Norman Ornstein

Norman Ornstein, PhD

Resident Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and Election Analyst for BBC News
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Program Descriptions

America’s Political Dysfunction—and What We Can Do About It
In his new book, co-authored with Tom Mann, "It's Even Worse Than It Looks: How America's Constitutional System Collided With the New Politics of Extremism," Ornstein says that the political polarization, ideological and partisan, is the worst he has seen in more than four decades in Washington. In this presentation, Ornstein will lay out the problem, discuss what caused it, and talk about how we can get out of the ditch.

How Washington Works—Or Not
Figuring out the whys and wherefores of Washington is not easy for those inside the capital, much less those on the outside looking in. Ornstein uses his decades as a Washington insider to talk about how things really work, and why they are not working now.

The Elections and Beyond
Ornstein gives an inside view of what is likely to happen as the rest of the pivotal 2012 presidential and congressional elections unfold-- and what it means for all of us come 2013.

Congress and _____ Policy
Want to know what lies ahead in health policy [or energy or foreign policy?] Ornstein will examine what Congress, the president and the Supreme Court might do in the next year, and what it means for all of us.

Why Book Norman Ornstein, Ph.D?

  • Columnist and contributing editor for The Atlantic, former election analyst with CBS News

  • First “pollster” for the Comedy Central network and first repeat guest on The Colbert Report

  • On the PBS Board of Directors for six years, with frequent appearances on Charlie Rose and The PBS NewsHour

  • Uses extensive experience to discuss topics such as today’s political climate and upcoming elections
  • Videos

    Biography Read more

    Norman J. Ornstein is a Resident Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research. He also serves as an election analyst for CBS News. In addition, Ornstein writes a weekly column called "Congress Inside Out" for Roll Call newspaper. He is currently co-director of the AEI-Brookings Election Reform Project, working to make elections in the United States fair, open, accessible and clean.

    Ornstein has written for the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Foreign Affairs and other major publications, and regularly appears on television programs like The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, Nightline, and Charlie Rose. At the 30th Anniversary celebration of The NewsHour, Ornstein was singled out as the most frequent guest over the thirty years; Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Richard Lugar was second. Ornstein also dabbles in comedy, having worked with Al Franken since 1992 when he served as Comedy Central’s pollster and commentator covering the party conventions and the election for Indecision ’92. He has also done comedy performances with satirist Mark Russell. He was the first guest to appear twice on Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report.

    He serves as senior counselor to the Continuity of Government Commission, working to ensure that our institutions of government can be maintained in the event of a terrorist attack on Washington; his efforts in this area are recounted in a profile of him in the June 2003 Atlantic Monthly. His campaign finance working group of scholars and practitioners helped shape the major law, known as McCain/Feingold, that reformed the campaign financing system. Legal Times referred to him as “a principal drafter of the law” and his role in its design and enactment was profiled in the February 2004 issue of Washington Lawyer. He co-directed a multi-year effort, called the Transition to Governing Project, to create a better climate for governing in the era of the permanent campaign, and is currently co-directing a project on election reform. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) and the Campaign Legal Center and of the Board of Trustees of the U.S. Capitol Historical Society. 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; Intensive Care: How Congress Shapes Health Policy, and Debt and Taxes: How America Got Into Its Budget Mess and What to Do About It. His most recent book, the widely-acclaimed The Broken Branch: How Congress is Failing America And How to Get It Back on Track, co-authored by Thomas E. Mann, was published in July 2006 by Oxford University Press.

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    "Norm Ornstein was the perfect choice for a post-election analyst. He used humor to relate to our student population, and provided thoughtful insight regarding ways in which the president-elect can unify the country. Feedback has been extremely positive."
    --Bucknell University

    "Ornstein was very well received by our members, and numerous people have commented how much they enjoyed his presentations"
    --Aerospace Industries Association

    "Things went very well! Norm was funny and engaging both as a speaker and also as part of the panel. The crowd seemed to really like him."
    --McKesson Pharmaceuticals

    "Norm did an awesome job and I've gotten some great feedback. His opinions were valued by all."
    --Kaiser Foundation Health Plan