I have long held the belief that all key presidential candidates should form a UK-style shadow government, so as to prepare for the transition well in advance.
- Would permit vetting of key advisors and cabinet posts, long before the November election.
- Would give the voters a better picture of the candidate.
- Permits presidential candidate to lean on key advisors in public. Right now, media coverage of presidential candidates simply assumes that a President is a one-person expert on all subjects. Reality clearly shatters this illusion.
- Other minor advantages that come from having a Secretary of State-in-waiting, a Secretary of Defenese-in-waiting, etc.
We should do everything we can to encourage John McCain to follow suit.
The transition has already begun, anyway: President Bush now briefs both Obama and McCain on key issues they must confront, once elected.
Overall, this should improve future White House transitions, and increase transparency of a candidate and his campaign.
I can see some disadvantages, although in my opinion not outweighing the advantages: inevitably some posts in a candidate's shadow government will be vacant, or go through rapid changes during the campaign. Therefore, voters may "vet" one Shadow Secretary of State, while a wholly different person gets the job following the election.
Another disadvantage might be the added scandal-by-association danger that additional spot-lit personalities bring. This is not a disadvantage for voters, as it results from added transparency, but candidates will surely consider this angle.