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Government Executive Editor in Chief Tom Shoop, along with other editors and staff correspondents, look at the federal bureaucracy from the outside in.

Second-Term Blues.

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Pretty interesting panel discussion at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington today on "How Would George W. Bush Govern in a Second Term?" The Brookings Institution's Tom Mann pointed out that in policy terms, second-term records in the modern presidency are less than spectacular. Even those presidents who aren't sidetracked by scandal (see Nixon, Reagan and Clinton) often come to realize that they've accomplished all the easy stuff in the first four years. Then their party usually gets smacked in the midterm elections and they ease on down the one-way road to Lame Duck Land.

That's even more true in the world of federal management, isn't it? Every recent president has had some sort of management initiative (Grace Commission, TQM, REGO, PMA), but those who manage to get themselves a second term usually lose any momentum their effort generated in the first. Most presidents simply tire of taking on the bureaucracy after four years, especially when they realize that management reform isn't the legacy-builder they hoped it'd be.

Get Off the Couch. Word from the Office of Personnel Management that registration for the HealthierFeds Physical Activity Challenge has been extended until Oct. 29. That can mean only one thing: not enough feds have stepped up to the plate (or maybe that should be away from the plate) and accepted the challenge of moving around for 30 minutes a day. C'mon folks, put down the Snickers bar and take the pledge. (But don't bother trying to call OPM to do it.) If you don't, Tommy Thompson's coming to get you.

Tom Shoop is vice president and editor in chief at Government Executive Media Group, where he oversees both print and online editorial operations. He started as associate editor of Government Executive magazine in 1989; launched the company’s flagship website, GovExec.com, in 1996; and was named editor in chief in 2007.

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