political-theater

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

Senator here, farmer there. Montana Democrat Jon Tester is in a competitive re-election race back home. He also has a star turn in the new political documentary “Dark Money.” Listen to our Podcast about the movie. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

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

Political Theater

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. 

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

Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, demonstrates his hula hoop abilities in front of the U.S. Capitol during the National Women’s Law Center and Mom’s Rising event calling for Pre-K education for all on Sept. 18, 2013. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

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

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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

Back in the day: Rep. Gary L. Ackerman, D-N.Y., right, joins Joseph Crowley in 1986 at Crowley’s victory party for winning a seat in the New York State Assembly. (Courtesy Rep. Joseph Crowley’s office/CQ Roll Call file photo)

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. 

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

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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:

Congressional Women’s Softball Is No Dry Affair
Game provides a respite from the daily travails in the Capitol

Members of the Press team interact with Speaker Paul D. Ryan before the softball game against members of Congress Wednesday June 20, 2018. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

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. 

How Life Imitates the Congressional Baseball Game
The annual classic brings out a softer side of the legislative branch

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., escorted by U.S. Capitol Police Special Agent David Bailey, leaves the House Republican Conference meeting at the Capitol Hill Club in Washington on Wednesday. Scalise was shot and injured last year at a practice for the Congressional Baseball Game. Bailey was also injured in the attack. Unable to play last year because of his injuries, Scalise will be on the field at Thursday’s game. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

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 August of Our Discontent
What if they canceled recess and no one cared?

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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

‘Bobby Kennedy for President’ Highlights a Capitol Legacy
Netflix documentary explores history of late senator’s career

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

The Netflix series “Bobby Kennedy for President,” is a pretty in-depth look not just of the late New York Democratic senator’s presidential run, but his time in the Senate, as attorney general, campaign aide, congressional staffer and the evolution of his political beliefs.