2011 Predictions
A look into the crystal ball



What might happen in the upcoming year? We asked a few of National Review Online’s sages to prophesy the events of 2011.

John Derbyshire

Domestic affairs. 2011 will be the year that the full scale of our fiscal crisis becomes clear, even to politicians. They will likely be able to postpone the inevitable for another year or so, though. (The inevitable being real, massive reductions in federal and state spending, entitlements cut to the bone, major public-sector layoffs, etc.) Start practicing the term “QE3.” Of course the longer the politicians postpone it, the worse the crash will be: but politicians always think the horse may sing.

Federal bailout of states and cities whose finances have collapsed will become a major issue. Citizens of better-managed jurisdictions, and Tea Partiers everywhere, will object mightily, and the rest of us will watch in horror as the deficit doubles, but the bailouts will happen anyway for fear of a devastating crisis in the bond markets.

Numerology: People will make a great fuss about 11/11/11.

Vocabulary: The word “austerity” will be heard a lot.

The culture: Obsessive texting on tiny communication gadgets will become so widespread that at some moment in some daylight hour of 2011, nobody in the U.S.A. will be speaking to anyone else.

Foreign affairs: One country will leave the Euro, probably Germany.

China will begin visibly to turn the corner from Wirtschaftswunder to 東亞—…夫 (Sick Man of Asia) as all the rising graphs start to flatten out. Environmental degradation, class resentments, demographing cratering, corruption, and fiscal reality will gain ground over resource development, embourgeoisement, entrepreneurial energy, Party authority, and grandiose government projects. Just a beginning, nothing very dramatic: a big-city demonstration out of control here, a local food or water crisis there, some high-profile corruption trials, continuing intractable price inflation …

Math: Some generous publisher will offer me a handsome advance to write a book on the Banach-Tarski Paradox.

Leadership. Barack Obama will turn 50, the age at which Confucius said he knew the will of Heaven.

— John Derbyshire is a contributor editor of National Review.


Jonah Goldberg

My predictions for 2011 will be 12.7 percent more accurate than my 2010 elections were, which is to say not very accurate at all.

By the end of the year, Wikileaks will be recognized as the “Napster” of data-dump sites and Julian Assange as the Shawn Fanning of a phenomenon that totally eclipses his importance.

The mainstream media will, by the end of the year, start to rekindle its love for Obama after a few months of bickering and sniping over his alleged move to the center.

Obama will face another moment arguably similar to the Iranian Green revolution, only this time in North Korea. He will opt for stability over freedom, again.

There will be a large number of very successful symbolic cuts to the budget and too few substantive ones.

Newt Gingrich will do much better than expected in the pre-primary debates, garnering support from both anti-establishment conservatives who don’t think Sarah Palin is electable and from mainstream conservatives who don’t think Romney is conservative enough.

The total number of “serious” candidates seeking the Republican nomination will be over 12. The number of “serious” candidates running after the South Carolina primary will be less than 6.

Guantanamo Bay prison will not be closed.

Fidel Castro will die.

Europe’s financial crisis will get far worse. At least one country will actively try to leave the Euro causing a major political crisis.

China will experience a major economic correction, causing global concern over Chinese political stability.

A rise in global food prices will create an international crisis.

By the end of the year, no one will think the Newsweek-Daily Beast merger was a good idea.

There will be no major international global-warming agreements.

My predictions for 2012 will have a lot more jokes. 

Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of  National Review Online.


Mark Goldblatt

In sports: No New York franchise will win a championship in 2011. The Jets will fire Sal (Day Tripper) Alosi, but he’ll land on his feet and star in a reality TV show.

On the war: President Obama will continue to play Predator Whac-A-Mole with Al-Qaeda on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. He will be right to do so. Noam Chomsky will repeatedly and publicly call him a war criminal. Noam Chomsky will be called a racist.

In politics: Sarah Palin will announce her intention to run for president in 2012, then announce a week later that she was only kidding–that she just wanted to see what the op ed page of the New York Times would say. Frank Rich will call her a war criminal. Frank Rich will be invited to the White House.

On television: The funniest show on TV will be Family Guy, ending the ten year reign of CSPAN’s live coverage of Tavis Smiley’s State of the Black Union. (Smiley has said he will no longer hold the event.) If you never thought SOBU was funny . . . well, I guess that GED’s not working out for you, is it?

In books: Having been ignored by critics and readers, my latest novel Sloth will win the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. At the awards dinner, I will give a stemwinder of an acceptance speech decrying the sphinctering effect of MFA programs on American fiction . . . in the middle of which I will wake up and kiss Victoria Principal.

—  Mark Goldblatts latest novel is Slothfrom Greenpoint Press.


Charlotte Hays

After the last two terrible years, 2011 is going to be a tipping point, and I think the country will tip in a positive direction, thanks largely to the Tea Party, the heroes and heroines of 2010. The apparent lurch to the left two years ago was the result of mistaken identity. Here are my predictions:

The Republicans and the Tea Party will disappoint the media by getting along swimmingly. The Republicans know what a mess they left behind the last time they were in power. This time they know they must be sober and will begin the process of cutting back on spending. This is not because of the perfectibility of Republicans — it is because of the Tea Party and because the financial situation has become so dire that we are at a tipping point. The public will throw out the (Republican) bums if they don’t do what they said they would do.

The Left will be emboldened by the president’s tepid attempts to bow, ever how ungraciously, to reality. They are far more numerous and more radical than many realized and they will go wild in 2011; the Democratic rump in the House, under the fetching leadership of San Fran Nan will wage holy war on every sensible proposition that comes before them. But there will be no real effort to mount a primary challenge against Barack Obama: They know their own. When Edward Kennedy ran a primary challenge against Jimmy Carter, Carter still looked enough like the southern Baptist gentleman to appear alienated from the left. Today the left knows that Obama is as good as it gets.

The rich will start sticking up for themselves. Hey, we mid-income bloggers can’t be the only ones making the argument for you Richie Riches. The rich must stand up and say that, in a country that was founded by people who sailed across the treacherous Atlantic and founded a great (exceptional!) nation on wild shores and went on to prosper, making money and doing well is no sin. We must be charitable to those who fail, but we must realize that those who succeed help society more than the next government handout. I think we’re on the tipping point on this issue, too.  

President Obama will go completely gray. He thought this job would be a lot of fun. He thought it was all about talking. But it isn’t. Most presidents have experienced failure before they reach this high office — he had not and now he doesn’t quite know what to do. I predict that he will give serious consideration to not running again. I know which way I want him go decide. I don’t go along with those who think he has rescued himself with the tax deal. The fight to dismantle ObamaCare is going to prevent the president from posing as a centrist as he did during the campaign.  

Republicans will learn to avoid the words “American Dream.” These are the words that seem to make Speaker-to-be John Boehner cry. It’s not a good look. But you know what? I think that, as long as it’s not a daily occurrence, Americans won’t mind Boehner’s tears. They are genuine. We elected a glamour puss for president last time. I predict that 2011 will be the year we reject charisma. This is good news for a whole batch of Republican hopefuls, including most notably Mitch Daniels. It is not good for Sarah Palin.

— Charlotte Hays is co-author of Being Dead Is No Excuse: The Official Southern Ladies Guide to Hosting the Perfect Funeral.


Kathryn Jean Lopez

Mitt Romney will seriously consider not running for president.

Jeb Bush will seriously reconsider not running for president.

Hillary Clinton will not resign and run for president.

I will finally stop making presidential-primary predictions.

Sarah Palin will continue to be the subject of at least one MSNBC news story a day.

We will stop talking about mama grizzlies because mama grizzlies have officially broken the longtime conventional insistence that conservative-women don’t quite count as serious women.

At a quarter after one and a little drunk, country group Lady Antebellum will official crossover to pop.

Michael Steele will become an MSNBC commentator.

I will live-tweet Dana Perino at the Country Music Awards (see below).

I will compile all of my near-decade-long blogging output into an encyclopedia-sized series of bad predictions.

— Kathryn Jean Lopez is editor-at-large of National Review Online.


Steven Hayward

The great thing about predictions is that no one ever checks back six months or a year or 500 years later to see how they turned out (most Nostradamus predictions are fake anyway), so the obvious incentive is to offer up the outlandish and fanciful. On the other hand, these days the outlandish and fanciful have a way of coming true. As Churchill put it in My Early Life (1930), “Scarcely anything material or established which I was brought up to believe was permanent and vital, has lasted. Everything I was sure or taught to be sure was impossible, has happened.”

So here are my offerings. See if you can spot the fake ones:

1. One of the cable channels will offer up a summer replacement reality show, “Jonah and the Cosmos,” about an insouciant syndicated columnist transporting a squad of dogs across the country to Alaska in a minivan. The dramatic tension will revolve around who will drive the columnist the most crazy — editors, or the dogs. Media Matters for America will join with PETA to allege animal cruelty. Keith Olbermann will. . . oh heck, finish that sentence yourself.

2. House Democrats will hand Republicans a gift by renaming Nancy Pelosi as their leader. . . oh, wait — they already did that?? Another vindication of the reason Malcom Muggeridge gave up satire — real life is now so absurd that you can’t make this stuff up.

3. The Arab League will come out publicly with a plea for the United States to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities, and will do so in a way that implicitly gives the green light for Israel to do it if Obama is too timid. This will involve a second implicit setback for Obama, as it will hang out to dry the West Bank settlements issue and Palestinian negotiations.

4. When Democratic efforts to eliminate the Senate filibuster fail, a new surprise cause will emerge — repeal of the 22ndAmendment, so that Bill Clinton can run for a third term in 2012 and save the party from Obama. Why shouldn’t Democrats turn to the hyper-competent first black president to save us from the incompetent second black president?

5. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie will go on a diet and/or grow a mustache, which means. . .? But if even he doesn’t, expect a grassroots groundswell behind a GOP ticket of Christie and John Bolton, for the singular purpose of reviving the William Howard Taft look (rotundity and facial hair) in presidential politics.

— Steven F. Hayward is F. K. Weyerhaeuser Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and author of The Age of Reagan.


Carrie Lukas

2011 will be a great year for education reform and a devastating one for teacher’s unions. The historic Republican gains in the state legislatures give innovative governors the opening to push for bold reforms. Governors across the country, from Governor Daniels in Indiana to Scott in Florida to Martinez in New Mexico, won’t let this opportunity go to waste.

While Sarah Palin will draw the most media attention in 2011, the mainstream media won’t be able to demonize all the emerging Republican women. Be on the watch for new rising GOP female stars.

Sarah Palin will realize she can have the most positive impact — and frustrate the Left the most — by staying out of the Presidential contest, remaining as a lightning rod for Republican-bashers and a king-maker for aspiring Republican leaders.

New Jersey’s Christ Christie will run.

– Carrie Lukas is the vice president for policy and economics at the Independent Women’s Forum and the author of The Politically Incorrect Guide to Women, Sex, and Feminism.


John J. Miller

Sarah Palin will announce that she won’t run for president.

Large numbers of American troops will remain in Afghanistan.

Fidel Castro will die.

The New England Patriots will win the Super Bowl, the Detroit Red Wings will win lift Stanley Cup, the Los Angeles Lakers will repeat as NBA champs, and the Philadelphia Phillies will take their second World Series title in four years.

–John J. Miller is NR’s national correspondent and the author of The First Assassin. His personal website is


Dana Perino

President Obama will exercise his first veto. Only a minimal number of American troops will come home from Afghanistan. It will become fashionable not to be on social media sites 20 times a day. I will be invited to provide commentary at the Country Music Awards (this is not a prediction — it’s a wish!).

— Dana Perino was White House press secretary under President George W. Bush.


David Pryce-Jones

Being of a cautious disposition, I go only for safe bets. One, Spain’s economic troubles are going to precipitate the long awaited crisis of the euro. Two, eurocrats will no longer be able to pretend it is business as usual, gold bugs will be jumping high, and three – riots throughout Europe are going to do wonders for the plate glass industry. Four, crisis in Egypt — it is impossible to decide which is worse, the 82-year-old Hosni Mubarak rigging the presidential election for the umpteenth time, or pushing his son into the office. And five, more power to Stuxnet.

David Pryce-Jones is an NR senior editor.


Andrew Stuttaford

There will be dramas and panics to spare (Portugal will be next), but the euro will still be around at the end of 2011, bolstered by ever-increasing Eurozone budgetary harmonization. The EU’s ruling class has invested too much political capital in this project to allow it to fail: whatever the cost — and the cost will be very high, economically, politically and socially.

No clear leader will have emerged in the GOP contest for the presidential nomination. Beyond the declared (or more or less declared) candidates already out there, Paul Ryan will not (alas) run, but Mitch Daniels just might. Mike Huckabee could well have a go, fusing social conservatism with a dash of leftist economics, while Jim DeMint might well be tempted to have a go. Sarah Palin? I have no idea.

The financial plight of many states will continue to worsen, and the muni market will lurch deep into crisis.

Iran and North Korea will end up the year looking pretty much like they look today, except that their nuclear programs will be further along. Cyber-attacks can only do so much. One game changer could be if the Grim Reaper comes calling for Kim Jong Il. If his son actually succeeds his unlamented father it will be as a figurehead, with the real power resting with one or two generals. Could they be (relative) pragmatists?

Silvio Berlusconi will continue to be Europe’s most entertaining prime minister. Belgium will continue to be Europe’s most unnecessary country.

The Japanese will continue to reject the advice of those who claim (wrongly) that large scale immigration is the answer to the ‘problem’ posed by a declining population.

Vladimir Putin will announce that he is ‘running’ for the Russian presidency in 2012.

As always, terrorism remains a hideous wild card. Recent events in Stockholm are just the latest warning.

— Andrew Stuttaford is a contributing editor of National Review.