Ron Elving

Ron Elving is Senior Editor and Correspondent on the Washington Desk for NPR News, where he is frequently heard as a news analyst and writes regularly for NPR.org.

He is also a professorial lecturer and Executive in Residence in the School of Public Affairs at American University, where he has also taught in the School of Communication. In 2016, he was honored with the University Faculty Award for Outstanding Teaching in an Adjunct Appointment. He has also taught at George Mason and Georgetown.

He was previously the political editor for USA Today and for Congressional Quarterly. He has been published by the Brookings Institution and the American Political Science Association. He has contributed chapters on Obama and the media and on the media role in Congress to the academic studies Obama in Office 2011, and Rivals for Power, 2013. Ron's earlier book, Conflict and Compromise: How Congress Makes the Law, was published by Simon & Schuster and is also a Touchstone paperback.

During his tenure as manager of NPR's Washington desk from 1999 to 2014, the desk's reporters were awarded every major recognition available in radio journalism, including the Dirksen Award for Congressional Reporting and the Edward R. Murrow Award from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. In 2008, the American Political Science Association awarded NPR the Carey McWilliams Award "in recognition of a major contribution to the understanding of political science."

Ron came to Washington in 1984 as a Congressional Fellow with the American Political Science Association and worked for two years as a staff member in the House and Senate. Previously, he had been state capital bureau chief for The Milwaukee Journal.

He received his bachelor's degree from Stanford University and master's degrees from the University of Chicago and the University of California – Berkeley.

When President Woodrow Wilson was casting about for an attorney general in 1919, his private secretary Joseph Tumulty wrote that the office "had great power politically ... we should not trust it to anyone who is not heart and soul with us."

Eric Holder's great qualification for the job he has just resigned was that he was with the president he served — heart and soul.

His complicated role in Barack Obama's administration was inextricably bound to race — he was the first African-American U.S. attorney general, appointed by the first African-American president.

Over the weekend, White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough was asked on NBC's Meet the Press what victory would look like in the new struggle against Islamist extremists in Iraq.

"Success looks like an ISIL that no longer threatens our friends in the region, that no longer threatens the United States," McDonough said.

Vague as that is, it may be the best answer available at the moment. And that is a problem.

Tanned and rested after a five-week summer vacation, Congress has returned for a brief session before returning home to campaign for re-election. This autumn session is expected to last a couple of weeks, give or take a couple of days.

What can be accomplished in so short a time? A great deal, if House and Senate choose to work together. Or nothing, if they don't. If you are wondering which will happen, you haven't been watching the 113th Congress up to now.

With the stunning conviction of former Virginia GOP Gov. Bob McDonnell and his wife on corruption charges, people are once again posing that age old question: Why do so many politicians get into trouble with the law?

The list of reasons comes as a shock because it's so short. The mighty are laid low by the same three temptations, over and over.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Sen. Lamar Alexander easily dispatched rival Republican Joe Carr in the Tennessee primary Thursday, completing a clean sweep for this year's Senate incumbents who faced intraparty challengers claiming the Tea Party label.

Yet while they were winless, the hard-core conservatives intent on selecting a Senate more to their liking this year were far from utterly defeated. All of the challenged GOP incumbents reacted to the pressure by working to reconfirm their credentials with conservatives. This held true even for those whose credentials should have been least in doubt.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Congress is heading into its last week before taking a summer recess. For a change, lawmakers are not racing the clock to overt a fiscal calamity. Still, the standoff between the two parties has all but stopped the process of governing.

It's nice to see Sarah Palin back in the news. Nice, that is, if you're a Sarah fan — or if you're a Democrat, or a member of the media.

Palin's fans, and they are legion on the right, love her reliably tough-talking take on how conservatives should fight President Obama and his use of executive power to circumvent Congress.

The next Republican nominated for president will take the stage and wave to the crowd in ... wait for it ... Cleveland, Ohio.

That may shock you for any number of reasons, not least being that hardly anyone remembers the last time Cleveland hosted a national convention.

In fact, it was 1936, when the GOP went there to nominate a guy named Alf Landon, who carried exactly two states in November. It was the worst showing by a Republican nominee in U.S. history, which may have something to do with Cleveland's long wait for another try.

Howard Baker, who died Thursday at age 88, was a former Senate majority leader and chief of staff to President Reagan. Both his father and stepmother served in Congress; one of the Senate's office buildings is named for Baker's father-in-law, Everett Dirksen.

Pages