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Norm Ornstein
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Blog Entries by Norm Ornstein

The Sources of American Political Dysfunction

(223) Comments | Posted April 30, 2012 | 4:55 PM

Six years ago, we wrote The Broken Branch, which sharply criticized the Congress for failing to live up to its responsibilities as the first branch of government. Based on four decades of watching Congress, ours was a sympathetic perspective, one that reflected our appreciation of the inherent messiness of the...

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Congress and the Five-Day Work Week

(1) Comments | Posted May 27, 2009 | 6:13 PM

My latest Roll Call column calls for a major change in scheduling: moving to a five-day work week in Washington, Monday to Friday nine to five, with three weeks on and one week off to go back to the district. The current schedule, two or two-and-a-half days in DC each...

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Personal Responsibility

(22) Comments | Posted October 7, 2006 | 7:35 PM

It has been a mantra of many conservatives for a long time-- the importance of personal responsibility. Ad it has been a healthy mantra. The idea of people explaining away their bad behavior by blaming others or external forces-- I ate too many Twinkies, I was beaten by my father,...

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Katrina, Katrina

(60) Comments | Posted August 28, 2006 | 6:06 PM

One year later, I am still as mad about the bungled response to Katrina-- and more significantly, no more confident that the federal government could respond any better to the next natural disaster or serious terrorist attack. The fact is that we have largely frittered away not just one year,...

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The Feckless UN and its Feckless Leader

(76) Comments | Posted August 7, 2006 | 2:09 PM

I have always been a supporter of the UN and of multilateral institutions. I believe they are necessary and positive forces in the world, even with their obvious failings. It is hard, after all, to justify an organization that puts Libya in charge of its human rights arm. But I...

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Reflections on Mel

(20) Comments | Posted August 1, 2006 | 4:39 PM

There was one part of the Mel Gibson story I found stunning. No, it was not the tenor or direction of his comments. It was that the LA cop to whom he ranted, and asked "Are you a Jew?" turned out in fact to be-- a Jew! A non-New...

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Media Bias

(133) Comments | Posted July 28, 2006 | 3:32 PM

A few days ago, Matt Drudge had a fascinating link from the Ottawa Citizen. It was a story about numerous emails sent by UN observer Maj. Hess-von Kruedener, a Canadian who was killed in the bombing in Lebanon sent in the days before his death. He wrote, "What I can...

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What to Watch for in the Middle East II

(37) Comments | Posted July 21, 2006 | 11:30 AM

Let us assume that Israel is successful in disrupting and disarming Hezbollah enough that it can create a relatively Hezbollah-free zone within twenty miles of the border with Lebanon-- and keep in mind that this was not just about the Hezbollah incursion into Israel proper that killed some soldiers and...

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What to Watch in the Middle East

(58) Comments | Posted July 21, 2006 | 1:13 AM

The most fascinating-- and little-noticed story of the past ten days has been the response by Saudi Arabia to the Lebanon situation. In every previous incident where Israel was involved-- including when Israel has been bombed or attacked-- Saudi Arabia's reflexive response has been to blame Israel for it. This...

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Culture of Corruption: The Case of Freddie Mac

(10) Comments | Posted April 19, 2006 | 4:19 PM

When the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, BCRA for short and McCain-Feingold more popularly, was being debated in Congress, and after it was enacted and was heading for oral arguments in a three-judge panel and the Supreme Court, its opponents regularly scoffed at the idea that there was any corruption in...

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Anna Nicole Smith Announces Engagement to John Paul Stevens

(18) Comments | Posted March 4, 2006 | 6:09 PM

Actress, exotic dancer and Playboy Playmate (Miss May 1992) Anna Nicole Smith today announced that she is engaged to be married to Justice John Paul Stevens, the senior member of the Supreme Court, who celebrated his thirtieth year on the Court last December. Stevens, who will turn 86 in April,...

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Tom Cruise to Play Randy "Duke" Cunningham Again

(32) Comments | Posted February 27, 2006 | 10:27 PM

Tristar Pictures announced today that Tom Cruise would play Randy "Duke" Cunningham in the story of Cunningham's sordid descent into bribery and manipulation of defense contracts during his career in Congress. "This is a homecoming of sorts for me," an exultant Cruise said. Cruise's first blockbuster screen role was in...

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Neil Young

(50) Comments | Posted February 21, 2006 | 11:20 AM

I spent the bulk of my formative years in Canada, including going to high school in Winnipeg, Manitoba with Neil Young. Neil performed regularly at our school assemblies and in other venues, to significant acclaim, but I must confess that, while we all thought he would be a success in...

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Tunisian Cartoons of Cheney Hunting Incident Spark Riots

(7) Comments | Posted February 17, 2006 | 4:44 PM

A series of cartoons appearing in the Tunisian newspaper al Arabiya that lampooned Vice President Dick Cheney and his hunting victim Harry Whittington brought a violent reaction in several affluent American communities today. The cartoons, drawn by well-known Tunisian artists and done "just for fun," said al Arabiya editor Salaam...

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Iranian President Admits Abramoff Paid Him

(18) Comments | Posted December 17, 2005 | 10:34 PM

Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad admitted today that he said the Holocaust was a "myth" because Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff paid him to do it. "Do I believe it? Of course not," he said. "Only an idiot could believe the Holocaust never happened." Ahmadinejad said he uttered the comments, which have...

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Corzine Picks Edie Falco to Replace Him in Senate

(41) Comments | Posted November 30, 2005 | 12:03 AM

In a major surprise, Governor-elect Jon Corzine of New Jersey announced today his choice to replace him in the United States Senate: Edie Falco, better known to New Jersey voters as Carmelo Soprano, the estranged wife of reputed mobster Tony Soprano. Corzine had been expected to choose one of the...

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Bush White House Making Contingency Plans If Rove Goes

(17) Comments | Posted November 15, 2005 | 10:09 AM

Washington: With no clear picture on when special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald will wrap up his investigation of the leak of CIA undercover agent Valerie Plame, or what additional actions he will take, the White House is quietly making plans in case top political adviser Karl Rove is forced to resign...

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Bush Picks Greta Van Susteren for High Court

(45) Comments | Posted October 27, 2005 | 5:26 PM

Not wasting any time after the withdrawal of Harriet Miers for the Supreme Court, President Bush today announced his new pick for the High Court: veteran legal commentator Greta Van Susteren of Fox News. "I promised the American people I would make a pick with diversity in mind, and I...

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The Way Out

(106) Comments | Posted October 20, 2005 | 3:09 PM

Americans all have to consider the implications now of a worst case scenario-- the problems of scandal and polarization result in a meltdown of the W. Administration and a collapse of governance in Washington. No Doubt some hard core partisans and ideologues would exult. But with the domestic and foreign...

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What's Next?

(46) Comments | Posted October 6, 2005 | 3:06 PM

In a move that stunned the international financial community, President George W. Bush today announced that Stanley A. Weinberg was his choice to replace Alan Greenspan as Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board. Weinberg is Mr. Bush's longtime personal financial advisor at Morgan Stanley. "He's like a member of the...

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