Code Red: DC Open for Business

America needs a warning system to identify the threats coming out of Washington

One of the more ridiculed schemes to emerge from the Bush administration was the color-coded terror alert system. But the idea isn't totally useless.

First implemented in March 2002 as a "readiness measure," it has been criticized for its wide-ranging ineffectiveness and susceptibility to political manipulation.

Now, really, if we didn't believe in wide-ranging ineffectiveness and susceptibility to political manipulation, we wouldn't bother voting. So, in the spirit of sustainability, there must be some way to retrofit this alert system for a more practical purpose.

You know what Americans could really use these days? A high-quality, five-tiered, color-coded warning system to caution us about the threat level coming out of Washington. As one of those clueless, frothing-at-the-mouth, slack-jawed yokel extremists, I know I certainly could use a color scheme to help me get a handle on such a complex issue.

—Code Green is easy: a low risk of economic attack. It's the default color code for those wondrous days when Congress is on recess and the president is enjoying Martha's Vineyard, Camp David, or a Broadway play. We can home in on the "first pets" and swoon over Barack Obama's extraordinary reading list. Isn't he brilliant?

—Code Blue: a general risk of economic attack. This is always the first sign of impending danger. It's when we (the ones we've been waiting for!) are told we have no clue what's best for us.

This is when Nancy Pelosi speaks. This is when "something must be done." This is when elected officials go on imaginary listening tours and feign interest in the riffraff's concerns. This is when we, with only a faint understanding of specifics, are still open to some feel-good, nebulous health care reform.

It is, after all, a moral imperative. A sacred duty. A historical obligation.

—Code Yellow: significant threat of economic attack. Elected officials hunker down and pretend to write legislation that's been authored already by crony capitalists and progressive agenda groups.

Meanwhile, lesser elected officials take brilliantly ambiguous positions on legislation they will never read while waiting for literature they will intensely examine—namely, poll numbers.

The White House starts doling out treats and threats. The general populace hears phrases like "public option" and "death panels" for the first time. The elderly learn how to use Google.

—Code Orange. "Scaremongering." High risk of economic attack. Congress tries to ram through legislation. But Americans begin to figure out that a public option means, in the long term, a mandated single-payer plan. Then political disaster strikes. Old folks figure out that Ivy League slicksters want to take something from them. They freak the heck out.

First Nazi accusation appears. Moral preening. Children dying. Town halls rocking. Nihilists rising. Wing nuts organizing. Jackboots marching. Members of Congress hiding. God Almighty says do it. Polls fall. Panic ensues. Change the subject. Bush is still evil.

—Code Red: severe risk of economic attack. Peter Orszag revises a forecast. He's only $2 trillion off his initial estimate. No rational human being ever trusts a White House forecast again. Nine trillion dollars in the red (maybe), U.S. national debt will nearly double over the next 10 years—even without health care reform or cap and trade.

President unfazed. Nothing to see here.

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  • Xeones||

    As long as it goes to 11, baby.

  • ||

    The color for the highest level of alert would be a brilliant shade of gin blossom red to honor Ted Kennedy.

  • Xeones||

    Whereas the lowest level could be the slightly-bluish grey of Mary Jo Kopechne's skin.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Poor Teddy is sure taking it on the chins today.

  • ||

    Congress should only be in session for two weeks a year, and all legislation should sunset annually. So they'll have to spend all of their time renewing existing legislation.

    Then we could set the alert level to blue. Green is asking a lot.

  • ||

    This is when Nancy Pelosi speaks. This is when "something must be done."

    "Something must be done" quickly so the voters have time to forget about what was done before November 2010. Democrats sure don't want another 1994.

    Midterm election lost. Washington mired in debate. Nothing gets done. Hope.

    Once something is done, it will be all but impossible to roll it back, so the real hope is that nothing will get done before November 2010 looms on the horizon.

  • Tomcat1066||

    "Poor Teddy is sure taking it on the chins today."

    Well, it's not like he can dodge thep punches.

  • Logical Extremes||

    LOL, I took a quick visual stab at something like this a few years ago....

  • Joe M||

    I dunno, all this color coding sounds pretty racist to me.

  • ||

    "It is, after all, a moral imperative. A sacred duty. A historical obligation."

    Thank you for bucking the trend and not using "an historical . . . "

  • Ebeneezer Scrooge||

    Yeah. And thank you to all who further buck the trend and refuse to use "firstly" and "secondly".

    This is AMERICA you know, not ENGLAND.

  • Mike.S||

    Pro Libertate is onto something. Especially about the sunsetting of all legislation. And Congress should be required to live under every regulation they impose on others. And don't forget about term limits.

    Aw, fuckit. It'd be enough just to get them to abide by the Constitution while they ARE in office.

  • ||

    harsany's brilliant article actually made me LOL .. my only quibble: it's "an" historic.. jarring as that was, i want to read more from this author.

  • ||

    The color for the highest level of alert would be a brilliant shade of gin blossom red to honor Ted Kennedy.

    No, that's wrong. The highest level is "The cover of Rush's seminal album, Moving Pictures."

  • abercrombie milano||

    I'm not concerned that Mr. Crumb will go to hell or anything crazy like that! It's just that he, like many types of religionists, seems to take it literally, take it straight...the Bible's books were not written by straight laced divinity students in 3 piece suits who white wash religious beliefs as if God made them with clothes on...the Bible's books were written by people with very different mindsets

  • nike shox||

    is good


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