Vol. 3, Issue 2, January 18, 2005
America Needs More National Crises, Says Report
Research conducted by the Cato Institute has concluded that President Bush would fare best in his second term by sticking to "crisis governing."
The findings, contained in the sixth annual Cato Handbook on Policy, suggest that the most effective way for the President to accomplish his goals would be to ensure that the United States faces at least one "moderate to severe calamity" approximately every eight months.
"The consolidation of power to the executive branch of the government in times of war or crisis is of course well-known," said the Handbook, "but the unfortunate terrorist incident of 9/11, and the subsequent two-phase military action undertaken by the United States, have demonstrated without a doubt that the current administration functions best under situations which force citizens to rally under a common cause."
The report suggests that natural disasters such as the tsunami would be equally effective in providing "appropriate momentum" for passing a budget without undue delays or scrutiny, and recommends that the administration employ a variety of disasters in order to maintain a fresh sense of crisis among the populace.
"They've got a point," admitted Thomas Jergen, Brandeis University professor of political science. "The war in Iraq is the third major terrorism-related crisis in recent years; Americans have become accustomed to reports of military campaigns in the Middle East and security sweeps at home. A nice big natural disaster would help balance things out."
Indeed, there has been a great deal of unofficial grumbling in the White House that the recent tsunami left California unscathed.
"Hitting the California coast would have had several positive effects," said Byron Sher, a White House aide who spoke on condition of anonymity. "For one thing, the majority of the liberal population lives right on the coast; inland California, where Arnold's seat of power is located, would be safe. So we'd be able to rally Americans under our president during a time of crisis and sink San Francisco into the Pacific at the same time. It's a win-win scenario, and California's electoral votes might actually tip Republican in 2008."
Some people expressed outrage at the Cato Institute's suggestion that the government should deliberately inflict disasters on its population in order to forestall dissent. However, these people have not been invited to any of the inaugural celebrations.
"We're coming up with some really good ideas too," said Sher, rubbing his hands in glee. "I don't want to reveal too much, but NASA has a really interesting proposal involving a comet. All I'll say is, if you live in the Providence area, I'd move before August 15."