Norm Ornstein has been a curious media figure. He’s been ensconced at the heart of darkness, the American Enterprise Institute, for some time, and has been a regular fixture on the TV pundit circuit for as long as there’s been a TV pundit circuit. But for all that, he is usually fairy honest and straightforward. Fer instance, he’s been very plain and outspoken in the fact that the reason he’s on TV is that he can offer a pithy eight second soundbite on the issue of the day in a way that doesn’t challenge the story the media is trying to push.
Something got into his Special K because for the last year he’s been doing something different.
Last July he wrote in article in Foreign Policy called “Worst. Congress. Ever.” continuing the work he had published since 2006 documenting the institutional failures of the legislative branch. But in that article he named names. Unprecedented use of the filibuster, unfaithful negotiation, “Our first priority is defeating Barack Obama”, all that shit. The Republicans were to blame.
A month or two ago he and his writing/research partner, Thomas Mann, released a book about the institutional failures of Congress as they had twice in the past six years. Except this time it contained passages like “The Republican party is . . . an insurgent outlier — ideologically extreme; contemptuous of the inherited social and economic policy regime; scornful of compromise; unpersuaded by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition”.
Of course, whereas their earlier work got them toasted across the spectrum on Sundays, now they’ve gone on one NPR show and one PBS show to promote their book.
And now, via Balloon Juice, comes this article (in of all things, the Washington Post) in which various solutions to Republican intransigence are discarded and some advocated. Everything they say makes sense, and is intellectually honest, and what the fuck is it doing in Fred Hiatt’s house of lies is my question.
But. Norm Ornstein. You are trying to wipe off the shit you had been rolling around in for the majority of your career, and the stench and the stain of it will likely take the rest of your life to undo. Because I can not recommend this Doghouse Riley post enough.
When Reagan was fucking shit up beyond all recognition, the fuck were you? When you were a nationally-recognized pundit in the fucking Carter Administration, where was your documentation about the worming of the Nixonian dark arts into the length and breadth of the Republican party? When the President of the United States was attacked with the most powerful legal mechanism possible for the most bullshit reasons possible, why weren’t you writing about how extreme and dismissive the Republican party was?
It’s great that you’ve had what alcoholics refer to as a moment of clarity, that you’re giving up the life of a say-nothing suit occupying a studio chair, and that in all likelihood you will now have to walk the earth like Kung Fu because the media-corporate complex isn’t going to be forthcoming with the pundit teat.
But you’ve got sins to atone for. And I wish you luck.