NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


July 19, 2004

In Europe, where parliamentary systems predominate, opposition parties always have "shadow cabinets," where designated people target particular departments for special attention. They are assumed to be given those portfolios should their party gain a majority, and often are, says Bruce Bartlett.

Not only does this give voters much greater knowledge of what to expect should the opposition gain control, it gives valuable experience and training to those in line to become ministers in a new government. And shadow cabinets make it easier to create coalitions and help assuage the fears of those wary of changing horses in the middle of a stream.

According to Bartlett, the following would make excellent members of a John Kerry shadow cabinet dream team:

  • Department of State: Felix Rohatyn, the New York banker, was ambassador to France during the Clinton Administration and has long been one of the Democratic Party's "wise men."
  • Department of the Treasury: Roger Altman, another New York banker, was deputy secretary under Clinton, wants the job badly, and has paid his dues to the Democratic Party and Sen. Kerry.
  • Office of Management and Budget: Everyone mentions John Spratt, the congressman from South Carolina and ranking Democrat on the House Budget Committee; he is widely respected on both sides of the aisle.
  • National Economic Council. Steve Rattner, yet another New York banker, fits the mould of Bob Rubin and Stephen Friedman, who have previously headed this important White House office; a former New York Times reporter, he has long been active in Democratic circles.

Of course, these are all guesses, says Bartlett, but all these people are highly competent, have solid records of support for the Democratic Party and, in most cases, served in the Clinton Administration in lower level positions.

Source: Bruce Bartlett, "John Kerry's Shadow Cabinet," National Center for Policy Analysis, July 19, 2004.


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