Every vendor in the Federal Government market needs to take a deep breath. No, I am not talking about those who are Republicans.
As Barack Obama prepares to take his historic oath of office this coming January 20th, there is a level of enthusiasm that is unlike any other inauguration in recent history. All one has to do is to turn on their local news to see the excitement that is unfolding in the Washington DC area. But the question that vendors need to ponder is whether that level of excitement will carry over to the business-side of the Government.
If you look at any President coming into their first term, there is a natural tendency to attempt to deliver all that was promised during the campaign period in the first few months. Unfortunately, the reality is that this does not always occur. The Congress, even one controlled by the same party does not readily subscribe to new bills coming from the Oval Office.
President Bill Clinton found this out all to well during his first term. During the 1992 Presidential campaign, Clinton made a national health care plan a key issue. Once he took office, he found delivering on this promise to be much more difficult than he imagined. Republicans and Democrats (who controlled Congress at the time) took his health care plan apart and nothing ever materialized. Even Jimmy Carter, who not for lack of effort, lobbied as hard for more bills than any President in recent memory. Congress on the other hand remained skeptical and stubborn on Carter's initiatives.
Will the same happen to Obama? It is hard to say at this point. One aspect that Obama had going for his is his experience in Congress. The last five Presidents to take office have all been state governors where the leverage over the legislatures has been more ample than on the Federal side. Even though Obama's tenure in the Congress as Senator from Illinois was brief, he should have a handle on the inter-workings of Congress more so than the Presidents of years past.
What vendors need to pay attention to is how Obama prioritizes his agenda. Based on the current economic climate, he is coming into office with the pressure to "get something going" with his stimulous bill. However, nothing is guaranteed here that Congress will comply here and vendors would be wise to evaluate the climate before moving forward to secure business that may not materialize.