Archon Fung

Archon Fung, Ford Foundation Professor of Democracy and Citizenship, teaches about public participation, civic engagement, and transparency at the Harvard Kennedy School.

Recent Articles

A Tea Party for Obama

The power of mobilized independent citizens is easily forgotten and often denied by the Washington cognoscenti.

As a candidate for the White House, Barack Obama benefited from an unprecedented, broad-based, and passionate grass-roots mobilization. As president, Obama seems to have forsworn that very movement in favor of a strategy of empowering a small circle of the very best and brightest of advisers and relying on the inside game of negotiations with Congress to advance his ambitious agenda. This strategy has mostly failed. And now the forces of both grass-roots mobilization and money have turned against the White House. The unexpected strength of intransigent Republicans and predictable pressure from banking, pharmaceutical, and medical lobbies have forced Obama to abandon critical elements of his signature reforms in financial regulation and health care. An old-fashioned, close-knit governing style has fed the Tea Parties and the sense of a corrupt process and was probably even a factor in January's victory by Republican Scott Brown in the race for the vacant Senate seat from Massachusetts...