...I'm okay with being REALITY-based.

Thursday, March 11, 2004
      ( 1:08 PM )
The Long and Winding Road (to the WH)

Many have been asking how is John Kerry going to make it through 8 long months of campaigning against a sitting president? The Dems seem to have the disadvantage facing this long presidential race (thoughTerry McAuliffe should have thought of this issue before he rigged all the primaries to decide a winner by February, as so the party elites should have thought about how John Kerry won't draw nearly the amount of independents and cross-over voters that Dean or Edwards would have) . The president can make the news just by doing his daily stuff (even when it's not as stupid as usual, he often will get at least a mention in the news). But Kerry will have to work extra hard to make news.

Some have suggested (though I thought I was the only one who thought of this) that Kerry form a "shadow cabinet" early on. This was even mentioned by the New York Times editorial board last week. Tom Burka did the subject justice yesterday:

The Democrats have created a "shadow White House"
-- mostly from Legos -- a shadow cabinet, a shadow
Capitol Building, and "what's the most fun," according
to Terry Griebling of Menachem's List, "is the shadow
Air Force One, which we're hoping we can get to fly."
The shadow Air Force One is presently a large model
of a plane that Democrats can put on their heads like
a hat and run around with while saying "whoosh!"
and "vrroom, vrooom!"

The hilarity of Tom's writing almost masks the truth behind it - but not quite. Up until this point, the Dems in government have completely abdicated their role as "opposition" to the Bush administration and DeLay Congress. But now there is a new leader on the horizon. The mantle of head honcho has been bestowed upon John Kerry, and so far he's leading the good fight in being the voice countering Bush (despite his own issues, which I still have difficulty and I do not count myself a full fledged supporters yet). This idea of a shadow cabinet really gets me thinking. It could be the very thing to launch Kerry into a new level of competition.

Over the next month or two, Kerry could pick his VP, then go ahead and pick all his "shadow" cabinet members. He only has a month to do it after the election, so why not start now. Even if not all of them end up being in the actual cabinet, this group of people could make a huge impact.

Just think about it: the American electorate would not just be voting for one man, but for a team. The Shadow Cabinet would reveal what kind of people Kerry chooses to advise him and lead the various agencies of the government. People were fooled in 2000 - they thought they were getting this "compassionate conservative", a "uniter, not a divider" and a man who was going to be a "CEO President." But instead, as soon as he was determined by the Supreme Court to have the job, he formed a cabinet that came straight out of NeoCon hell. People's heads were still spinning from Cheney nominating himself as VP.

Having the Shadow Cabinet would give Kerry the upper hand of transparency and, along with displaying a good sense of planning, would give the American people a chance to see what they truly were in for. Having a Shadow Cabinet would also provide other benefits: A Secretary to respond to each stupid thing out of their respective alter-departments (ie, the Shadow Secretary of Education could go on the stump about Rod Paige and his idea that teachers are terrorists; the Shadow Secretary of the Interior could rant constantly about the environment, etc.); tons of "Kerry Administration Members" to fill the airwaves of the talk radio and cable tv news shows with the Kerry Message; opportunities for debate between a Cabinet Secretary and his Shadow; and of course a well-developed, well-polished policy for each issue that can be put forward succinctly and in clear opposition to what we currently have.

We all know a president is only as good as the people who advise him in most cases. So let's see who Kerry will pick and then go on a one-to-one match up with Bush's guys. I think a Kerry Shadow Cabinet would be just the thing to continue the energy of dem voters, the media coverage and buzz, and throw the Bushies constantly off guard with immediate comebacks to every stupid idea that they come up with (which should have been happening already these past 3 years).

So who would you pick for the Shadow Cabinet?

The current cabinet consists of:

The Cabinet includes the Vice President and, by law, the
heads of 15 executive departments-the Secretaries of
Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health
and Human Services, Homeland Security, Housing and
Urban Development, Interior, Labor, State, Transportation,
Treasury, and Veterans Affairs, and the Attorney General.
Under President George W. Bush, Cabinet-level rank also
has been accorded to the Administrator, Environmental
Protection Agency; Director, Office of Management and
Budget; the Director, National Drug Control Policy; and
the U.S. Trade Representative.

I've got a few ideas, though not all cabinet posts are filled in my Fantasy Shadow Cabinet yet:

VP: Bill Richardson
Defense: Anthony Zinni
Education: Jamie McKenzie
HHS: Carol Moseley Braun
Homeland Security: Al Gore (because he'd streamline it the way it should be)
Labor: Richard Trumka
State: Wes Clark
Veterans Affairs: Max Cleland
Attorney General: John Edwards

Still working on the rest of my list. Any suggestions?

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