political-theater-podcast

Roger Ailes, the Connection Between Bushworld and Trumpworld
The 41st and 45th president had in common the legendary GOP fixer and Fox News boss

President Donald Trump salutes as First Lady Melania Trump holds her hand over her heart at former President George H.W. Bush's casket in the Capitol Rotunda on Monday, Dec. 3, 2018. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

For all of the contrasts drawn this week between President Donald Trump and President George H.W. Bush, and there are many, the two chief executives did share one thing in common that helped assure their electoral successes: Roger Ailes.

This week’s tributes to Bush, with their emphasis on his gentlemanly public service, optimism and affability, diverge sharply with the current president’s dark, transactional demeanor and outlook. But for all their superficial and substantive differences, they both were aided greatly by Ailes: Bush as an employer of his skills as a strategist and political ad man in the 1988 race and Trump as a recipient of his authority to provide a ready platform on the country’s premiere conservative news channel: Fox News.

Roger Ailes 'Was Never Sorry About Anything'
Political Theater, Episode 47

Fox News chairman Roger Ailes walks with his wife Elizabeth Tilson as they leave the News Corp building, July 19, 2016 in New York City. Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images

 

Sweet Smell of Succession, House Democrats Edition
The upward mobility of people who played the leadership game

From left, Rep.-elect Veronica Escobar, D-Texas, Reps. Cheri Bustos, D-Ill., and Joyce Beatty, D-Ohio, arrive Thursday for the House Democrats’ leadership elections in the Longworth Building. Bustos went on to win the race for Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chair. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

For those House Democrats frustrated that Nancy Pelosi won’t provide them (Seth Moulton, Kathleen Rice, Tim Ryan) with a succession plan that entails her leaving and someone, anyone else taking over, consider — wait for it — this week’s House Democratic Caucus leadership elections

Let’s back up for a second. 

Going Down to Mississippi, Senate Runoff Edition
Political Theater, Episode 46

The Mississippi state flag, which includes the Confederate battle flag as part of its design, hangs in the U.S. Capitol along the Senate subway. Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call

 

What Really Happens During Congress’ Freshman Orientation
Political Theater, Episode 45

Members-elect from left, Mikie Sherrill, D-N.J., Abigail Spanberger, D-Va., and Chrissy Houlahan, D-Pa., take a selfie after the freshman class photo on the East Front of the Capitol on November 14, 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

 

What’s my Representational Allowance? Why can’t I take pictures on the House floor? Where are the bathrooms? Newly elected lawmakers are participating in freshman orientation this week, and while it has a first day of school vibe, they should pay attention. It could save them some embarrassment, and maybe even avoid getting into hot water with the Ethics Committee or even federal authorities. Roll Call Staff Writer Katherine Tully-McManus runs down what the members-to-be are doing during freshman orientation, and why it matters.

The Midterms' Most Memorable Moments
Political Theater, Episode 44

Constituents show their disagreement as Rep. Leonard Lance, R-N.J., answers a question during his town hall meeting at the Raritan Valley Community College in Branchburg, N.J., on Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Every campaign season is defined by moments when the big picture starts to come into focus. A parade outside Kansas City where Republican Rep. Kevin Yoder is confronted about gun violence. A pizza parlor in New Jersey becomes an overflow town hall. Roll Call politics reporters Simone Pathé and Bridget Bowman and elections analyst Nathan Gonzales discuss such moments during the 2018 midterms, as well as how to address the dreaded election hangover we’re all suffering.

 

Welcome to the Marvel Political Universe
Presidential and midterm elections are now surrounded by lead-in elections

Girls dressed as characters from “Thor,” pose during an event near the Capitol reflecting pool hosted by Awesome Con in 2014. The U.S. election system is starting to take on aspects of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, a constant churn of smaller narratives setting up bigger chapters. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The American election system has become its own version of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. 

Presidential elections every four years used to be the tentpole movie that everyone went to see. Midterms, off-year special elections, primaries — those were for the real political geeks out there. Not anymore. 

‘A Private War’ Illustrates Power, and Risk, of Reporting the Truth
Political Theater, Episode 43

Matthew Heineman, Rosamund Pike and Jamie Dornan attend Aviron Pictures' Los Angeles Premiere Of "A Private War" at Samuel Goldwyn Theater on October 24, 2018 in Beverly Hills, California. (Presley Ann/Getty Images)

“I think fear comes later, when it’s all over.” Those are the words that frame “A Private War,” Matthew Heineman’s new film about the late war journalist Marie Colvin. They’re spoken first by Rosamund Pike, the actress portraying Colvin, then over the end credits by Colvin herself, a poignant bookend to a film about the courage required to seek the truth in the world’s most dangerous places. At a time when journalists around the world face threats in and out of combat zones, and are characterized as the enemy of the people, Heineman’s movie arrives at a delicate inflection point. The director, nominated for an Academy Award for his documentary “Cartel Land,” and Pike discuss their picture on the latest Political Theater Podcast. 

Explosive Rhetoric Ramping Up, But Do Voters Care?
Political Theater Podcast, Episode 42

The recent bomb threats against prominent public figures are just one example of the escalating rhetoric in the political arena. But what effect does it have on voters? (CQ Roll Call file photo)

Praising violence against reporters. Sending pipe bombs to public figures. Threatening political opponents. The fiery rhetoric is in full swing as the nation enters the homestretch of the 2018 midterm election. Is any of it changing voters’ attitudes or behavior? Roll Call Senior Political Writer Simone Pathé and Inside Elections Editor Nathan Gonzales discuss the effect of all the bad vibes on the electorate. 

Messing With Texas, Midterm Edition
In the Lone Star State, it’s not just about Beto and Cruz

A woman flies a Texas flag at a 2005 rally in the Upper Senate Park. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Yes, the Texas Senate race between Republican Sen. Ted Cruz and Democratic Rep. Beto O’Rourke gets a 72-ounce steak’s worth of attention in politics, what with Willie Nelson and President Donald Trump weighing in with their preferences and all. 

But regardless of who emerges from that Texas two-step, several other races will go a long way toward determining the House majority, and whether the Lone Star State might be moving toward swing/purple status.