So, Karl Rove is leaving the White House. Ã¢â?¬Ë?Tis the season for many more changes to happen in the White House and in the Cabinet. As we approach the elections of 2008, we at Market Connections start getting the question: How do you think the elections will affect purchasing in the federal market? We get asked to perform interviews with political appointees and speculate about the effect a new appointee will have on spending within a Cabinet level department. While we don’t try to interview appointed (or elected) officials, we do have a pretty good idea as to the answer: Elections don’t change the values of the people making the day to day decisions.
Your average program manager, or even director, is not making day to day purchasing decisions based on the political affiliation of the head of the agency. Now, don’t get me wrong, a change in the agency head can bring on longer term, strategic changes as to how work at the agency is approached. Efforts like reinventing government and the more recent OMB Lines of Business initiatives certainly had political will behind them. But certain values don’t necessarily change. Decision makers are looking for vendors that answer their questions in a timely fashion, deliver on what is promised, and work to help make their job easier. These factors are certainly not Democratic or Republican.