Al Gore: Current Political Terrorism Shows us the Need for a Center for Effective Public Management

Earlier today, former Vice President Al Gore declared Congressional Republicans are engaging in “political terrorism” in holding hostage government funding and the debt ceiling. His words, among the most pointed language on the topic, came as part of his keynote address opening the Center for Effective Public Management. In a speech that ranged topics from campaign finance reform to climate change to government performance, Mr. Gore also offered an impassioned plea to keep the global economy functioning.

“Now I’m going to talk about the potential for a shutdown in just a moment, but I think that the only phrase that describes it is political terrorism. ‘Nice global economy you got there… Be a shame if we had to destroy it. We have a list of demands… If you don’t meet them all by our deadline, we’ll blow up the global economy’… How dare you. How dare you.”

The current debate over a continuing resolution to keep the federal government open and the extension of the nation’s debt ceiling served as parts of Gore’s talk about the problems facing government. At the same time, the former Vice President noted that because of the serious problems facing government, a resource like the Center for Effective Public Management is essential and long overdue.

“I truly believe that the launching of this center is far more than an ordinary new center announced by a preeminent institution like Brookings. This one is going to make an even larger difference than normal. This one really is at the heart of what we need to do to make the United States of America what our Founders intended, and what our people deserve.”

Gore spent much of his time as Vice President working on issues of government performance and reform, leading an effort called “Reinventing Government.” One of his senior staffers spearheaded that effort was Elaine Kamarck, now Senior Fellow in Governance Studies and Founding Director of the Center for Effective Public Management. During the speech, the former Vice President noted the tremendous effort involved in reforming government, and is confident Kamarck is the best individual to head the effort.

“ It’s hard work, but there is literally no one in the world who understands it better or more thoroughly than Elaine Kamarck. There are slightly more than 7 billion people in the world and only one Elaine Kamarck. So, you know, that’s pretty special. But it’s all true.”

The Center for Effective Public Management is focused on identifying and solving political and governance challenges in 21st century America. Working with experts in leadership and management, academics, advocacy organizations, policymakers, and universities from across the country, the center explores current problems in the American political system and ways to improve the democratic process. The Center has also launched a blog, FixGov, that is focused on sensible and realistic ideas to make government work.

In her opening remarks, Kamarck noted, “At this Center we will deal with both politics and government, making a little different from undertakings in the past with similar names. We will focus on political reforms that can help create more effective leadership, by getting to the roots of our political dysfunction.”