With 2008 upon us, I feel moved to make some wildly improbable predictions and some more-or-less reasonable guesses about how history will unfold in the coming year. I think maybe 10% of my predictions for 2007 arguably came to pass, at least by the lax standards applied to the vague utterances of a Nostradamus. I'm sure I'll do much, much worse this year.
The big question on everyone's minds is, of course, who will be El Presidente of our great banana Republic? There's what my non-existent psychic powers tell me, and what my political sense tells me.
Psychically, I am dead certain that the next President of the United States will be Ron Paul, and his Vice President will be Dennis Kucinich. They will both fail to gain their respective parties' nominations, but will be chosen for the Unity08 ticket, run as independents and win in a very close plurality. Both men will be assassinated immediately following their inaugurations by Hellfire missiles launched from Predator drones, which also wipes out 3/4th of Congress, most of the presumptive cabinet members, and 1/3rd of the Federal Judiciary - thus fulfilling President Paul's desired legacy, only slightly posthumously.
Using my unfailing political horse-sense rather than my spookier powers, the 2008 race will shake out as follows:
For the Democrats:
Edwards will win Iowa, Hillary will place second, and Obama a disappointing third (considering his campaign has predicted a win). Edwards' win will propel him to a second-place showing in New Hampshire and Obama will pull out a surprising win. Hillary will under-perform with a fourth-place showing after Joe Biden. Hillary's campaign will be deeply troubled by the two early losses without a prospect of a win in any state but Florida prior to Tsunami Tuesday. Edwards and Obama will finish one, two in Michigan. Obama will win the South Carolina primary followed closely by Edwards, and Edwards will win the Nevada caucuses, followed closely Richardson and Obama. Hillary will begin to sink like a stone in national and Tsunami states as her air of electability and inevitability is stripped from her. Edwards and Obama and Clinton run a close first, second and third in Florida. By Tsunami Tuesday, the race will be between Edwards and Obama with an edge to Obama due to his greater resources to buy ads in large states. Nevertheless, Edwards will prevail in California and in most Tsunami states beyond Illinois (Obama) and New York (Clinton) and will soon thereafter make an early offer the Vice Presidency to Hillary Clinton to gain access to her fund-raising machine. She will accept. The Edwards-Clinton ticket will win the Presidency in 2008 with tremendous Congressional and state coat-tails.
For the Republicans:
Mike Huckabee will win Iowa. McCain will win New Hampshire, followed very closely by Romney and Ron Paul. Paul will pull off a surprise win in Nevada, followed closely by Romney. Romney will win Wisconsin. Thompson will win South Carolina. Giuliani will win in Florida. The result is that Tsunami Tuesday will arrive without any candidate having won more than one early primary and no clear front-runner having emerged. With fund-raising kicked into high-gear by early wins, Huckabee, McCain, Romney, Giuliani and Paul will break all previous fund-raising records and spending records in key Tsunami states. Romney will break out the self-financing weapon and outspend everyone else combined. He will essentially purchase the Tsunami and close the deal for the GOP nomination. He will tap Huckabee as his running mate and the Romney-Huckabee ticket will be duly creamed in the general election despite tapping liberally into Romney's personal fortune and evangelical collection plates and Mormon tithes nation-wide.
Democrats will pick up 6 seats in the Senate and 12 new seats in the House, despite public dissatisfaction with Congressional performance. Locally, Gabby Giffords and Harry Mitchell will shoulder aside revanchist campaigns by the GOP to retake their seats and Democrats will capture the open seat in CD 1 (I decline to handicap that Democratic primary as yet) as one of the dozen pickups nationally.
Not having been punished electorally for their dereliction of their constitutional duties during the final years of the Bush War Crime Spree, Congress finds itself unable and unwilling to check an accelerating schedule of abuses by the Bush Crime Syndicate in preparation for leaving office as they move to immunize their members against legal process and prepare for their future financial well-being through obvious and outrageous graft, war-profiteering, and conflicts of interest. Public approval of Congress continues a terminal death spiral.
Now, back to my more unconventionally inspired predictions:
Scientists will discover an earth-like planet with similar atmosphere and surface water orbiting a star roughly 50 light-years from earth. Immediately dubbed Earth 2 by the media, the selling of scam shares of a colonization expedition becomes the most common genre of email spam.
Like the Shah of Iran, Musharraf seems a solid and unshakable ally in U.S. quest for hegemony over the region - until he's suddenly not anymore. Musharrif will be deposed and a virulently pan-nationalist and Islamic regime, which is quite hard to distinguish from the Taliban or Al Qaeda, rises to rule Pakistan and the Islamic bomb. There isn't anything funny about this prediction. At all.
In Iraq, American troops will be drawn down to 50K by the Bush War Crimes Syndicate in advance of November elections, hoping to give the GOP nominee some breathing space. The plan backfires as all factions unite for a Tet-like push in November to which we cannot respond for lack of manpower. Troops huddle in enduring bases to wait out the shelling, abandoning the cities to their fate. The American mega-embassy and the Green Zone have to be evacuated. Again, no yucks here.
It will be revealed that Saudi Arabia has already acquired nuclear weapons and is using American technology to build guidance and triggering systems to make them suitable for deployment against Israel. The Doomsday clock is moved 2 minutes closer to midnight. Jeez, I really need a funny one, don't I?
In addition to the acquisition of a vast estate in Paraguay ,it will be discovered that the Bush War Crimes Syndicate members and Bush himself have purchased large estates in the Bolivian states of Santa Cruz, Tarija, Beni and Pando, and have been funneling money, expertise and weapons to the separatist reactionaries who declared those states an independent nation. In exchange for their help, the new nation will call itself Bushlandia, abrogate all extradition treaties, and are prepared to declare Bush Presidente for life the moment he leaves office in America. Following the coup, Henry Kissinger, Eric Prince, Karl Rove, General Suharto, Sese Seko Mobutu, Radko Mladic, Radovan Karadzic, and Donald Rumsfeld are among the first war crimes refugees to move there and renounce their citizenship to become Bushlandiots. OK, that's a little funny...
Pluripotent cells, aka adult stem cells, begin to get real traction in therapeutic applications, but the Arizona Supreme Court finds that creation of such cells fall within the ban of "human cloning of any sort" adopted by Arizona voters at the encouragement of anti-gay crusaders who claimed that any sort of cloning would allow the creation of legions "homo-babies". Arizona's economy takes a multi-billion dollar hit as medical research and advanced stem cell clinic flee the state along with sizable chunk of our work-force due to the employer sanctions law. State revenues go into free-fall and the Democratic party and Independents both quickly amass a larger number of registered voters in Arizona than Republicans.
In a all-too-revealing moment in the ladies washroom at the Capitol, it is discovered by an alert staffer that Nancy Pelosi is, in fact, Bush-family fixer James Baker III in drag. The "off the table" pledge is finally adequately explained.
Having been denied the Presidency:
- Giuliani becomes a security consultant to Al Qaeda.
- Obama continues his career in the Senate, later becomes Governor of Illinois and then President of the United States.
- Fred Thompson goes back to sleep.
- Richardson becomes Edwards' Secretary of State and then Barak Obama's Vice President. Writes a diet book with Huckabee, loses 100 pounds, later becomes President.
- Romney becomes the new face of the post-neo GOP. Spends the next 24 years running unsuccessfully for the Presidency as the Democratic party dominates national politics for a generation, besting the record for unsuccessful runs at the Presidency of William Jennings Bryan.
- Biden returns to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and eventually a new Senate office building, a number of international airports, and a the headquarters of CitiBank are named after him.
- Huckabee opens a chain of Bible-themed toy stores. Guess what he calls it?
- Dodd becomes Speaker of the House after real Pelosi is found chained in the basement of James Baker III's Texas estate, and it is decided that it was Baker in drag and not Pelosi who was elected Speaker, and thus the position was open.
- Paul becomes Chairman of the RNC.
- Kucinich and his wife launch a new political documentary series which leads to book and film deals. They become media darlings and frequent collaborators with Al Gore; unfortunately, none of them ever become President.