Sunday, January 01, 2006

In Your Future I See ...

[[F O R E C A S T S]] * In addition to formulating New Year’s resolutions, it seems to have become traditional on January 1 to make predictions of what will transpire over the next 12 months. Notwithstanding the opportunity for error (remember all those past prognostications that had Madonna undergoing a religious experience and becoming a gospel singer, and Barbara Walters being kidnapped by terrorists?), folks apparently can’t stop themselves from endeavoring to divine what events will soon be making headlines around the globe.

So, for 2006 we have actor Alec Baldwin foretelling of a Democratic takeover of the U.S. Senate next November, which he says will lead to veep Dick Cheney’s impeachment. In The Huffington Post, New York journalist Nina Burleigh prophesies that FOX News misinformer Bill O’Reilly will (like Rush Limbaugh before him) “cop to an oxycontin problem and go deaf,” and that henchmen for former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) will break into the offices of Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle and destroy documents (but DeLay “will be convicted anyway”). Newsweek political columnist Howard Fineman is forecasting that, after recent revelations about George W. Bush’s secret domestic surveillance campaign, 2006 will bring “the angriest, most divisive season of political theater since the days of Richard Nixon,” and that we’ll be hearing “much more” talk of Bush’s impeachment during the next year.

Courtesy of Joe Gandleman’s The Moderate Voice come links to a variety of psychic expectations for the new year, among them:
● There will be another terrorist attack planned between April and May 2006 in New York City.
● Another Supreme Court vacancy occurs in 2006. Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg will step down for health reasons.
Barack Obama will announce his intention to run for president.
Katie Holmes will have a nervous breakdown and go back home to live with her parents for a couple of years, sans baby.
● Jennifer Aniston becomes pregnant and marries a big Hollywood star.
● Oprah Winfrey will start an orphanage in South Africa after her show concludes.
● Michael Jackson will attempt to commit suicide.
● British Prime Minister Tony Blair will get kicked out of government before his term of office ends, and Bush will also be forced to resign, “after events take a strange turn.”
● Pope Benedict XVI will get ill in November. He won’t die this year, but when he does, his successor will be black.
Meanwhile, the National Review polled some of its favorite conservative commentators for their guesses at what 2006 will bring (a list that makes Jonathan Singer of MyDD “wonder how some of these people are able to make a living in politics”). Among their predictions:
● In Pennsylvania, incumbent U.S. Senator Rick Santorum will go down to defeat at the hands of Bob Casey Jr.
● Tom DeLay will be acquitted. Grover Norquist will be indicted. Jack Abramoff will be convicted.
● Howard Dean will not finish 2006 as chairman of the Democratic National Committee.
● Former CIA agent Valerie Plame poses in Playboy.
● Tom Kean Jr. becomes the first Republican to win statewide office in New Jersey since 1997, and the first conservative in decades.
● The space-shuttle program will be shut down for good.
● General Motors will be purchased by Google.
Commander in Chief’s Geena Davis does a fundraiser for Hillary Clinton. Hillary Clinton makes a cameo appearance on Commander in Chief.
● Samuel Alito will be confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court with fewer votes than John Roberts received.
● And, by Christmas 2006, George W. Bush’s approval ratings will be 57 percent.
See how much fun this prognosticating business can be? Of course, some of these forecasts are pretty ludicrous (for instance, the chances of Dubya seeing the top side of a 50-percent approval rating next year--after sustaining a Nixonian erosion of popularity in 2005--are almost as good as the odds of Knight Rider making a comeback). But since when have political pundits and other media talking heads been silenced by the potentiality of their opinions being proved wrong?

In that spirit (and with the hope that nobody will take me any more seriously than they do the sources cited above), allow me to do a bit of my own crystal ball gazing for the coming year. In the depths of that fallible oracle I see that:

● After sustaining a “vote of no confidence” during last fall’s California special election, when all four of his ballot initiatives were defeated, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger will find it impossible between now and November 2006, when his term ends, to drum up sufficient support for re-election. Pounding the final nail into his coffin will be a more socially conservative Republican, who splits what remains of Arnold’s GOP base and throws the California governor’s office to a Democrat.
● U.S. Senator Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), having recently failed in his attempt to open the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) to oil drilling--after which vote he proclaimed, “I say good-bye to the Senate tonight”--will indeed retire, halfway through his seventh term.
● Unsuccessful in trying to recapture his former post in the U.S. House leadership, Tom DeLay will cut a deal with DA Ronnie Earle that keeps him out of the slammer. But his involvement with embattled GOP “superlobbyist” Jack Abramhoff will ultimately lead to DeLay’s defeat during the 2006 midterm elections.
● Kentucky’s Republican governor, Ernie Fletcher, will be indicted on felony charges for his role in that state’s merit system criminal probe.
● Ohio Governor Bob Taft, indicted in 2005 on four criminal misdemeanor counts stemming from his failure to report a series of golf outings, meals, and other gifts, will prove to be a serious drain on his state’s Republican Party. As a result, not only will he be succeeded by a Democrat, but second-term Republican U.S. Senator Mike DeWine will also lose his seat to a Dem. So much for Ohio as a GOP stronghold.
● Senator Harry Reid (D-Nevada) will replace the retiring Bill Frist, after Dems recapture the U.S. Senate in November 2006. Meanwhile, Frist (R-Tennessee)--following a series of setbacks, and after being abandoned by the White House--will in turn abandon his embryonic campaign for the presidency in 2008.
● After barely surviving his re-election race next November, Senator Lincoln Chafee (R-Rhode Island) will switch parties and join the new majority Democrats.
● Karl Rove won’t be indicted in the CIA leak scandal, but at least one other Bush loyalist will be.
● White House spokesman Scott McClellan will finally spin himself straight down into the floor of the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room.
● As the domestic spying scandal widens, and as additional White House outrages come to light, the press will turn increasingly negative toward Bush--and not just the so-called liberal media, either.
● Even MSNBC’s designated Bush suck-up, Chris Matthews (“he belongs on Mount Rushmore”), will find it difficult to continue supporting the prez.
● Dick Cheney, using his continuing health problems as an excuse, will plan to retire early from the West Wing. Bush can be expected to replace him with an anointed successor who’ll help to undermine any possibility of the GOP nominating his old nemesis, John McCain, in 2008.
● Billionaire Donald Trump will toy with the idea of running for governor of New York, facing off against state Attorney General Eliot Spitzer. But since he’s a registered Democrat, like Spitzer, he’ll finally turn down the Republican Party’s offer to back his play. Instead, The Donald will consider spinning off a new edition of The Apprentice, this one placing golden-touch TV/film producer Jerry Bruckheimer in the boss’ seat.
● NBC-TV’s The West Wing will be renewed for an eighth season. Following the recent death of John Spencer, who played Leo McGarry on the Emmy-winning series, newly elected president Matthew Santos (Jimmy Smits) will choose a woman to replace McGarry in the vice president’s office.
● Paul Newman and Robert Redford will announce that they’re teaming up to make a third movie together.
● Lauren Graham will win a well-deserved Emmy Award for her starring role on the
WB’s Gilmore Girls.
● After trying to improve the fortunes of TV Guide by turning it into People magazine, Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation will begin shopping it around to prospective buyers.
● Kiss The O.C. good-bye.
● Ditto the Segway.
● And come next Christmas, FOX News will once again try to convince gullible Americans that “secular liberals” are conducting a war on Christmas.

I know, I know: I’m going way out on a limb with some of these foresights (though certainly not the last one). But, hey, I figure I can’t be any more wrong than others who’ve made a stab at this game. At least I’ve refrained from suggesting that Madonna will be doing covers of “Nearer, My God, to Thee” at any time soon.

READ MORE:Democrats Keep the Senate in Sight,” by Adam Nagourney (The New York Times); “The I-Word is Gaining Ground,” by Katrina vanden Heuvel (The Nation); “Sunday Discussion Group--Predictions 2006 Edition,” by Steve Benen (The Carpetbagger Report); “2006 Predictions,” by Mark Nickolas (The Bluegrass Report); “MyDD 2006 Predictions,” by Jonathan Singer (MyDD); “Predicting the Shit Out of Stuff,” by Bob Cesca (The Huffington Post); “Top 10 Stories of 2006,” by Eugene Robinson (The Washington Post); “Bush’s New Year’s Resolutions for 2006,” by Seth Greenland (The Huffington Post); “100 Things We Didn’t Know This Time Last Year” (BBC News).

1 comment:

Chris Laurel said...

It is too bad you do not see that we will finally fix the problems with the structure of Amerian legal education.

I am drafting a letter to the dean of my law school and the American Bar Association. I'd welcome your input. It is the first entry of my blog: