Bruce Bartlett via Daniel Drezner: "I have long believed that presidential challengers would help themselves by announcing at least some of their top appointments before the election. After all, we already know the incumbent's appointees. I think it would help many voters make up their minds and swing a few if they had a better idea of how a candidate's actions would match his words. In Europe, where parliamentary systems predominate, this sort of thing is taken for granted. 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."
This, I like. It gets into all sorts of executive / legislative branch blurs that UK shadow cabinet folks don't deal with, I guess for the most part because they're already MP's. U.S. voters are voting on cultural issues now. This might begin to make campaigns issue-based again since shadow-spokespeople would articulate policy differences in their areas of policy interest. It would also allow members of the non-incumbent's party to speak for themselves, & reach the public's consciousness over a period of years rather than at a frantic pace during the primary season. It might also allow a clear challenger to emerge prior to primary season & therefore allow a party to nominate without the bloodletting & theater of the primaries (thus avoiding the awkward reruns of what Kerry said about Edwards &c...) There's lots of links in the original post. Go & see.
Update: WOW!!!! This comment nails the issue: "[Kerry] should hold meetings with a group of Democratic party 'names' who would be candidates for key cabinet posts. This is what Bush did last time around with all those 'tutorial' with Rice, Powell, Cheney, et. al. in Texas. The press eats it up. It also would create the impression that you have a deep bench that might look a whole lot better to the public compared to Bush's team. For example, Kerry brings a group of foreign policy/defense officials out to Nantucket for a closed door session...Albright, Holbrooke, Berger, Wes Clark, Joe Biden, maybe Zinni, etc. It would create the impression (i) that these guys will be ready to hit the ground running on Iraq and terror, and (ii) it gets people thinking 'hey, these guys are all pretty competent. maybe we'd be better off with them running the show instead of Cheney, Wolfowitz and Rumsfeld.' "