Shadow Government, Shadow Management
For us political junkies, the near future is a big ho-hum. I no longer look in on Politico.com or RealClearPolitics.com. I'm back to rereading the Aubrey-Maturin novels to prepare for our cruise next April, which celebrates the work of Patrick O'Brian.
I'm done worrying about the country. It's Barack Obama's turn.
About Shadow Governments
In democratic countries where elections can be called on short notice (e.g., the U.K.), the party out of power might maintain a shadow government, which means having in place the structure and personnel ready to take over in case it suddenly finds itself in the majority.
Different kinds of shadow governments exist in the United States, where elections are held every four years and the incoming administration has 75 days to affect the transition. One shadow government is the aforementioned media.
With no presidential horse race to cover, cable news will morph into a kind of shadow government. While not in-waiting to take over government, the cable crowd will make sure that every major and minor development is talked to death—analyzed by "experts" who will give all kinds of advice to business and government on health care, the economy, foreign affairs, social issues, energy and the environment to the point where the public wonders who's really shaping policy and inspiring decisions.
Following the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center, no one knew where or when the next assault would come, if it were coming at all. President Bush wisely set up an official shadow government whereby senior civilian officials live and work outside of Washington, D.C. in order to ensure continuity in the event of another attack. As Barton Gellman and Susan Schmidt wrote in the March 1, 2002, edition of The Washington Post:
Deployed "on the fly" in the first hours of turmoil on Sept. 11, one participant said, the shadow government has evolved into an indefinite precaution. For that reason, the high-ranking officials representing their departments have begun rotating in and out of the assignment at one of two fortified locations along the East Coast. Rotation is among several changes made in late October or early November, sources said, to the standing directive Bush inherited from a line of presidents reaching back to Dwight D. Eisenhower.
- United States