Resident Scholar, American Enterprise Institute

Norman Ornstein
Speaking Fee: $10,000 to $20,000

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Primary Topic Category: Healthcare

Secondary Topic Category: Conservatives

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Norman Ornstein At A Glance:

Norman J. Ornstein is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. He also serves as an election analyst for CBS News and writes a weekly column called "Congress Inside Out" for Roll Call newspaper.

Norman J. Ornstein is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI.) He also serves as an election analyst for CBS News and writes a weekly column called “Congress Inside Out” for Roll Call newspaper. He has written for the New York Times, Washington Post,Wall Street Journal, Foreign Affairs, and other major publications. He regularly appears on television programs such as ABC News’ Nightline, PBS’s Charlie Rose and The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, where he was recently recognized as the most frequent guest over the program’s thirty years. He was the first “pollster”for the Comedy Central network working with Al Franken in 1992, and was the first guest to appear twice on The Colbert Report.

He serves as senior counselor to the Continuity of Government Commission, working to ensure that the institutions of government can be maintained in the event of a terrorist attack on Washington. He is currently also codirector of the AEI-Brookings Election Reform Project. His leadership in reforming the campaign financing system with a working group of scholars and practitioners helped shape the McCain-Feingold Act, leading the Legal Times to refer to him as “a principal drafter of the law.”

He served for six years as a member of the Board of Directors of PBS and is currently on the boards of the Campaign Legal Center, the U.S. Capitol Historical Society, the Center for U.S. Global Engagement, the Washington Tennis and Education Foundation, and UCB, a Belgium-based biopharmaceutical company. He was elected as a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2004; was the recipient of the American Political Science Association’s Goodnow Award for distinguished service to the profession in 2006; and received an honorary doctor of law from his alma mater, the University of Minnesota, in 2007.

His many books include The Permanent Campaign and Its Future and Intensive Care: How Congress Shapes Health Policy, both with Thomas E. Mann; and Debt and Taxes: How America Got Into Its Budget Mess and What to Do About It, with John H. Makin. The Broken Branch: How Congress Is Failing America and How to Get It Back on Track, also coauthored with Thomas E. Mann, was published in August 2006. It was picked both by the Washington Post and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch as one of the best books of 2006, and a new expanded edition has just been reissued. Vital Statistics on Congress, written with Thomas Mann, and Michael Malbin, remains the quintessential source of authoritative information on America’s legislature. This important series tracks the elements that define and describe Congress in the post-World War II era, and in this new edition, three of America’s most esteemed political analysts extend their examination through the 109th Congress.

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  • The Institution of Compromise: Why Hyper-partisanship is No Laughing Matter

    With a political climate that reveals an unprecedented level of hyper-partisanship and an extreme unwillingness to compromise, longtime political pundit and commentator, Norman Ornstein outlines how the U.S. is on the brink of institutional collapse and doubled-over in deadlock. As chronicled in his recent book, It's Even Worse Than It Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided With the New Politics of Extremism (2012), Ornstein identifies the two primary causes behind this pernicious state of affairs. At the lead is the issue of party mismatch and a governing system that makes it difficult for majorities to act. In close second is the issue of party culpability and "asymmetric polarization." With a unique sense of humor, extraordinary eye for detail and over 30 years in the field, Ornstein discusses specifically what each of these issues entails and their possible solutions.
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