AUTHOR ARCHIVES

Norm Ornstein

Norm Ornstein is a correspondent for The Atlantic, a contributing editor and columnist for National Journal, and a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research.
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Rewriting the Rules of Presidential Succession

March 27, 2017 American politics is deep into the theater of the absurd—but unfortunately, it is a deadly absurdity, like being in a horror funhouse where the creatures leaping out at you have real knives and chainsaws. Americans now have to face at least the possibility, a tangible one, that the election itself...

The Show Trial of IRS Commissioner John Koskinen

June 24, 2016 American public-policy wonks have an informal honor roll of model public servants—people who may have gone in and out of government service, but who put country ahead of personal ambition or gain, who care about making government function well, and who are known for their decency and commitment to those...

Is This the Worst Congress Ever?

May 17, 2016 In 2011, I wrote a piece for Foreign Policy magazine about the 112th Congress; the editors helpfully titled it “Worst. Congress. Ever.” It was a bit of hyperbole, but it may be no exaggeration to call the current, 114th Congress the worst ever—at least edging out the infamous 112th. The...

Why Bernie Sanders Can't Govern

February 5, 2016 Bernie Sanders and Ted Cruz have something in common. Both have an electoral strategy predicated on the ability of a purist candidate to revolutionize the electorate—bringing droves of chronic non-voters to the polls because at last they have a choice, not an echo—and along the way transforming the political system....

How Congress Can Improve the Iran Nuclear Deal

July 20, 2015 Congress and the body politic are appropriately consumed with the Iran nuclear deal. Was it a good one or a bad one? Will it lead more rapidly to a nuclear-armed Iran, as several Republican presidential candidates have said, or postpone that prospect for perhaps 10 to 20 years, as the...

Slashing IRS Budget Carries a Heavy Price

December 18, 2014 The "Cromnibus" that was enacted last week has received its share of brickbats, mostly over the Citigroup-written and Rep. Kevin Yoder-instigated provision giving banks taxpayer protection for derivatives trading. Also for the campaign-finance provision blowing up most of what was left of campaign contribution limits, pushed by Mitch McConnell but...

Plunging Oil Prices Set Off a Global Chess Game

November 6, 2014 It may be hard to imagine, but other things have been going on in the world besides the election. And while I no doubt will return to the implications of Tuesday's contests (not to mention the upcoming ones in December and January), I want to turn my attention now to...

Trust Is Not Enough to Break Through Washington Gridlock

October 1, 2014 "Can we all get along?" That famous plea, uttered by Rodney King in the aftermath of his infamous pounding by police, is a persistent theme in a Washington beset by bickering, demonizing, and poisonous relationships. Recently, The Washington Post had two columns, by Dana Milbank and Ruth Marcus, that were...

What to Expect from Congress This Fall

September 7, 2014 Congress is back for its homestretch. Well, not exactly "back." The House will spend the rest of this week in "district-workweek" mode, returning Monday evening and leaving again Thursday after lunch; the next week will be action-packed—coming back late Tuesday evening (no votes before 6:30 p.m.) but this time staying...

Congress Returns to Doing Nothing

September 4, 2014 Congress is back for its homestretch. Well, not exactly "back." The House will spend the rest of this week in "district-workweek" mode, returning Monday evening and leaving again Thursday after lunch; the next week will be action-packed—coming back late Tuesday evening (no votes before 6:30 p.m.) but this time staying...