Mark McKinnon

An award-winning media guy who has served as principal advisor for hundreds of campaigns for candidates, companies and causes around the world, Mark McKinnon is “known for his originality in a field typified by copycats, a mellow personality in a world populated with high-strung brutes and ecumenical urges in a profession dominated by its unadulterated partisans.”

McKinnon is a cofounder of No Labels, a non-profit organization dedicated to bipartisanship, civil discourse and problem solving in politics. Equally admired and criticized by both the left and right, he is a man in the middle, a voice of moderation.

McKinnon is a columnist for The Daily Beast and the Daily Telegraph.

“Just my luck. My fellow guest on Colbert is Kermit the Frog. How do you follow a muppet?!”


It’s Time to Take On Videogames and Mental-Health Care

By Mark McKinnon, Apr. 15, 2013, The Daily Beast

“It wouldn’t have stopped the shootings in Newtown.” That’s the argument some Second Amendment fanatics are adopting to criticize the proposed gun-control legislation coming forward. And my response is, so what? Though the specific language needs review and debate, if it’s good legislation, doesn’t encroach on our Second Amendment rights, and just makes sense, like closing loopholes on backgrounds checks for gun-show and Internet sales, of course our representatives should vote for it…Read more.


America Needs Marco Rubio’s Immigration Plan to Succeed

By Mark McKinnon, Apr. 13, 2013, The Daily Telegrpah (U.K.)

A new, bipartisan proposal to reform the long-troubled U.S. immigration system is expected to be introduced publicly for the first time on Tuesday by the so-called “Gang of Eight,” an unofficial committee of Senators from both the Republican and Democratic parties. And it is the young and outspoken first-term U.S. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, an American-born son of Cuban immigrants, who is the linchpin to any legislative success for the initiative this year in Congress…Read more.


Welcome to Debt Anonymous: Why America Needs to Act Now

By Mark McKinnon, Feb. 18, 2013, The Daily Beast

“If we are worried about health-care costs in the year 2025, why do we have to worry about it now?” So said the king of the debt-deniers, economist Paul Krugman, last week on Morning Joe. Wow. We don’t have a spending problem like an alcoholic doesn’t have a drinking problem…Read more.


Why Our Drone Warfare Campaign Is Right and Moral

By Mark McKinnon, Feb. 7, 2013, The Daily Beast

War is often about making the least-worst decision. The same could be said about politics. But the stakes are higher in war, when the commander in chief is called upon to defend the nation. And make no mistake, al Qaeda is at war with us still. That is why I support the Obama administration’s policy on the use of unmanned drones to kill terrorists…Read more.


American Heroes Have Fallen to Earth in a Series of Scandals

By Mark McKinnon, Feb, 2, 2013, The Daily Telegraph (U.K.)

America’s heroes have always been cowboys. They’ve always been part of the American love story as they rode hard, worked hard, and dreamed big. And at the end of the day, they looked to the horizon and saw opportunity. It was always out there – it just took some sweat and imagination. You followed the rules, broke nothing but wild horses, and the promise of the West was there. But something has changed here in America. Our heroes no longer ride tall in the saddle…Read more.


If Washington Wants to Balance Its Books, Congress Could Learn Something From Texas

By Mark McKinnon, Jan. 25, 2013, The Daily Beast

The inaugural balls are over. Reality returns. Let the debt-ceiling debate begin. Again. But Congress won’t find the final answers to the nation’s fiscal fiasco inside the Beltway. For that, Congress needs to look to the states—like Texas, where a balanced budget is constitutionally required, where spending decisions are tied directly to projected revenue, and where “power to the people” is actually the model of governance…Read more.


Obama’s Moment to Call Us to a Greater Collective Commitment

By Mark McKinnon, Jan. 21, 2013, The Daily Beast

Here’s what I don’t want to hear in President Obama’s inaugural address: The word “I.” A recap of his first term. How hard things have been. No straw men. No references to “they.” As in, “They said we couldn’t, or shouldn’t take on … [fill in your favorite agenda item].” No blaming Republicans for obstructionism. No whining. No excuses. No long speech…Read more.


Why Conservatives Should Be Rooting for Defense Cuts

By Mark McKinnon, Jan. 20, 2013, The Daily Beast

He has said I have the integrity of a ShamWow salesman; I’ve called him a hate monger. So, it may surprise you to hear that talk-radio host and provocateur extraordinaire Mark Levin and I are in agreement…Read more.


A 9-Point Plan to Fix the Debt, for Good

By Mark McKinnon, Jan. 13, 2013, The Daily Beast

“The road goes on forever, and the party never ends”—a great folk lyric but a lousy fiscal policy. I’m no economist. I don’t even play one on TV. I’m just a husband, a father, a taxpayer. And like many in America, I am weary. I’m weary of the way Washington works. More accurately, I’m weary of the way Washington does NOT work…Read more.


ARCHIVES: Backstage at the Bush Movie

By Mark McKinnon, Aug. 29, 2012, The Daily Beast

The greatest privilege I’ve had working with President George W. Bush is spending time with him, Laura, and his parents at the family home in Kennebunkport. Of course, the compound at Kennebunkport against the rocks and the sea is breathtaking. But it’s the people who populate the place who make it special. Read more.



ARCHIVES: Insider’s Perspective: National Political Campaigns

With Mark McKinnon, Oct. 15, 2010, Vanderbilt University