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This article is reprinted with permission from the April 2006 issue of Crisis Times.

As we brace for a major political cycle this year, it is unclear what the party messages will be. Democrats and Republicans alike are looking for a theme to unite their party and excite their respective bases. With the President's approval ratings the lowest of Bush's reign, it is currently unlikely that incumbents or hopefuls will be calling on the Bush to stump for them. Unless you live firmly in the heartland, Bush is likely to be a lightning rod for the next year. It is possible that Osama Bin Laden could be captured or another terrorist attack could turn the president's numbers around before November. If either of those things happens, stop reading this article. It's then irrelevant. In case neither of these events takes place, then we can speculate about what's out there for candidates to discuss this fall.

From your local mayoral elections to races for the governors' mansions to those standing for Congress, there is one thing that all candidates are likely to be touting this year: They all will want to portray themselves as the best qualified to handle a problem. The problems that our nation is likely to face in the next few years are daunting.

Bird Flu is expected to strike our shores at some point in the next few years. If the doomsday scenarios play out, we could be facing a global pandemic that could crush our medical response infrastructure and kill tens of millions of Americans. Let's not even get into the global economic crisis that such a pandemic could inspire. The experts are saying that the only way to stop this disease could be to impose mass quarantines. Imagine this: millions of your fellow Americans are dying from bird flu, millions more are ill; everyone else is terrified that they may contract the disease. Is it likely that our political leaders know how to handle this situation? Probably not. Is it possible that there are things our political leaders could be doing to enhance their ability to lead through such a crisis? Definitely.