Jason Dick

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. 

Analysis: Big Flashpoints in the Judicial Confirmation Wars
Filibusters, blockades and recriminations set stage for SCOTUS skirmishes

Like any long war, the one over Supreme Court nominees can be defined by its bloodiest battles.

As Congress braces for a bruising high court confirmation fight, a few recent congressional episodes have provided ammunition for both sides in the contentious process of staffing the judicial branch of government. 

‘I’ll Go Somewhere Else’ — Roll Call Photographers Under the Lens
What makes a good Capitol image? Knowing where not to go sometimes

It could be the unofficial motto of Roll Call: Photos of powerful people don’t have to suck. 

“I’ll go somewhere else and kind of take my chances,” says staff photographer Tom Williams, referring to the times when he sees a group of photographers gathering in the Capitol, even when they might have the best angle for a shot. 

Podcast: A Peek at Congress
Political Theater, Episode 26

Photographers Bill Clark and Tom Williams are veteran journalists whose images define not just Roll Call but also the new book “Under the Dome” by Political Theater host Jason Dick. They discussed their craft and approach in the latest Political Theater podcast. “One of the sayings we’ve always kind of had here is, is the closer you get to the podium, the worse the photo gets,” Clark says in a freewheeling conversation with Williams and Dick. 


Washington Misses Out on Chance for Queens vs. Queens
Joe Crowley’s loss means no New York state of mind for Pennsylvania Avenue

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

Ah, what could have been: Two boisterous guys from Queens hurling insults at one another. 

GOP Senators to Dems: You Can’t Stop Supreme Court Appointment by Fall
McConnell states next justice will be confirmed before midterms

Senate Republican leaders on Wednesday quickly laid out the game plan for confirming a replacement for retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, wasting no time in stating they intended to confirm a new justice before the fall elections and flatly claiming there was literally nothing Democrats could do to delay that. 

“The Senate stands ready to fulfill its constitutional role by offering advice and consent on President Trump’s nominee to fill this vacancy. We will vote to confirm Justice Kennedy’s successor this fall,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on the floor just minutes after the news of Kennedy’s retirement broke. 

Podcast: New York, I Love You But You’re Bringing Joe Crowley Down
Political Theater, Episode 25

House Democratic Caucus Chairman Joseph Crowley is the seemingly archetypal New York pol: A big, blue collar, Bruce Springsteen loving, guitar slinging Irishman from Queens whose booming presence secured a spot as a possible speaker-in-waiting. But politics can change things abruptly. Witness the 10-term Crowley's primary loss to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a newcomer who turned the incumbent’s Capitol influence on its head. In this week’s Political Theater Podcast, host Jason Dick discusses with Roll Call Elections Analyst Nathan Gonzales how the results show the Democratic establishment just isn’t what it used to be.

Listen to the latest:

Loss Leaders: When Voters Send Congressional Bosses Packing
Primary loss of Joseph Crowley just most recent example of electorate weighing in

New York Rep. Joseph Crowley’s primary loss on Tuesday sent shock waves through the political system. But the House Democratic Caucus chairman’s defeat was far from the first time a congressional leader’s career has been abruptly halted by the voters.

It was just four years ago Virginia Republicans elevated a little-known economics professor named Dave Brat over Eric Cantor, the House majority leader. Like Crowley, Cantor was viewed as a strong contender to some day be speaker. These two men do represent something of a new trend, though: leaders losing primaries. The most recent examples of leaders losing has typically happened in the general election. 

The Story Behind 'Under the Dome': Humans of Capitol Hill
Reporter's Notebook — An executive summary of our biggest stories, from the reporters themselves

Managing Editor Jason Dick searched through the tens of thousands of photos in the CQ Roll Call archives to tell a different kind of story of American democracy. He and Visuals Editor Gillian Roberts talk about the tough decisions needed to make "Under the Dome" — a photo book out July 1 — a reality....
Congressional Women’s Softball Is No Dry Affair
Game provides a respite from the daily travails in the Capitol

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

In baseball, “Bull Durham,” teaches us, “Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose and sometimes it rains.” In softball, the Congressional Women’s Softball Game teaches us, “Sometimes, you win, sometimes it rains, and you always raise money for a good cause.” And so the 10th annual slugfest is in the books, with a 5-0 victory by the Bad News Babes press team over the members of Congress. 

Podcast: What the Congressional Softball Game Says About Lawmakers
Political Theater, Episode 24

Journalists and lawmakers face off at the annual Congressional Women’s Softball Game, an event that Roll Call political Reporter Bridget Bowman and Texas Tribune Bureau Chief Abby Livingston say provides a respite from Capitol Hill partisanship. ...
How Life Imitates the Congressional Baseball Game
The annual classic brings out a softer side 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.

“This game is a situation of which, you’re a product of your political success, so if you have a good political year, you have a good recruiting year for this game.” So said former Rep. David Bonior, D-Mich., many years ago about the Congressional Baseball Game and the teams each party gets to field. 

The History of the Congressional Baseball Game

The annual baseball face-off between Republicans and Democrats continues Thursday evening at 7:05 p.m. Roll Call editor Jason Dick takes a step back to recap the history of the game, Roll Call's involvement in its renaissance and more. ...
Podcast: Congressional Baseball Game Enters New Era
Political Theater, Episode 23

Raccoon Tales: When a Critter Scaled the Capitol Dome
That time when a raccoon took shelter from crows on the Dome

Wednesday’s raccoon adventures in Minnesota reminded the Roll Call crew of way back in May 2000, when we were alerted to a Procyon lotor’s scaling of the Capitol Dome. He likely was looking for a bird’s nest, but then took refuge in the Dome’s columns after crows started dive-bombing him. 

Eventually, Capitol workers and D.C. Animal Shelter captured the raccoon and helped him down off the Dome to safety. 

The 4 Speakers (And One President) Behind the Names of the House Office Buildings
Undercover Capitol takes you inside the historic workplace — one video at a time

Editor Jason Dick tells the story of the men behind the names of the House office buildings, and how their legacies shaped Congress....
The August of Our Discontent
What if they canceled recess and no one cared?

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

For the second year in a row, the Senate has curtailed its August recess