Okay, maybe calling myself “The Amazing Mugsy” is a bit of a stretch. So sue me.
It’s the final Monday of the first decade of the new millennium (though technically, 2000 was the last year of the 20th Century). Every year at this time, I like to pause to make my predictions for the coming year. I learned my lesson after 2007 not to over reach, and went 7 for 12 the following year (58%). Emboldened by Bush’s departure and Obama’s election victory, I made a whopping FIFTEEN predictions for 2009. Here’s a recap of how I did:
Review: My Predictions for 2009:
- (Correct) GOP is seen more & more as The Party of Racists: Teabaggers, birthers, Marxist/Commie/Hitler comparisons. Beck called Obama a racist. But (incorrect) support for Jindal didn’t grow, it evaporated.
- (Correct) President Obama was indeed criticized for being too much like Bush (see SNL sketch), but has yet to commit to the Kyoto Protocol (no commitment while at Copenhagen) or any significant regulation of Wall Street (making him “even more” like Bush than I predicted.)
- (Correct) Osama was not caught, nor did he release another video.
- (partial) As predicted, Iraq did not fall apart as troops started to leave (the U.S. is now the only country left of Bush’s “Coalition of the Willing” still in Iraq), and though Iraq is staying firm on the mid-2010 deadline, they haven’t pushed for a faster exit of American troops.
- (partial) Though reaching parity, by the end of 2009, the number of troops in Iraq (112,000) is still greater than the number of troops in Afghanistan (100,000), though I was correct it was due more to an increase in Afghanistan than any decrease in Iraq.
- (wrong) Number of troops in Iraq by years end is WELL over the 30K figure I predicted.
- (Correct) Republicans continued to obstruct health care reform as support for health care reform grew.
- (Correct) Obama continued to try and appease Republicans as they became “The Party of No” to even reasonable legislation (eg: Wall Street regulation).
wrongpartial) A single “low-key” investigation into the Bush Administration’s intelligence failures/misuse/violations producing “significant findings” never came to pass… in the United States at least.(Update: I am reminded by “Crook’s & Liars” that Attorney General Eric Holder DID investigate accusations of torturing detainees held in U.S. custody, so I’m upgrading this prediction to “partial” and giving myself credit.) In Spain and Great Britain it was a different matter.
- (Correct) Bush did not pardon Libby (or anyone else in his Administration). Nor did the Obama Administration pursue Scooter/Cheney/Gonzo/etc.
- (wrong) Violence in Israel… mounting in Bush’s final days… was tempered after Obama took office, rather than escalate into a growing concern.
- (wrong) Hillary and Obama did not find themselves frequently at odds over policy (although I was right that I’d probably get this one wrong).
- (wrong) The Big 3 Automakers did not ask for a second bailout. Nor was a “health care solution” proposed as a possible fix.
- (Correct) Pakistan lost interest in India/Kashmir as the war in Afghanistan grew. U.S. concern over Pakistan/Waziristan grew and drone attacks supplanted sending troops into Pakistan.
- (Correct) The economy continued to struggle, but government spending (the Stimulus) stopped the slide. The Debt did indeed surpass the $12Trillion mark.
10 11 of 15 (with partial credit). 73%. Not bad! Vegas, here I come! mmmm-onsecondthought, maybe not. And now, my favorite part: Comparing my stats to some far better-known prognosticators:
- The Amazing Kreskin seems far less amazing when you consider that probably not a single one of his predictions for 2009 came true (though, to be fair, several are multi-year predictions extending out as far as 2012.) So far, he appears to be batting a solid .000. The most amazing thing about Kreskin is that, with 16 predictions, by sheer dumb luck he should of gotten at least one right (okay, arguably, support for a longer school year did grow. But by no means did it spawn “a movement”.)
- Mark Anderson, a technology “forecaster” for Strategic News Services may claim a “96% accuracy for 2008″, but by my count, he went 1 for 10 for 2009… and even THAT is being generous (giving him partial credit for the growing popularity of tiny “Netbooks”, even though they haven’t come close to supplanting full notebooks in terms of popularity.) Sorry Mark.
- I’m not sure what the stars were telling astrologer John Hogue at the end of 2008, but if 2009 does turn out to be the beginning of the end for the U.S. as a financial superpower, I’ll be sure to give him credit for at least one of his six predictions coming true. But for now, I gotta give him a big goose-egg.
- Conservative blogger Rachel Alexander, the Intellectual Conservative predicted among her (generously graded) 3 for 15 that “MSNBC will either go out of business or drastically change its format so it is no longer left-leaning news and opinion.” Yeah, hang on to that pipe-dream there, Rach.
- The prominent Conservative “Powerline” Blog (arguably) went 5 for 10 (with partial credit… the MSM isn’t “agonizing” over the “democratic implications of the filibuster”, but my fellow liberal blogs certainly are.) Interestingly, Powerline ranked its predictions in order of “decreasing” certainty, yet the four of the five they got right were the last four in their list. Their #1 (and therefore “most confident”) “prediction”… “Obama to go on a whistle-stop tour on his way to the inauguration”… had already been reported (and linked to from their list) sixteen days before they made their “prediction”. Genius! (Prediction of note, Bush did indeed avoid commenting on the Obama Presidency for the most part… preferring instead to let Cheney do the mud-slinging… but Bush’s one comment wasn’t oh-so-noble “praise” for Obama, but instead to compare him to Nazi appeasers. Likewise, Obama never mentioned Lincoln nor FDR in his inaugural address. As I said, we learn more about “the predictor” from these predictions.
Predictions invariably tell us more about the predictor than what lies ahead. And oh, how I love Conservative predictions! One can learn SO much about Republicans and their bitter view of the world based upon the horrible Liberal disasters that await us!
Yikes! These people suck at predicting. Don’t quit your day job, folks.
And so, without further ado… My 10 Predictions for 2010:
- The gulf in the differences between the House & Senate health care bills will be SO great going in, that it is a foregone conclusion that the only way a compromise bill will pass the Senate is if the House gives in on “the Public Option”, settling for price controls on private insurance instead. Republicans WON’T campaign on repealing health care reform like they are threatening to do now, realizing that threatening to repeal the new-found healthcare of 30 million Americans isn’t exactly a winning strategy. Will healthcare reform be alluded to? Absolutely! Will “repeal” be talking-point #1? Not a chance.
- Citing “logistics”, the U.S. will miss its “August 2010 deadline” for all troops out of Iraq (I learned my lesson from last year), and while almost all combat troops will be out by years end, a significant number of “advisers” will remain behind “to help train Iraqi troops”. Perhaps as many as 5 to 12 thousand.
- The number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan will peak at 120-125 thousand. If the numbers were to approach “height of the Iraq War” levels, a public outcry would push Congress to cap the number of troops in Afghanistan. Talk of “winding down” the war in Afghanistan won’t truly begin in earnest until after September 11, 2010, the “start of our tenth year of war in Afghanistan” (which technically started in October of 2001) and the last troops start coming home from Iraq.
- A war-weary electorate will make ending the war in Afghanistan a key campaign issue in the 2010 mid-term elections.
- Democrats will lose seats in the House, but not enough to cost them the majority. At most, Democrats will lose one (probably none) seat in the Senate. But Conservative Blue-dogs will continue to make life miserable for the remaining Democratic majority.
- With healthcare out of the way in time for President Obama’s first State of the Union speech, expect a moderate decline in the “Marxist/Socialist/Nazi” rhetoric towards president Obama as he focuses on jobs in this election year. The analogies will certainly continue, stoked by the likes of Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin, but for the most part, not significantly based upon any new spending.
- By election day (Nov. 2nd), the unemployment rate will still be up over 8%, but below the current 10%. If unemployment breaks the 11% barrier (which I doubt), it will be early in 2010 (before April) and quickly pulled back well before the November election. Democrats will campaign on the lower (8%+) unemployment rate as evidence that their economic policies are working. Republicans will campaign on the idea it shows “things are not getting better fast enough“.
- The national average for Gasoline will briefly peak at just over $3/gallon by next Summer, but brought back down quickly to the mid-$2.50′s soon after. Gasoline will not fall below $2/gallon again in 2010.
- Same as I predicted for 2009, Osama bin Laden will neither be caught nor release another video in 2010.
- As the Taliban begins to feel the squeeze in Afghanistan, the military brass will advise President Obama to authorize negotiating with “moderate Taliban” for a peaceful solution to ending the war there, much the same way the Bush Administration put Sunni extremists on the American payroll to reduce the violence in Iraq.
Wow, that’s a depressing list! I punked out after just ten. I had a lot more to base my 2009 predictions on, with eight years of Bush to look back upon, and the promise of an incoming Democratic Administration promising “change”. We didn’t see as much “change” as many of us had hoped, and I dare predict we are unlikely to see much in the way of a Progressive agenda to come out of the Obama Administration in the near future. You may have noticed that I didn’t make any predictions regarding “renewable energy”, “Gitmo”, or “the growing deficit” for 2010 because, based upon this past year, you’d be better off tossing a coin for the right answer than any guess I could possibly muster.
I wouldn’t mind a bit if several of my more depressing predictions fail to come true. Fingers crossed! Here’s to a great 2010!
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