Norman Ornstein is a long-time observer of Congress and politics. He is a contributing editor and columnist for National Journal and The Atlantic and is an election eve analyst for BBC News. He served as codirector of the AEI-Brookings Election Reform Project and participates in AEI's Election Watch series. He also served as a senior counselor to the Continuity of Government Commission. Mr. Ornstein led a working group of scholars and practitioners that helped shape the law, known as McCain-Feingold, that reformed the campaign financing system. He was elected as a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2004. His many books include The Permanent Campaign and Its Future (AEI Press, 2000); The Broken Branch: How Congress Is Failing America and How to Get It Back on Track, with Thomas E. Mann (Oxford University Press, 2006, named by the Washington Post one of the best books of 2006 and called by The Economist "a classic"); and, most recently, the New York Times bestseller,It's Even Worse Than It Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided With the New Politics of Extremism, also with Tom Mann, published in May 2012 by Basic Books. It was named as one of 2012's best books on pollitics by The New Yorker and one of the best books of the year by the Washington Post.
Contributing Editor and Columnist, National Journal and The Atlantic, 2013-present
Election Analyst, BBC News, 2012-present
Codirector, Project to Examine Alternatives to the Independent Counsel Statute, 1999-present
Member, Board of Contributors, USA Today, 1997-present
Founder and Director, Campaign Finance Reform Working Group, 1996-present
Columnist, "Congress Inside Out," Roll Call, 1993-2012
Senior Adviser, Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, 1987-present
When I first came to Washington in 1969, one of the first members of Congress I met and talked to was George Mahon, a courtly, laconic conservative Southern Democrat who happened to be chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. We talked about the committee and its traditions, and he said to me, "If you want to know anything and everything about appropriations, read the Fenno book."
I have known John Dingell for decades. I have faced his wrath, when Tom Mann and I had the temerity to propose committee reform in the 1980s that would have taken precious jurisdiction from his Commerce Committee; I have experienced his warmth and kindness, including way back when I was a young and inconsequential junior academic.
A strong meme is developing among conservatives about the IRS, expressed most directly in the headline of a piece in the Washington Examiner by Tim Carney, "The IRS is Deeply Political and Very Democratic."
Congress is filled with informal caucuses. I have a new one to propose: the Yahoo Caucus.The largest class of Yahoos are the lawmakers supporting the sequester now hitting a range of government policies.