Related Content: Gwen's Take

Debating the Debate: When Words Substitute for Action

Gwen's Take

As Washington’s debt ceiling debate approaches its deadline, those of us who watch and cover it anxiously await its drop-dead date. Or its do or die moment. Or, its my-way-or-the-highway climax.

Skyrocketing interest rates. Huge tax hikes. Bottom lines. Gimmicks. Smoke and mirrors. Ticking clocks.
You name it, someone has said it.

Eating One’s Peas and Other Dilemmas

Gwen's Take

It’s a conundrum. We in the news business are constantly justifying to ourselves why we cover the stories we cover, and why you should care.

It is the second part of that formula that confounds news decision makers on a daily basis. Because if you don’t care, you don’t watch. And we kind of like it when you watch.

Grand Bargains: Why they are so elusive

Gwen's Take

I’ve been afflicted this week with a disorienting sense of déjà vu that affects any reporter who has covered Washington long enough. Even the most consequential and operatic standoffs begin to seem eerily familiar.

Scolding and Scheming: Politics at its best

Gwen's Take

Updated: July 8, 2011 | 12:00 p.m

The President knotted his tie and strode into the White House press briefing room Thursday to announce that he’d just concluded a “very constructive” meeting with members of Congress.

Dog Whistle politics:

Gwen's Take

You talking to ME?

The past several days have handed me a cluster of excuses to return to one of my favorite topics: what happens when politicians speak in code. Known in some circles as dog-whistle politics – saying one thing intended to be heard only by those with sensitized hearing – it’s recently been on varied display.

Our Washington Week Panelists: Getting the Story

Gwen's Take

My flight from Seattle had just touched down at Reagan Washington National airport late Sunday night when I clicked on my BlackBerry. It immediately began buzzing with an alarming stream of emails and tweets.

Obama & Palin: The Script’s the Same

Gwen's Take

Imagine how proudly gratified I was this week to scroll through my Twitter feed and discover that Barack Obama and Sarah Palin have so much in common.

Confidence, Conviction and Campaign 2012

Gwen's Take

I once covered a politician who was a very certain man.

He remained convinced throughout his public career that he knew best – certainly better than any naysayer, political opponent or reporter.

His certainty got things done, but you had to accept that his priorities and values were the correct ones. He acted first and accepted – but did not welcome -- questions later. He was a Democrat, but only because that’s how you got elected in Baltimore. And he was unwavering.

The Bully Pulpit Advantage

Gwen's Take

Budgets, Deficits and 2012

A few weeks ago, I mused in this space about why anyone would want to be President. This week, I had an epiphany. And so did Rep. Paul Ryan.

To understand this, it helps to be a student of the orchestrated political rollout. That’s when an individual carefully plots out in advance what he or she wants the next day’s headline to read – and then pulls it off.

Ideology vs Idiocy: The Shutdown Showdown

Gwen's Take

As the shutdown showdown approached its third or fourth climax late this week, I found myself in Flint, Michigan, the former General Motors manufacturing powerhouse, where the unemployment rate still stands at nearly 12 percent and people can be forgiven for casting a skeptical eye on government.

But I was far enough away from Washington that I thought this would be a good time to test a pet hypothesis. The hysteria over the standoff threatening to cripple the national government was, I was convinced, a Washington obsession.