Morton Kondracke

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Morton Kondracke
Born Morton Matt Kondracke[1]
(1939-04-28) April 28, 1939 (age 77)
Chicago, IL, U.S.
Status Married
Education Dartmouth College
Georgetown University
Occupation Contributing Writer – Roll Call
Spouse(s) Millicent Martinez (Deceased)
Marguerite Sallee (2006–present)
Children Andrea
Alexandra
Website http://rollcall.com

Morton Matt Kondracke (/kənˈdræki/; born April 28, 1939) is an American political commentator and journalist. He became well known due to a long stint as a panelist on The McLaughlin Group. Kondracke worked for several major publications, serving for twenty years as executive editor and columnist for the non-partisan Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call. He was also co-host of The Beltway Boys of Fox News Channel and was a regular nightly contributor of Special Report with Brit Hume and Special Report with Bret Baier.

Professional career[edit]

Kondracke was born in Chicago, Illinois, the son of Genevieve Marta (née Abrams) and Matthew Kondracke. His father was of Polish descent, while his maternal grandfather was from a Jewish family.[2] Kondracke graduated from Joliet Township High School during 1956, and from Dartmouth College during 1960. While at Dartmouth, he majored in English and was president of The Dartmouth newspaper.[3] After college, Kondracke joined the U.S. Army and served in Washington, DC in the Counter Intelligence Corps while pursuing graduate work at Georgetown University and working part-time for the newspaper Washington Star. After quitting the Army during 1963, Kondracke joined the staff of the newspaper Chicago Sun-Times, transferring to the paper's Washington bureau during 1968, eventually becoming White House correspondent during 1974. In that role, his name was listed on the master list of Nixon political opponents.[4] He was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University, 1973–1974.

Kondracke left the Sun-Times during 1977 to become executive editor of the news magazine The New Republic. He worked there until 1985 when he left to become Washington Bureau Chief for Newsweek magazine. In the meantime, his increased profile led to commentary positions at National Public Radio, This Week with David Brinkley and The Wall Street Journal.

During 1982, he joined The McLaughlin Group as one of the original panelists, a position he had for 16 years. Moderator John McLaughlin consistently teased him by pronouncing his name "MORE-tahn", emphasizing the two syllables separately. And when guest panelist Mortimer Zuckerman appeared with Kondracke on the show as he did several times, McLaughlin would claim to be "MORT-ified".

During 1984, he was a panelist for the second televised debate (on foreign policy) between President Ronald Reagan and Democratic challenger Walter Mondale.

During 1991, Kondracke began serving as executive editor of Roll Call, retiring during 2011.[5] During October 1998, he began co-hosting his own television series, The Beltway Boys, with Fred Barnes on the Fox News Channel. He was also a regular nightly contributor of Special Report with Brit Hume on the same network. Kondracke also wrote a twice-weekly column in "Roll Call" ["Pennsylvania Avenue"] that was syndicated by Newspaper Enterprise Association, part of United Media. During 2010, he became main interviewer for the Jack Kemp Foundation's Oral History Project, performing more than 100 interviews with teammates, colleagues, staff members and family of the late Representative, presidential and vice-presidential candidate and Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. For two academic years, he had the Jack Kemp Chair in Political Economy at the Kluge Center for Scholars at the Library of Congress, conducting research for a Kemp biography.

In the 1996 sci-fi movie Independence Day, Mort Kondracke appears in the beginning of the movie on the morning talk show The McLaughlin Group speaking about the ineffectual leadership of President Thomas J. Whitmore (Bill Pullman) saying, "Leadership as a pilot in the Gulf War has no relationship to political leadership. It's a different animal."[6] He also appeared in the 1993 movie, Dave (1993).

Personal life[edit]

During 1967, Kondracke married Millicent Martinez, a half Jewish, half Mexican liberal activist. They had two children, movie-maker Alexandra and Andrea, now a medical doctor. Kondracke struggled with alcoholism during the 1980s, and he credits Millicent for helping him end his addiction by 1987. During 1988, Millicent was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. Her long struggle with the disease caused Kondracke to become an advocate for Parkinson's disease research and for increased government spending on medical research. Millicent Kondracke grew increasingly incapacitated by the disease and died on July 22, 2004.

Kondracke detailed his family's struggle with Parkinson's in a 2001 book called Saving Milly: Love, Politics, and Parkinson's Disease (ISBN 0-345-45197-X). The book was the basis of a CBS television movie called Saving Milly, starring Madeleine Stowe and Bruce Greenwood, which was broadcast on March 13, 2005.

On May 6, 2006, Kondracke married Marguerite Sallee, CEO of America's Promise.[7] He is a trustee of Dartmouth College, a board member of the Parkinson's Action Network and a member of the Founders Council of the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research.

Works[edit]

  • Saving Milly: Love, Politics, and Parkinson's Disease, PublicAffairs, 2001, ISBN 9781586480370
  • Enough Already, PublicAffairs, 2007, ISBN 9781586484859
  • Morton Kondracke, Fred Barnes, Jack Kemp: The Bleeding-Heart Conservative Who Changed America, Penguin, 2015, ISBN 9780698174993

References[edit]

External links[edit]