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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.

Why Governing Makes Campaigning Look Easy


Over at Slate, Mickey Kaus ponders the age-old question of why successful political campaigns so often fail to make the transition to effective presidential administrations:

When you report on a campaign, you notice that virtually all major candidates' "advance men" and women are astonishingly, scarily competent--full of energy, able to organize a three-factory tour with portable bleachers in ten minutes. Where do these people go when the governing starts? Are they so tired they sleep for four years?

I think I have an answer: The smart people in this group stick to what they know best--campaigning. Because governing is much, much harder. One of the great fallacies of political campaigns is that people assume successful ones are so difficult to pull off that the people responsible for them can manage anything. But with all due respect, anyone with a cell phone and a decent amount of caffeine in their system can organize a three-factory tour with portable bleachers in ten minutes. Organizing, say, an emergency response system that can meet the needs of a huge American city that is underwater as a result of a massive hurricane is another matter altogether. This is why literally thousands of professionals devote their lives to figuring out how to effectively manage in the public sector.

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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