Elaine Kamarck

Elaine C. Kamarck is a lecturer in public policy at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government. She is author of The End of Government ... As We Know It: Making Public Policy Work. She served in the Clinton White House as creator and manager of the federal government's National Performance Review from 1993 to 1997.

Recent Articles

No One In Charge

Writing policy is easy. Making it work is hard. And when those who run government have no respect for the institutions, it's even harder.

The Next Government of the United States: Why Our Institutions Fail Us and How to Fix Them By Donald F. Kettl, W.W. Norton & Company, 256 pages, $25.95 The study of how public policy is carried out has been the stepchild of scholars and practitioners alike. It is intrinsically more interesting to opine on where policy should go than on how to get there. Yet the overwhelming breakdowns of government that lead to political breakdowns have often been failures of implementation. The trend line on public opinion about George W. Bush illustrates the point. Bush's popularity nose-dived after Hurricane Katrina in September 2005 and never recovered. Had the administration been able to carry out standing policies to deal with the emergency, Bush could have escaped the sense of disgust and disgrace that followed him thereafter. Implementation is what may bedevil Barack Obama as it has presidents before him. His policy mandate is clear -- to get the economy moving and to get us out of Iraq...