Editorial: Let the real debate begin

Mercifully, the long run-up to the presidential election will eventually end, and we will finally learn what voters really think about the candidates. But November’s election still seems distant.

Unfortunately, the candidates have given government management issues only glancing attention.

Even more unfortunately, when government management issues receive attention, the information is often presented in a glib way.

Perhaps the best example is former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s ludicrous notion that he would simply not rehire federal workers who retire during the coming decade. The suggestion is preposterous.

For somebody who touts his executive experience, Giuliani revealed terrible management judgment.

After all, can anybody imagine a company that would let its workforce needs be determined by people who may or may not decide to retire? Just as preposterous is the proposal by Sen.

Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) to cut 500,000 government contractors.

Those kinds of proposals are foolish and do little to move us toward a healthy debate on issues.

A recent poll by the Wall Street Journal showed that Americans are distinctly uneasy about government.

The Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll found that the Republican president and the Democratic Congress have historically low approval ratings. Furthermore, the poll found that the country is in “the midst of the most prolonged period of public dissatisfaction in 15 years, as measured by the share of voters who say the country is ‘on the wrong track,’” WSJ.com reported.

Feds probably share those uneasy feelings.

Perhaps we are naive, but we firmly believe there are real opportunities for candidates who talk about getting results, for candidates who move beyond hyperbole and offer proposals that can be discussed and debated and who then move forward. Feds — and citizens — are tired of bickering. And they are tired of having to be cynical.

There are ways to move forward, particularly on government management issues. Rather than playing political gotcha, we have an opportunity to improve the way government governs, manages, employs and deploys.

We hope that the 2008 vote is an opportunity to assess what we know needs to be changed — and to carry out new and improved ways of doing government business.

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