The spring Perspectives with Peter Beinart series opens with an evening examining the new order in Washington. The discussion features Gail Collins, columnist for the New York Times, and Mike Allen, chief political correspondent for Politico. Peter Beinart is a faculty member at CUNY's Graduate Center and Graduate School of Journalism and a senior political writer for the Daily Beast.
Mike Allen is the chief White House correspondent for Politico. Previously, he held the same position at TIME magazine. Prior to that, Allen spent six years at The Washington Post, where he covered President George W. Bush’s first term, Capitol Hill, campaign finance, and the presidential campaigns of 2000. Before turning to national politics, Allen covered schools and local governments in rural counties outside Fredericksburg, Va., for The Free Lance-Star, then wrote about Doug Wilder, Oliver North, Chuck Robb, and the Bobbitts for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, where he nurtured police sources on overnight ride-alongs through housing projects. Allen also covered Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, the Connecticut statehouse, and other topics for The New York Times. Prior to that, Allen did stints in the Richmond and Alexandria bureaus of The Washington Post.
Peter Beinart is associate professor of journalism and political science at the City University of New York. He is also a contributor to The Atlantic and National Journal, a senior columnist at Haaretz, a CNN Political Commentator, and a senior fellow at The New America Foundation.
Gail Collins joined the New York Times in 1995 as a member of the editorial board and later as an Op-Ed columnist. In 2001 she became the first woman ever appointed editor of the Times's editorial page.
At the beginning of 2007, she stepped down and began a leave in order to finish her new book: When Everything Changed: The Amazing Journey of American Women from 1960 to the Present. She returned to the Times as a columnist in July 2007.
Before joining the Times, Ms. Collins was a columnist at New York Newsday and the New York Daily News, and a reporter for United Press International.
Her first jobs in journalism were in Connecticut, where she founded the Connecticut State News Bureau, which provided coverage of the state capitol and Connecticut politics. When she sold it in 1977, the CSNB was the largest news service of its kind in the country, with more than 30 weekly and daily newspaper chains.
Journalists Gail Collins and Mike Allen discuss the likelihood of Mitt Romney making a successful bid for president in 2012. Allen argues that Romney's good looks are his best chance at becoming President because "looking the part counts in America."
Collins counters, saying Romney doesn't have a chance because he flip-flops on political issues. Moreover, jeers Collins, "The man drove to Canada with his dog strapped to the roof of his car."
Mike Allen and Gail Collins weigh in on the debate over pension reform. Collins addresses the need for specific reforms across the public sector. "Disability is really abused. A lot of people retire on disability that shouldn't be allowed to," argues Collins. She also highlights the public sectors' inefficient retirement system, in which few benefit.