent to millennial, generations of the Democratic presidential field
The growing primary roster now ranges in age from 37 to 77

Say this for the Democrats, they are multigenerational. 

Their presidential field continued to swell as Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, an independent who affiliates with Democrats, announced he was running and promptly raised millions of dollars to show his campaign apparatus was doing just fine. 

Mirror, Mirror on the wall, who’s the most presidential of them all?
Political Theater Podcast, Episode 57

Take one congresswoman from Hawaii, one tech entrepreneur and one South Bend mayor, add in 7 percent of the U.S. Senate and you still don’t have even half of the potential Democratic field of presidential candidates. Why is everyone running for president? And what kind of effect will that have on down-ballot races for Congress, state houses, and governor’s mansions, not to mention the legislative agenda on Capitol Hill? Inside Elections Reporter/Analyst Leah Askarinam helps us sort...
The state of lobbying is, well, pretty darn good
Political Theater Podcast, Episode 56

Last year, Julian Ha of Heidrick & Struggles said the swamp was “constipated,” as the lobbying world continued adjusting to the Trump administration and Congress. And now? Things are starting to flow again. Ha and CQ Roll Call lobbying reporter Kate Ackley discuss the state of lobbying, 2019 edition. 

Is 2019 over yet? It kind of feels like 2020 already
At State of the Union, it felt like half the room was raring to take Trump on next year

Is it 2020 yet? Sure feels like it. When President Donald Trump delivered his State of the Union, it only felt like half the room was raring to take him on next year (looking at you, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Bernie Sanders, Kirsten Gillibrand, Sherrod Brown, Tulsi Gabbard, Eric Swalwell …) And that’s not even counting other 2020 considerations, like how many claps the president might get from senators in potentially tough races like Democrat Gary Peters of Michigan. We look at the politics of what has basically become one big campaign pep rally in the latest Political Theater Podcast.

John D. Dingell, the longest-serving member of Congress, died Thursday at the age of 92. He was quite a guy. Niels Lesniewski and David Hawkings, now at The Firewall, did the obituary for Roll Call, which is awesome and details the Michigan Democrat’s power, influence and personality over a 60-year career in the House and time on Capitol Hill as a page and student. And then there is this photo from the Roll Call archives, which is just, I don’t know, it’s just …

Is the State of the Union just another campaign stop?
Political Theater, Episode 55

President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address touched on familiar themes and not so familiar ones like bipartisanship. Yet, the goal of many politicians Tuesday night was a 2020 campaign snapshot, complete with fundraising appeal and messaging. Roll Call senior political reporter Simone Pathé explains.  ...
I’m ready for my close-up, Mr. Trump
The State of the Union provides a spotlight for more than just the president

All eyes will be on the House chamber this coming week, with plenty of drama surrounding both the State of the Union deliverer in chief, President Donald Trump, who just might use the occasion to declare a national emergency on the southern border, and no small number of congressional Democrats who want his job and have already declared their presidential campaigns. Roll Call elections analyst Nathan L. Gonzales and I talked about the dynamic on the latest Political Theater podcast.

Speaking of that chamber of rivals Trump will be facing, Stu Rothenberg has a two-part column this week about questions the Democratic Party should answer as the nomination process gets under way in earnest. 

Donald Trump and the chamber of 2020 rivals
Political Theater, Episode 54

When President Donald Trump delivers his State of the Union address to both chambers of Congress on Feb. 5, he will not be the only star of the night. Several Democrats seeking to replace him — and there are many —  could end up stealing the limelight, says Nathan Gonzales, publisher of Inside Elections and Roll Call’s elections analyst.

The State of the Union is ... perhaps outdated?
The latest fight over the address provides a time for evaluation

ANALYSIS — Think of the State of the Union address as the appendix of American government.

It’s been there a while. No one is quite sure exactly what it does. When it’s gone, no one notices.

Threats over shutdown, emergency declaration hang over coming talks
Amid the optimism, acrimony and hard feelings frame debate

The shutdown wasn’t even over before the next shutdown threat was leveled at Congress by President Donald Trump. 

Yes, congressional leaders and the president struck a deal Friday to end the partial government shutdown, for three weeks at least. But hanging over the negotiations on a broader deal will be Trump’s threats to declare a national emergency or force another impasse to expedite building a southern border barrier, an extra bit of animus coloring the coming talks. 

And on the 35th day of the shutdown …
When the shutdown ends, nobody knows

So what’s Washington got in store on the day furloughed federal workers miss a second paycheck, otherwise known as Day 35 of the partial government shutdown? Well, on the heels of a Day 34, when a bunch of votes went nowhere, there’s a meeting at the White House between the president and congressional leaders. It went so well the last time

After all the back and forth on State of the Union timing, delivery and venue, President Donald Trump late on Wednesday night quietly folded, acknowledging Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s position that the annual speech should be postponed until the shutdown is resolved. “I’m glad we could get that off the table because I know it was the source of many questions,” Pelosi said after. 

What Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Dick Cheney have in common
Political Theater, Episode 53

What do Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and former Vice President Dick Cheney have in common?

In addition to being political power brokers, films about them have now been nominated for Academy Awards, for the documentary “RBG” and feature film “Vice,” respectively. So politics, which has gotten a bit of a bad rap lately, (see shutdown, 2019, for more), can be both interesting, entertaining and profitable for Hollywood? Well, yes and no, says Renee Tsao, vice president of PR Collaborative, who discusses politics and movies on the latest Political Theater podcast.