A Decade’s Difference

A rhetorical return to the days before 9/11 changed everything.

There's an interesting twist to this year's presidential campaign: A former federal employee is running for president. But for a long time, most people were unaware of that fact because the candidate, Michele Bachmann, didn't exactly trumpet her experience.

Bachmann's official bio says she "spent five years as a federal tax litigation attorney, working on hundreds of civil and criminal cases. That experience solidified her strong support for efforts to simplify the tax code and reduce tax burdens on family and small business budgets." What the bio doesn't say explicitly was that Bachmann's tax work was at the Internal Revenue Service. After getting a master's of law in taxation in 1988, Bachmann spent four years as a lawyer at the IRS Office of Chief Counsel in St. Paul, Minn.

After Bachmann's government service began drawing attention, she put her own spin on it. "I went to work in that system because the first rule of war is: Know your enemy," she said at an August campaign appearance in South Carolina. "So I went to the inside to learn how they work because I want to defeat them."

In a way, Bachmann's rhetoric is a measure of how much things have changed in the 10 years since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. In the initial aftermath of the attacks, public support for government shot up dramatically. Flags flew everywhere. Large-scale operations like airport security were federalized. Everyone knew who the "enemy" was, and it wasn't a government agency.

But as Charlie Clark notes in this month's cover story, in the following years, the structure and operations of the federal government changed dramatically-in fits and starts, with mixed success. As a result, the political climate changed, too, and in time, it again became acceptable to identify government as the problem rather than the solution.

Speaking of changes, this issue marks a shift for Government Executive. It will be the last to feature the current design of the magazine, which dates from 2004. We figured it was time for an upgrade to our look that reflects our renewed commitment to serving federal leaders. The new design will debut with next month's issue.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download
  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.