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Political Disruption: Where It's Coming From & Why We Need It.

A study group led by IOP Fellow Mark McKinnon
Wednesdays 4-5:30pm, L166

The evidence is everywhere. Americans are unhappy with our political system. Voters have lost faith in the government and political parties. Only 10 percent of voters believe Congress is doing a good job. Ten years ago, people were frustrated, but largely apathetic. Today, with economic discontent, foreign conflicts unresolved and pressing public policy issues unattended, increasingly citizens are engaging in organizations and movements designed to break the existing framework. We will examine why such deep dissatisfaction exists within the system. What are the root causes? And then explore the interesting ways in which people are organizing to reform the system. 

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Sept. 26
Overview: The Importance of Political Narrative with Mark McKinnon

Mark McKinnon, a media and political consultant who has been helping to solve complex strategic challenges for causes, companies and candidates, including George W. Bush, John McCain, Ann Richards, Charlie Wilson, Lance Armstrong and Bono, will open the program with an overview of the political landscape today. McKinnon will share the rules of effective political communication learned in his 30 years of consulting with campaigns. And he’ll discuss some of the movements in America that are working to change the system, including No Labels, a non-partisan organization cofounded by McKinnon and launched in 2010.

Oct. 3
Tea Party: How Discontent Brewed Change in 2010 and Beyond with guest Mark Meckler

Mark Meckler, a small business owner who accidentally became a national leader of an intentionally leaderless movement, co-founded the Tea Party Patriots, a grassroots organization formed in March of 2009 to demand fiscal responsibility, a constitutionally limited government and support for free-market principles. With its goal to change the political landscape in America, Meckler will talk about how and why this substantial conservative movement started, where it is today and the work he is now doing disrupt the system in new ways.

Oct. 10
Where the Buck Should Stop: A Call for Real Campaign Finance Reform with guests Buddy Roemer and Lawrence Lessig

Buddy Roemer, a 2012 presidential candidate and former congressman and governor of Louisiana, joins Lawrence Lessig, a leading constitutional lawyer and thinker, director of the Edmond J. Safra Foundation Center for Ethics at Harvard University and a professor of law at Harvard Law School. No one knows more than these two reformers about the issue of money in politics and how it corrupts the system. Lessig’s current academic work addresses "institutional corruption" — influences that weaken the effectiveness of an institution, or weaken public trust.  Roemer recently founded The Reform Project, a nonpartisan, anti-corruption organization fighting the unfair use of money in our political system.

Oct. 17
OWS: How Occupying the Public Square Changed the Public Conversation with guest Austin Guest

Austin Guest, a Harvard University graduate and community organizer, is a spokesman for the Occupy Wall Street group that gained national and international attention with its encampment at Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan beginning in the summer of 2011 to protest greed and corruption. The grassroots movement spread like wildfire to cities throughout the country. Guest will talk about the evolution of the Occupy movement, how and why it started, the challenges they faced and where it's going in the future.

Oct. 24
Breaking all the Rules: On the Campaign Trail, In the Classroom with guest Tom Luce

Tom Luce, CEO of the National Math and Science Initiative, was Ross Perot's right-hand man when he ran for president. He's also a former candidate for governor of Texas and served as assistant secretary, Office of Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development in the U.S. Department of Education. Luce will talk about his experience with Perot, how and why the campaign happened, and why there hasn't been a credible third-party candidate since. He'll also talk about education policy in America and what's happening with reforms: Why are we in such bad shape, and what can we do about it?

Oct. 31
Blurring the Lines: The Changing Media with guest Carl Cannon

Carl Cannon, a 2007 IOP fellow and now Washington editor of RealClearPolitics.com, has spent a lifetime covering politics with PoliticsDaily.com, Reader's Digest, the Baltimore Sun and National Journal. A past president of the White House Correspondents’ Association, Cannon is uniquely qualified to discuss the media's role today in politics and governance. Is the media part of the problem or part of the solution? The internet has been an incredibly disruptive force on journalism: How has it changed the profession, and how journalists do their job today?

Nov. 7
Keeping America Great: Restoring Fiscal Sanity with guest David Walker

The Honorable David Walker served as the U.S. Comptroller General and head of the U.S. Government Accountability Office from 1998 to 2008, under different presidents and different parties. Today he is the founder and CEO of the Comeback America Initiative (CAI), promoting fiscal responsibility and sustainability on a non-partisan basis, and a cofounder of No Labels. No one knows more about the federal budget and the fiscal insanity going on in Washington. Walker will talk about how the budget became such a mess and some ideas about how to avoid the coming fiscal cliff and put our nation's finances in order. He will also discuss his experiences during CAI's unprecedented national fiscal responsibility bus tour in September and October of this year.

Subtitle: 
A study group led by IOP Fellow Mark McKinnon
Study Group Type: 
Past Study Group