Jason Dick

The ‘Emotional Space’ Inside High-Stakes Diplomacy
Looking back at Obama, looking square at Trump

Welcome back to Political Theater, Roll Call’s newsletter and podcast on the spectacle of politics and how it fits, or doesn’t, into the nation’s culture. Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here

The civil war in Syria. Boko Haram. Russia. Climate change. American foreign policy operates in a high-stakes environment in a very public glare. And in 2016, in the midst of a contentious election year, President Barack Obama oversaw a team of players trying to solidify a legacy in his last year in office. Documentary filmmaker Greg Barker went along for the ride, from the cramped quarters of the West Wing to an emotional speech at Hiroshima, Japan for his new film, “The Final Year.”

Roll Call Reviews Obama’s ‘The Final Year’: A Documentary on the Last Days of a West Wing Team
 

Roll Call editor Jason Dick shares his thoughts on “The Final Year,” an HBO documentary in theaters Jan. 19 that chronicles the outgoing Obama administration’s last year, focusing on its foreign policy efforts.

Podcast: Ordinary People, Extraordinary Times in Obama's 'Final Year'
Political Theater, Episode 2

Watch: ‘The Final Year’ Captures the Personal Narrative of Global Politics

“The Final Year,” director Greg Barker’s documentary about a year in the life of the Obama administration’s foreign policy team, opens this Friday in theaters. It traces 2016 through the eyes of Secretary of State John Kerry, U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power, National Security Adviser Susan Rice, Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes and, of course President Barack Obama as they navigate the challenges of high-stakes diplomacy in an election year.

Political Football, Donald Trump-Style
Podcast: Political Theater, Episode 1

Welcome to Political Theater, Roll Call’s podcast and newsletter on the spectacle of politics and how it fits, or doesn’t, into the nation’s culture. Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here

President Donald Trump loves football. He played in high school. He owned a USFL team, the New Jersey Generals. He tried to buy the Buffalo Bills. He inserted himself into the NFL imbroglio over players kneeling during the National Anthem. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise he attended part of the College Football Championship Game in Atlanta on Monday between the University of Alabama and University of Georgia. 

Whether Broom Closets or Cozy Cabins, Capitol Hideaways Are a Choice Senate Perk
Undercover Capitol takes you inside the historic workplace — one video at a time

Senate Panel to Consider Rules Change
Resolution would cut debate time on the floor for nominees

Senate Republicans are readying another rule change to the chamber, this one aimed at reducing the number of hours the chamber debates executive and judicial nominees. 

The Rules and Administration Committee will meet on Tuesday to consider a resolution sponsored by Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., that would reduce the time the chamber debates nominees drastically from the current 30 hours after debate is cut off. 

Paul Ryan Departure Circus Swings Into High Gear
Reports point to resignation, retirement

One report speculated he would quit after the tax overhaul was signed into law. Another said he was done after the 2018 elections, opting for retirement after 10 terms. For his own part, Speaker Paul D. Ryan says he’s not leaving in the near term. And Donald Trump says he wants the Wisconsin Republican to stick around.

The will-he-or-won’t he game started early on Thursday in the wake of a HuffPost report that stated members were beginning to speculate Ryan would hang it up after the tax bill was done, a long time priority for the former Ways and Means Committee chairman. 

Podcast: Alabama, Tangled Up in Blue
Doug Jones victory down South scrambles politics, legislation

Roll Call politics reporter Bridget Bowman, who is on the ground in Alabama, discusses how Democrat Doug Jones’ win is reverberating in the political sphere and how it could affect Congress in the coming year as lawmakers prepare for the 2018 midterm elections. 

Show Notes:

Reading Clerk Steals Spotlight in Impeachment Show
To say the word or spell it out? Susan Cole chose to spell one choice word out

The latest testament to how unusual this year in Congress has been came Wednesday, when the reading clerk of the House of Representatives spelled out the word “bitch” on the chamber floor. 

It was just part of the theatrics of the day, as the House voted overwhelmingly to kill articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump. 

Picture This: A ‘Perfecto’ Final Tax Bill
As House, Senate negotiate, president raises expectations

The House and Senate are not even in formal conference negotiations on a tax overhaul measure yet, but the expectation from the White House is clear: It’s got to be “perfecto.”

On a day of increasing uncertainty over how to fund the government past Dec. 8, President Donald Trump hosted a small group of Senate Republicans at the White House and placed his marker. 

Podcast: Why Democrats Are Willing to Play Ball With Trump
The Big Story, Episode 81

Even though Democratic leaders snubbed President Donald Trump's invitation to the White House this week, it doesn't mean they don't want to negotiate with him. Roll Call's White House reporter John T. Bennett explains.

 

Bill Nye, from Science Guy to Science Statesman
Advocate for science raising profile in policy and with new film

In one corner is a roster of climate change deniers who now run key congressional committees and the Environmental Protection Agency. In the other corner is Bill Nye the Science Guy, arguably the scientific community’s biggest advocate.

“I’ve got to fight this fight,” Nye says in the forthcoming documentary “Bill Nye: Science Guy,” as he hits back against a growing anti-science movement that questions evolution and humans’ contribution to climate change.

Podcast: All Politics Is State and Local
The Big Story, Episode 80

All politics is state and local.

Positions on the Republican tax legislation break down not just on a partisan level but regional ones. That's because several members of the House, including vulnerable Republicans, represent high-tax states like New York and New Jersey where their constituents currently deduct state and local taxes from their federal returns. 

Ready or Not, Here It Comes Again: ‘11/8/16’
 

Roll Call editor Jason Dick got an early screening of the documentary, out Friday on Netflix and iTunes, that relives Election Day 2016 through the experiences of 16 ordinary Americans....
Behind the Scenes, Filmmakers Capture a Candid ‘11/8/16’
Documentary details a country divided, except in electoral ritual

You might not be ready to relive last year’s historic Election Day, but the makers of the new documentary “11/8/16” are betting that the individual stories of people — from Massachusetts to Hawaii — confronting that epic political turning point will make for compelling viewing. 

The movie, which weaves together the stories of 16 different main characters from the morning, noon and night of Nov. 8, 2016, and eventually the early morning of Nov. 9, doesn’t just take the viewer into voting booths. It reveals the routines of these people as they hang out, eat, get haircuts, get their kids to school and soak in an election that has defined our public life since.

RFK Stadium’s Next Phase: To Revitalize Capitol Hill Icon, Congress Must Act
 

The Redskins played five Super Bowl seasons there, the Stones and Grateful Dead graced its stage — and on Sunday, after the D.C. United soccer team plays its last game of the season there, RFK Stadium will have no major league tenant for the first time in its 56 years. Its showing its age, and District officials want Congress to ensure the city can secure the federally owned property’s future as a green and vibrant cultural destination....
Meet Pat Tiberi, the Latest Soon-to-Be-Ex-Congressman
Ohio policy wonk liked his bocce

Rep. Pat Tiberi, the Ohio Republican who announced it was quitting time on Thursday, is a serious policy wonk with deep political roots in the Buckeye State and a big fan of bocce, befitting his celebration of his Italian heritage.

An unapologetic Midwestern Rotary Club-type Republican in the mode of his political patrons, former Speaker John A. Boehner and Gov. John R. Kasich, Tiberi will leave Congress by Jan. 31 — before his ninth term in the House ends — and become head of the Ohio Business Roundtable.

Podcast: Reading Is Fundamental, Just Not Always in Congress
The Big Story, Episode 76

Do lawmakers read or understand the legislation they pass? They are about to pass a budget resolution they say isn’t about the budget and passed legislation last year that defanged the DEA during an opioid epidemic. Roll Call senior Senate reporter Niels Lesniewski walks through what’s going on.