Jack Germond has been covering national politics and Washington since 1960. He spent 20 years with the Gannett papers, then eight with the still-lamented Washington Star and more than 20 with the Baltimore Sun. He and his partner, Jules Witcover, wrote a syndicated column five days a week from 1977 through 2000, and four books about the 1980, 1984, 1988, and 1992 presidential campaigns. Germond's memoir is called Fat Man in a Middle Seat—Forty Years of Covering Politics; he has just completed his first novel. He and his wife, Alice, live on the Shenandoah River in West Virginia, where he enjoys watching the birds and playing the horses.

The budget-slashing congressman seems to think he's beyond the normal rules of politics. Jack Germond on why he's crazy to take on Medicare.

Why do pols like Rick Santorum with no real shot at the White House keep running? The lure of TV celebrity makes even the most unlikely prospect press ahead for a while, writes Jack W. Germond.