Where to start? Every year since 2006 I’ve dug deep into my toy-chest, pulled out the turban from my “Ancient Secrets Magic Kit”, rubbed my lucky penny for good luck, and concocted my annual “Predictions for the coming year”. And by the end of that year, I always expect to find I did really poorly… but my track record is surprisingly good. Even the dismal 20% I scored my first time out in 2006 was still (arguably) better than average compared to all the “psychics” out there. Oh, that’s another tradition of mine: mocking all the “professional psychics” and economic/trend forecasters that did worse than me. I’d never wager any money or bet the Stock Market based upon any of my predictions, but I must be doing something right. Of my predictions:
o in 2007 (no longer online), I achieved the aforementioned 20% (2 out of 10).
o by 2008, I learned from my mistakes and went “7 for 12″ (arguably 9 for 12 with partial credit.)
o …in 2009, I went 11 for 15 (again, with partial credit). 73%. Not too shabby.
o …in 2010, the trend reversed. Even with partial credit, I only scored 4-1/2 out of 10 (45%). Almost 50% and still more than twice as good as I did my first time out, so hell…
And now, a review of last years’ predictions for 2011. Last year, I threw caution to the wind and (recklessly) made 19 predictions (in 16 items):
1] Following a series of reports of the McCain’s (John vs wife Cindy and daughter Meghan) differing on a host of issues… most notably in support of the right of Gays to marry, and repeal of DADT, I predicted the McCain’s would separate (in lieu of a divorce): Bzzzt. I clearly got that one Wrong. The McCain’s are still a happily married couple, and (as far I or anyone else knows) are still living in one of their eight mansions. That prediction was a bit out of my field anyway, so I’m not surprised I got it wrong.
2] Despite a slew of Tea Party GOP candidates running for Congress promising to “shut down the government”, and the GOP then winning control of the House, I predicted they would NOT in fact “shutdown” the government, having learned their lesson in 1996 when Newt Gingrich’s Congress shutdown the government thinking the American people would “rally behind their principled stand.” They didn’t. They were inconvenienced and turned their anger on the GOP. Lesson learned, but rather than leave empty handed, Republicans would instead demands deep budget cuts while repeatedly bringing the nation to brink of default: Could I of been any more correct on that one?
3] Unemployment won’t fall below 8.6%:
Wrong (revised) Correct. I first marked this as “wrong” because I felt I was including “exactly 8.6%” in that figure. But, as it was pointed out to me, unemployment did NOT fall “below” 8.6% as I predicted (falling to exactly 8.6%), so I’m upgrading this prediction to “Correct”.
4] National Debt tops $15T: Correct. The Debt broke the $15T mark in November.
5] Gold would peak at $1,600/oz: Correct. Gold closed last week at $1611/oz, and shouldn’t fluctuate much beyond that in these final five days.
6] Senate Democrats do NOT reform the filibuster (Correct), opting to ban “secret holds” instead: Correct.
7] I predicted there would be more filibusters in 2011 (48 out of 235 for 20%) than there were in 2010 (90 out of 299 for 30%): Wrong. I failed to take into account the need for a filibuster plunges when Senate Republicans know a GOP controlled House won’t pass anything they oppose anyway (fewer bills even made it to a vote).
8] No “official” action would take place on health care reform (neither “repeal” nor “expansion”). Correct. And ALL of the GOP candidates would campaign on promising to “repeal HCR”: Correct. Every single GOP candidate has promised to “repeal ObamaCare”.
9] Gas prices would crack $4/gallon again: Correct. As a result, I also predicted Chevy Volt sales boom as a result (Wrong). Volt sales were respectable, but the continuing sluggish economy has stifled ALL car sales in the U.S..
10] Palin would NOT run for the GOP nomination: Correct, but would toy with idea of 3rd/Tea Party candidacy: also Correct. As I wrote, “the GOP frontrunner right now is the Mittster, but ‘RomneyCare’… which ObamaCare mirrors… will hurt him badly. There will still be no clear ‘runaway frontrunner’ for the GOP nomination by years end.” Spot on. “No Democratic challenger to Obama”: Correct. “Ron Paul won’t run again.” Big Wrong. I would of thought Paul would of have figured out the last time he ran in 2008 that the GOP establishment would NEVER support him no matter what. Clearly, Paul’s ego (or ambition, or both) are far bigger than I imagined.
11] All troops would be out of Iraq by years end as promised: Correct. A token withdrawal of 5,000 troops from Afghanistan (wrong) to satisfy Obama’s July-2011 deadline did not come to pass because Congress voted it down, but Obama’s promise to pull “10,000 troops out of Afghanistan by years end” DID come to pass, pulling out all 10,000 in one fell swoop just last week. (23,000 more are supposed to be out by next September. We’ll see.)
12] Gitmo will still be open and in operation, despite 2008 campaign promise: Correct
13] “Michael Steele will be reelected as head of the GOP”: Wrong (Steel was pressured to drop out before the GOP vote took place.) I argued that, despite Steele’s incredible incompetence, the GOP would keep him on as the Face of the GOP to avoid reinforcing their image as the “Old Rich White Men” Party. Clearly, the GOP doesn’t mind that perception at all.
14] (quote) “Will Congress raise the Debt Ceiling over the protests of the Tea Party? They’ll hem. They’ll haw. They’ll drag it out for weeks, and flirt with shutting down the government over it, but in the end, they pretty much have no choice. Tea Party candidates that think it is unnecessary and say they’ll vote against it, will be allowed to vote “No” knowing that Democrats will give them cover, allowing teanuts like Rand Paul to take “a principled stand” from which they can safely lob grenades at responsible Democrats.” Couldn’t of been more Correct.
15] “will we see significant inflation in 2011? I say No.” Correct.
16] Osama bin Laden will not be caught or release another video: Wow was I wrong on that one… or was I? He wasn’t “captured” and didn’t release another video, did he? Okay, that’s pushing it. I honestly thought that would be the only “safe” prediction I made, guaranteeing me at least one right. Never been so happy to be wrong for a prediction.
12 13 out of 19 correct ( 63% 68%). I’ll take it.
And now for my favorite part: How did I fare against “professional” prognosticators?
Cable TV “Celebrity Psychic” Janet Russell went 0 for 11 (unless you count “predicting” Universal Health Care passing… which passed in 2009. And as far as I’m aware, Atlantis did not resurface. Please correct me if I’m wrong.
Mentalist/futurist/”psychic” Sidney Friedman sees good news coming, including a dropping unemployment rate, an Oscar for Colin Firth, and a gropey three-way for Justin Bieber.
Los Angeles psychic Judy Hevenly sees an increase in work-from-home jobs, strong markets for oil and gold, and a special steel pendant that repels common cold germs through ionic means.
Is it just me, or do they seem to go totally off the rails on those third predictions?
A “loose organization” of Christians led by notorious End-Times crackpot “Harold Camping” predicted May 21st would be “the end of the world”. In case you didn’t notice, we’re all still here. When May 21st came and went, Camping claimed a “spiritual Rapture” had indeed taken place on that date (so everyone was running around with no soul’s? Where did he live? D.C.?) and that the “physical” (or “bodily”) Rapture would actually occur on October 21. Another swing and a miss.
Famed psychic Sylvia Browne predicted the tsunami that hit Japan last March! Wow! Mmmm, no. No she predicted an “Asian tsunami in 2009″ and… as famed “debunk artist James Randi” points out, Browne predicts an Asian tsunami just about EVERY year. And while Browne was IN Hawaii the day before the earthquake hit giving a TV interview, the famed “psychic” never once mentioned the earthquake that was about to strike, nor the tsunami to follow (or the nuclear disaster after that.) Instead, she talked about her planned (foreseen?) visit to Japan “next year”. Gee, you’d think a “real” psychic would detect impending doom of that magnitude, no? Compared to these people, I’m freaking Nostradamus.
Being a major election year, 2012 is a great year for “predicting”. So here are MY predictions for 2012:
- The first one is easy: President Obama will win reelection. Handily. I’d say by roughly the same margin he beat John McCain (around 5% of the popular vote). I’ve been saying this for nearly a year, and I’m more sure now than I’ve ever been. I kept waiting for Republican’s to tire of trying desperately to find someone… ANYONE… other than Mitt Romney to run against President Obama, but here we are at the end of the year and “Family Values” Republicans actually rallied behind Newt Gingrich of all people. And as the Iowa Caucus draws near, Newtie’s poll number have begun to slip as Conservatives remember just what a turd-in-the-punchbowl he really is. And this leads to two more “predictions”…
- Update: 11/7/12 – Obama wins reelection, defeating Mitt Romney 332 to 206 Electoral Votes and 2.67 Million (4.2% more) Popular Votes. Obama defeated McCain 365-173 in 2008.
- Romney will be the GOP nominee. That is clear. Other candidates have peaked & vallied around him all year long, but Romney has steadily polled in the mid-20′s all year long. Challengers may come and go, but Mitt has remained in the “Top Tier” the whole time. Evangelical voters will NEVER vote for a Mormon out of fear of “legitimizing” a religion they perceive to be a “cult”. And that’s a BIG problem for Romney since Evangelicals make up THE most fervent, motivated and reliable voting block for the GOP (“Dubya” could never have “won” without the Evangelical vote.) That “enthusiasm gap” will ensure Romney never draws the support he needs to win.
- And with disappointed, unenthusiastic Republicans not motivated enough to get out to the polls and pull the lever for Mitt Romney, coupled with angry motivated Democrats annoyed by endless GOP obstruction in Congress delaying any recovery simply to score political points, expect Romney’s “enthusiasm gap” to have an effect “down ballot”, with Democrats making big gains in the House and
picking upholding onto at least five seats in the Senate. (I modified this prediction on Dec 30 upon realizing Democrats are giving up 7 of the 9 Senate seats that will be up for grabs in 2012, making any gain incredibly difficult. Democrats would have to run the table, winning every single Senate race in order to gain two seats. Unlikely. 2012 hasn’t started yet, so I’m invoking Authors’ Privilege here and changing this prediction.)
- Update 11/7/12: Republicans tried to claim the “enthusiasm gap” lie with Democrats, even though Early Voting went HEAVILY to Obama. In the end, not only did Obama win big over Romney, but Democrats retained ALL 23 Democratic Senate seats PLUS two of 10 Republican seats.
- The “Arab Spring” uprisings will finally reach Iraq now that all American troops have left the country. I’m going to go out on a limb here and disagree with most pundits predicting a civil war in Iraq next year. I think that after eight years, the Iraq’s feel they’ve had enough war disrupting their lives and will instead focus on demanding the services expected of an effective modern government… like more than just one-hour of electricity per day. I DON”T expect Shia & Sunni’s to protest together in the streets… not at first anyway. Maybe separate demonstrations made up of like tribe members. IF the protests go on for more than a month, the two groups may actually decide there is strength in numbers and protest together, greatly increasing their numbers, all fighting for a common cause. If so, the positive repercussions could be incredible, bringing some much needed stability in that region of the world.
- Gas prices will hit a new record high momentarily next Summer (over $4.25 nationally) as the protests in the Middle East grow, but will come back down to nearly $3/gal in time for the November election.
- Syria’s King Assad won’t still be in power by the end of 2012, and out even earlier if the Arab League gets involved… which they may feel they have no choice but to do if the Syrian government continues to massacre its own people. The United States will NOT get involved in the war or the removal of Assad.
UPDATE: Not even 2012 yet, the Arab League has already sent 60 Monitors into Syria, resulting in the government withdrawing tanks and “suspending military operations” against protesters.
- After doing well in Iowa, the charges of “racism” surrounding Ron Paul will hurt him badly in early primary states as Paul fails miserably to explain his involvement with his racists “newsletters” from the early 90′s. If Paul wins a primary after April, he will run as an Independent, eroding the Romney vote even more.
- Since both Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry failed to collect enough signatures to get on the ballot in time for the Virgina primary, Romney will win the state easily (but with low voter turnout). Gingrich will take the VA Elections Commission to court challenging their decision not to place him on the ballot. Perry, on the other hand, after doing poorly in previous states, will drop out of the race BEFORE the Virgina primary, rendering his “not appearing on the ballot” feux pas moot.
- The 99% movement will gain strength in the lead up to the November election. Republicans will continue to mock & ignore them while President Obama actually holds a rally addressing them specifically. GOP candidates will counter by addressing “Tea Party” rallies, finally confirming what we’ve always known: that the Tea Party and the “Occupy Wall Street” protests are polar opposites of one another.
- The Supreme Court will finally rule on the legality of “ObamaCare” and the Federal Governments’ power to make you buy something. The court has already indicated that they agree such power is well within the purview of the Federal government. The fact is, “ObamaCare” does NOT force you to buy insurance like its critics claim. The government has simply created a new tax to offset the cost of covering the uninsured, which you’re exempted from paying if you purchase insurance. Your choice. I expect AT LEAST a 5-4 victory upholding the constitutionality of “ObamaCare”, resulting in the GOP candidates campaigning on the need to appoint “much more Conservative” judges to the Supreme Court that would never have agreed with this Court’s decision, promising to appoint judges that will “overturn” the offending decision. (Sub-prediction: Democrats will AGAIN fail to point out the utter hypocrisy of Republicans accusing Democrats of wanting to appoint “activist judges” to overturn legislation they don’t like.)
- (Addendum: As noted Insurance Industry whistleblower Wendel Potter pointed out, it’s not just Democrats. insurance companies want the mandate too.)
- (Update: June 28, Supreme Court rules The Affordable Care Act… as well as the Mandate… completely Constitutional, declaring that though the “penalty” is not a “tax”, the governments’ power to issue a penalty is the same as the governments’ power to tax.)
- Someone will FINALLY get around to asking the GOP candidates that “if they repeal ObamaCare, what would they replace it with?” “Nothing” will not be seen an acceptable answer. Whatever response the GOP candidate(s) give will be used (effectively) in campaign ads against them.
- (Update: Many sources did indeed start asking about the “replace” portion of the GOP’s call to “repeal & replace”, but this exchange on “Fox news Sunday” on June 30th in particular stands out.)
- Surprisingly, the return of soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan won’t strain the job market as much as expected. Instead, the sudden influx of tens of thousands of consumers still receiving their government paychecks pouring money into the economy will create an unexpected “mini-stimulus”.
- Despite a rise in Republican obstruction in the House (as prospects for a GOP victory in November grow ever more bleak), Unemployment will be under 8% in time for the election.
- Gitmo will still be in service by the time of the November election. Military tribunals will resume in the Summer.
- The planned removal of 23,000 additional soldiers from Afghanistan by September 2012 will hit a snag as my predicted protests rise in Iraq and unrest in Syria continues to climb. House Republicans will do everything within their power to scuttle a vote on that withdrawal. The extraction should still take place, but not on schedule.
- Wrong: Final surge troops leave Afghanistan – September 20.
- Thanks to incredibly tight security, the London Olympic Summer Games will go off without a hitch.
- I forgot to include: If Mitt Romney does win his Party’s nomination as predicted, Virgina Governor Bob McDonnell will be his running mate.
(Follow-up: 1/19/2012 – Perry, still polling in the single digits in South Carolina, drops out of the race and endorsed Newt Gingrich following a failed challenge of the VA Elections Commission to get on the ballot.)
(UPDATED DEC, 31… EDITORS’ PRIVILEGE)
So that’s it. Another
16 17 predictions, one more than last year. I think out of all my predictions, the ones about unemployment and the state of our economy are the most volatile, depending heavily upon just how badly Republicans in Congress are willing to tank the economy just to hurt the president by November. But it’s a Kamikaze mission because a bad economy hurts ALL incumbents, including the GOP Controlled House. Are they all dumb enough to think they can damage the economy (and by extension, Obama) and emerge unscathed? Are they really… as my grandmother used to say of herself… “sharp as a whip”?
Happy New Year folks! See you in January. It’s going to be quite a year.
(Reminder: I’ve posted direct links to my “List II” reviews of the remaining GOP candidates in the righthand column under “ELECTION 2012″. Be sure to recheck them frequently as they are being undated constantly.)
Sign my petition for GREEN JOBS TOMORROW fast & cheap. Use those $4 Billion in oil subsidies to put Solar Panels on the roofs of 40,000 government buildings, or order 100,000 hybrid mail-trucks. Not only would this INSTANTLY CREATE JOBS, it would spark ENTIRE INDUSTRIES with a future, reduce our dependency on oil, reduce greenhouse emissions, and quickly pay for itself (and cut future expenses) with the energy savings. We need 5,000 signatures by
December 20th(extended to January 20th).
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