A Constitutionalists' Shadow Cabinet
But who speaks for thee and me?
For many years I’ve rather liked, and occasionally advocated for, the concept of an ongoing opposition Shadow Cabinet which would remain in being (not just gotten up for campaigning) as a focus both for gathering and disseminating ideas, and for familiarizing the voting public with major spokesmen for those ideas. Should these ideas gain sufficient traction as not merely oppositional but Constitutional, principled, well-developed, and better, then voters will know who after political victory may be implementing them as executive office-holders, legislators, or staff.
This could work as well at city-council level as at state and national, perhaps even more efficiently with narrower issues and locally-known people.
The devil, of course, is in the details. Is any Shadow Cabinet sufficiently flexible? For instance, the critical tactical counter to any woman's nomination for President by the Democratic Party is a Sarah Palin nomination by the Republican Party. (Other factors being equal — and of course Palin already has been exhaustively vetted and is more than equal to the challenges of campaign and office.) Remember the huge margin women voters gave the Democratic Presidential incumbent in 2012, and Democrats, having beaten their false-to-history "race card" into the ground, next prepare to trump with their false-to-history "war–on-women card". A Shadow Cabinet should not vitiate Party primary elections, nor prematurely lock out the better candidates.
And is any Shadow Cabinet sufficiently responsive? Who decides the slate? If a presumptive Presidential candidate or other participants in the Shadow Cabinet are chosen by secret back-room deals, many people will not be comfortable even with the best of advisors and political tickets. If not chosen via special-purpose off-year primaries, a legitimate selecting body at the national level would be the Republican National Committee or something close to that level. But if we had a properly functioning RNC, we wouldn’t need the Tea Party and other movements and organizations to go around the RNC directly to the voters. Of course any vote-along-to-get-along Shadow Cabinet which often whines, but after all always supports the Beltway insiders and establishment lack of principle, would be worse than useless.
A partial solution to both these problems might be to encourage the major think-tanks and advocacy organizations — Claremont Institute, Heritage Foundation, Cato Institute, National Rifle Association, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Concerned Women for America, and so on — to develop their own partial Shadow Cabinets, then send delegates to regularly scheduled Constitutionalists' Shadow Cabinet meetings. Members needn't have precisely parallel titles, nor each try to cover all the aspects of government. The important points are that these shadow statesmen must do more than step out in front of their own organization, be more than just spokesmen for it; and that their function is ongoing, unlike attendees at rallies or delegates to conventions who go home again after the rally or convention folds its tents.
Education, focus, familiarization, encouragement — all need to be ongoing tasks within a maintained structure, not thrown together haphazardly during campaigns for political office.
And in the event of political victory, perhaps with some of the Constitutionalists' Shadow Cabinet moving into official governmental positions as executive office-holders, legislators, or staff? Keep the Shadow Cabinet functioning! Recruit new people as appropriate, and help ensure that the new office-holders and new legislative majorities stay true to the real Constitutional principles they espoused to get themselves elected.
Every day is Constitution Day.
© 2014 Robert Wilfred Franson
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