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
Not surprisingly, I was going to write this week about the McCutcheon decision, despite my feeling a bit of the old saw that often gets raised during toasts: "Everything has been said, but not everybody has said it."
Nate Silver is back, and back in the news. Silver’s appearance on ABC’s This Week on Sunday, where he said that if the election were held today, the Republicans would likely win the Senate, got immense attention.
The climate this year for significant policy accomplishment is as grim as it could be. The objectives for Republicans were set early on by the schedule proposed by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor: fewer than 90 days in session before the election, and more votes, now up to 50 overall, on repealing Obamacare.
It is not uncommon for second-term presidents to turn more of their attention and focus to foreign policy. Domestic politics and policy become increasingly frustrating, as the president’s partisans in Congress hunker down in preparation for a lousy midterm election, the party’s ideological base becomes more belligerent, and the opposition party gets bolder.
The overall number of retirements from the 113th Congress so far is average or a bit below average, although, of course, the retirements are getting more attention than usual because of the remarkable careers of George Miller, Henry Waxman, Carl Levin, and Dingell.
On the cusp of his 2014 State of the Union message, President Obama is not exactly floating on air. His fifth year, which started out with some promise of major legislative accomplishments came a cropper early, when the gun bill failed on—what else—a filibuster in the Senate.