Every Thursday, the Spy hosts a conversation with Al From and Craig Fuller on the most topical political news of the moment.
This week, From and Fuller discuss the Republican members of the House of Representatives’ failure to elect a new Speaker and 1st District Congressman Andy Harris’s role of far-right members opposed to Kevin McCarty. Al and Craig also discuss how this leadership crisis will impact future legislative action over the next two years.
This video podcast is approximately 20 minutes in length.
To listen to the audio podcast version, please use this link:
While the Spy’s public affairs mission has always been hyper-local, it has never limited us from covering national, or even international issues, that impact the communities we serve. With that in mind, we were delighted that Al From and Craig Fuller, both highly respected Washington insiders, have agreed to a new Spy video project called “The Analysis of From and Fuller” over the next year.
The Spy and our region are very lucky to have such an accomplished duo volunteer for this experiment. While one is a devoted Democrat and the other a lifetime Republican, both had long careers that sought out the middle ground of the American political spectrum.
Al From, the genius behind the Democratic Leadership Council’s moderate agenda which would eventually lead to the election of Bill Clinton, has never compromised from this middle-of-the-road philosophy. This did not go unnoticed in a party that was moving quickly to the left in the 1980s. Including progressive Howard Dean saying that From’s DLC was the Republican wing of the Democratic Party.
From’s boss, Bill Clinton, had a different perspective. He said it would be hard to think of a single American citizen who, as a private citizen, has had a more positive impact on the progress of American life in the last 25 years than Al From.”
Al now lives in Annapolis and spends his semi-retirement as a board member of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University (his alma mater) and authoring New Democrats and the Return to Power. He also is an adjunct faculty member at Johns Hopkins’ Krieger School and recently agreed to serve on the Annapolis Spy’s Board of Visitors. He is the author of “New Democrats and the Return to Power.”
For Craig Fuller, his moderation in the Republican party was a rare phenomenon. With deep roots in California’s GOP culture of centralism, Fuller, starting with a long history with Ronald Reagan, leading to his appointment as Reagan’s cabinet secretary at the White House, and later as George Bush’s chief-of-staff and presidential campaign manager was known for his instincts to find the middle ground. Even more noted was his reputation of being a nice guy in Washington, a rare characteristic for a successful tenure in the White House.
Craig has called Easton his permanent home for the last five years, where now serves on the boards of the Academy Art Museum, the Benedictine School, and Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum. He also serves on the Spy’s Board of Visitors.
With their rich experience and long history of friendship, now joined by their love of the Chesapeake Bay, they have agreed through the magic of Zoom, to talk inside politics and policy with the Spy every Thursday.
Letters to Editor
Reed Fawell 3 says
Enlightening discussion. Yes, the risk that the remarkably thin margins in today’s House majority might well empower a small number of zealots (3 to 5) to ignite chaos are real. But those margin also hold great potential for beneficial and hugely needed change. For, if the GOP needle can negotiate its way through those thin margins, it might well drain the swamp that fuels two toxic trends that are suffocating our Republic and leading it into ruin. These twin monsters strangling the People’s House include the rise of crony and corrupt congressional political bosses like ‘Tip’ O’Neill and Nancy Pelosi, and also the rise of strong man tribal political bosses like Donald Trump and LBJ and Woodrow Wilson before him. These overly concentrated forces of ideological and personal political power are what is destroying our constitutional political system, not vigorous debate arguing for a return to regular order in the People’s House.
Reed Fawell 3 says
Early this morning, the GOP needle threaded a pathway through the remarkably narrow margins of the GOP majority over the Democratic minority in the House. In so doing, the GOP forged a new majority of House members to elect a new Speaker together with amended rules that will open the People’s House into a truly deliberative body legislators that welcomes the input of all its representatives, so as to gain for itself at least an opportunity to forge legislation that represents fairly the collective interests and will of a majority of the American people, while respecting and honoring the rights of the minority. This historic action holds the potential to liberate the People’s House from the grip and dictates of a tyrannical autocracy of the GOP or Democratic Party that has abused the peoples’ rights under the American Republic for far too long.
The risks inherent in this noble venture are obvious and great, holding a potential alternative for anarchy, followed by the reactive knee jerk return to the iron fist rule of tyrants. But now at least there is an opening to return to the vision and opportunity given at our founding, before our free Republic collapses altogether, as have all Republics going before us in world history.
Tom Dennis says
An “on target” assessment by Craig and Al of the real-time spectacle that is degrading the Speaker’s role, the viability of the House to consider legislation, and the outsized role ANDY HARRIS is playing. Thanks for making it clear to readers what’s at stake and how the tyranny of the minority (Freedom Caucus)is undermining not only the selection of a Speaker but more importantly the capacity of the House to function as a governing body.
ANDY HARRIS as the Chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies, or any other leadership role in the House? The thought is simply frightening. Now in his 6th term, the only legislation he has sponsored that became law was the naming of a Post Office in Salisbury. If you check with his colleagues on both sides of the aisle, ANDY HARRIS is one of the most disliked and ineffective Members of the House. Like all of his ultra-right colleagues who are holding the House hostage, ANDY HARRIS is a bomb thrower and could care less about governing.
HARRIS dislodging its current Chairman, Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK), one of the brightest, most effective, and respected House republicans? It won’t be tolerated by his colleagues. For all we know, Mr. Cole could be the consensus candidate should McCarthy fail.
But Al From took the suggestion out of my mouth with his mention of former-Member Fred Upton (R-MI). Seasoned, respected by both parties, and a student of the House, Upton could be a historic selection. Rep. Steve Scalise is a more likely choice. But would he or any other choice accept the concessions McCarthy has caved to?
If those who are standing in the schoolhouse door blocking McCarty fail, each of them might be assigned to the new Parking Lot Committee where they can all fight to become its Chairman. Until then, we will continue watching the members of the “chaos caucus” in their efforts to destroy the House of Representatives. May cooler heads prevail.
Thanks again Craig and AL.