political-theater-podcast

The state of lobbying is, well, pretty darn good
Political Theater Podcast, Episode 56

Political Theater host Jason Dick, left, and CQ Roll Call lobbying reporter Kate Ackley discuss the state of lobbying with Julian Ha of Heidrick & Struggles. (Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call)

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

Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., a presidential candidate, gives a thumbs-up to Rep. Billy Long, R-Mo., as senators arrive in the House chamber for President Donald Trump’s State of the Union Address on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

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 arrives in the House chamber to deliver his State of the Union Address to a joint session of Congress in the Capitol on Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

I’m ready for my close-up, Mr. Trump
The State of the Union provides a spotlight for more than just the president

Get ready to see a lot of this at Tuesday’s State of the Union and its aftermath. Above, California Rep. John Garamendi, left, waits to do a TV news hit in the Capitol on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

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 Donald Trump delivers his State of the Union, it will be in a House chamber filled with 2020 presidential rivals. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

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.

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

Renee Tsao, left, discusses politics and the movies with Political Theater podcast host Jason Dick. (Toula Vlahou/CQ Roll Call)

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. 

When life gives you shutdowns
But hey, at least the U.S. isn’t hurtling toward Brexit

Rep. Eliot L. Engel, D-N.Y., chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, is seen on a bus Thursday, before being dropped at the Rayburn Building after President Donald Trump canceled military support for an overseas congressional trip Engel and other lawmakers were scheduled to take. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

It’s Week Four of the partial government shutdown. About 800,000 people have missed paychecks, and a lot of them are working for free at the behest of the executive branch. There is no end in sight. The State of the Union is canceled, kind of. The president tells you to cancel your military flight, but you can go ahead and fly commercial — after all, TSA is working for no money. And the only silver lining seems to be: At least we’re not Britain! 

You’re on the bus. You’re headed to the airport — and the president of the United States puts the kibosh on your trip to Afghanistan. Who hasn’t had that happen? When the commander in chief yanks military support for a dangerous trip to a war zone by someone in the presidential line of succession. 

What’s not part of the shutdown? 2020 Senate campaigns
Political Theater, Episode 52

Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa is one of 22 Republican senators up for re-election in 2020, and one of the few potentially vulnerable ones at that. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Politics never sleeps, not even during a government shutdown. That is especially true of Senate campaigns, because the unique nature of that chamber and its election cycle means folks need to be on their toes. Nathan Gonzales, the publisher of Inside Elections and Roll Call’s elections analyst, discusses which senators are the most vulnerable as the 2020 cycle ramps up, and how things like the current shutdown factor into political positions. 

Show Notes:

Congress for newbies: practical advice from a pro
Political Theater, Episode 51

Former Rep. Tom Davis, R-Va., talks about how to get things right out of the gate in your first year in Congress on Roll Call’s Political Theater podcast. (Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call).

 “Decide what kind of member of Congress you want to be,” says Tom Davis, the former congressman from Virginia. “Voters see through phoniness pretty quickly.”

The 116th Congress and the week of the woman
Elizabeth Warren on Monday, Nancy Pelosi on Thursday, and record number of women sworn in

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., is congratulated in the Capitol’s House chamber Thursday after winning the speakership on the first day of the 116th Congress. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

We’ve had a couple of Years of the Woman — 1992 and certainly 2018 could be classified that way. But this week has been a week defined by women. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren kicked it off on Monday when she announced she was running for president, and Nancy Pelosi on Thursday made history again, reclaiming the speaker’s gavel after eight years in the minority, becoming both the first and second woman to lead the House. Oh, and a record number of women will serve in the 116th Congress, 24 percent of the House, 25 percent of the Senate.

In this week’s Political Theater podcast, we discuss the new Congress and what to expect from it: A record number of women in the House and Senate, new ethics rules, divided government, maybe even hats on the House floor! And amid it all, the 2020 presidential race is already well underway.