Politics & Policy

NRO’s 2006 Crystal Ball

Predicting 2006.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Another year, more predictions. Every year some brave souls here at National Review Online look into their crystal balls and see what they see for the upcoming year. Enjoy their self-sacrifice. And Happy New Year!

Warren Bell

My predictions for 2006 range from the absolutely certain to the incredibly likely.

‐Hollywood studios will continue to reach out to religious America in their efforts to market movies about gay cowboys, the suffering of terrorists, and greedy corporations. Then when these movies fail at the box office, the studios will respond by blaming competition from videogames and DVDs.

‐The New York Giants will win the Super Bowl. The New York Mets will win the World Series. In fact, every team I like will win every game they play, and during the Winter Olympics, if I give a crap about the sport, the United States will win the gold medal. Like, I don’t care about Ice Dancing, so that could go to Canada or whatever. But we win all the skiing and hockey. I would add that the New York Knicks win the NBA title, but I want this to seem realistic.

‐Aliens from Mars will invade the Earth. Using their giant spider-legged attack vehicles, the invaders will lay waste to human civilization. President Bush will be named to head a hastily assembled International Council of Nations. He will begin a last-ditch effort to counterattack by launching nuclear warheads at Mars on Saturn V rockets. Rep. Nancy Pelosi will immediately condemn his plan as “unnecessary and irrational.” Peace activists will march outside the charred remains of the White House, mourning the tragic loss of innocent Martian life. Michael Moore will release a documentary alleging links between Bush and the Martians. Then all the Martians get sick and die. The End. (I know, what a lame ending, but I couldn’t come up with anything better.)

Warren Bell is a 16-year veteran of the sitcom business (currently executive producer of ABC’s According to Jim) and a not-so-secret conservative.

Denis Boyles

‐In Paris, Jacques Chirac will spend his last year in office watching his prospects for helpful vocational retraining in a French jail diminish as the political fortunes of his favorite self-published poet, Dominique de Villepin, continue to rise.

‐In Pennsylvania, Rick Santorum will go down to defeat at the hands of Bob Casey Jr., causing Pat Toomey to smile a tight little smile.

‐In Kansas, “moderate” Republicans once again will conspire against their own party to help elect Democrat Kathleen Sebelius, one of the most liberal governors in the nation, to another term in office–then once again whine about being excluded from the state GOP leadership.

‐In Manhattan, the New York Times will do a fashion item on the faux Western sheep-cowboy look and “Why can’t I quit you?” will be discussed at Columbia as a serious philosophical question and distributed as a Podcast.

‐In Africa, yet another million of the world’s poorest, weakest people (mostly kids) will die from malaria because the use of DDT offends the faux Western sheep-cowboy consciousness of middle-class Greenpeace types in the U.S. and Europe.

‐In heaven, God will continue his very intelligent project in whatever way He wishes, but that will include the continued de-evolution of the Baltimore Orioles.

Denis Boyles is author of Vile France: Fear, Duplicity, Cowardice and Cheese. He is presently working on a book about midwestern politics

Kellyanne Conway

‐Chelsea Clinton gets engaged.

‐Howard Dean gets enraged.

‐Cindy Sheehan fades.

‐Osama bin Laden resurfaces–and then is captured.

‐Valerie Plame poses in Playboy. Husband continues to complain others outed her.

‐Four more states protect traditional marriage.

‐Three high-ranking officials in the Bush administration (White House or Cabinet) resign for non-controversial reasons.

‐Two Democrats not named Hillary actively campaign for POTUS 2008.

‐Tom Kean Jr. becomes the first Republican to win statewide office in New Jersey since 1997, and the first conservative in decades.

‐Ed Cox reenters the race for U.S. Senate in New York.

‐Kay Bailey Hutchison does not say no when asked if she may run for POTUS.

‐One of the Simpson sisters, Olsen twins, or Hilton sisters has a baby.

‐Michael Moore has a cow.

‐Google and Apple laugh all the way to the bank.

‐Real-estate prices remain steady.

‐Gauchos, leg warmers, olive leisure suits, shag haircuts, and shag rugs do not make a comeback.

‐Newt Gingrich does.

Kellyanne Conway, is president and CEO of the polling company(tm), inc./WomanTrend, and is coauthor of What Women Really Want: How American Women Are Quietly Erasing Political, Racial, Class and Religious Lines to Change the Way We Live. She writes the NRO blog “Reconcilable Differences” with her husband, George.

John Derbyshire

Derb’s 2006 predictions: (Not all of them altogether serious.)

‐Iran will test a nuclear weapon. (I know, I said this last year. It’s bound to be right sooner or later, though.) The European nations will issue a joint statement declaring their very, very grave displeasure.

The Sensenbrenner immigration enforcement bill will be eviscerated by the Senate and will die in conference. Another million or so illegal immigrants will be added to our population.

‐Gregory Perelman’s proof of the Poincare Conjecture will be officially declared valid. Work will then begin in earnest on a related problem: How to persuade Dr. Perelman to accept the $1 million prize he is entitled to from the Clay Institute.

The space-shuttle program will be shut down for good.

‐The main talking point in Iraq policy will become: Given that there is an Iraqi army up and running, do we really want them to have un-chaperoned access to anything more dangerous than small arms?

‐During a press conference to announce plans for a series of movies based on Philip Pullman’s anti-Narnia books, the press conference venue will be struck by a massive bolt of lightning, and all inside will perish.

‐Some industrialized nation bigger than Andorra will, either by explicit legislation or implicit executive action, enact a ban on further immigration by Muslims from anywhere at all.

‐The “ground zero” site in Manhattan will look very much the same at the end of 2006 as at the beginning. New Orleans will look slightly worse.

‐China will lay the keel of that nation’s first aircraft carrier. While denying any intention of engaging in a “space race” with China, India will announce preparations for placing a man in orbit by 2008.

‐Bird flu will prove to have been the Millennium Bug of 2005, and no more will be heard about it. However, something utterly different and twice as nasty will come out of left field and catch us all unawares.

My history of algebra will come out, and will zoom at once to the top of The New York Times bestseller list. A clash of the titans will then consume the publishing world, as Rod Dreher’s “crunchy con” exposé engages in a bitter, though ultimately futile, attempt to dislodge Unknown Quantity from that number one slot.

‐General Motors will be purchased by Google.

John Derbyshire is an NR and NRO contributor/columnist/icon. His most recent book is Prime Obsession: Bernhard Riemann and the Greatest Unsolved Problem in Mathematics.

Jonah Goldberg

‐For the first time in memory–by which I mean my memory–three National Review authors will be on the New York Times bestseller’s list in the same year.

‐National Review Online will be redesigned once again, but this time it will look so good, some critics on the Right will complain that we are sacrilegiously attempting to immanentize the eschaton by creating such a thing of beauty.

‐Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame will enter talks to launch their own talk/reality show. Even after a sweeps week episode in which Wilson eats 6 pounds of yellow cake from in-between Plame’s cleavage with his hands tied behind his back, he will take great offense at anyone who suggests he’s a publicity hound.

‐Tom Delay will be acquitted. Grover Norquist will be indicted. Jack Abramoff will be convicted.

‐By Christmas 2006, George W. Bush’s approval ratings will be 57 percent.

‐Abu Zarqawi will be caught alive. But he will hang himself in his cell when Reuters reports that Iraqi authorities found the director’s cut of Brokeback Mountain in his portable DVD player.

‐John McCain will be widely considered the GOP frontrunner for the nomination.

‐There will be more revelations about right-wing pundits–most of them fairly marginal figures–being paid to write columns. But the hullabaloo will spark investigations of several liberal journalists. The results will prove sufficiently embarrassing that the issue will be less fun for Daily Kos types but spark a million thumb-sucking panels at the Columbia Journalism School.

‐There will be another terrorist attack on the American homeland.

‐Howard Dean will not finish 2006 as chairman of the DNC.

‐An extinct animal will be brought back to life through some kind of cloning procedure. Perhaps a Woolly Mammoth. Whatever it is, my dog will want to bark at it.

‐Freed-up from book writing, Jonah Goldberg will become a dynamo of journalistic productivity. He will also reacquaint himself with the concept of cardio-vascular activity.

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

Victor Davis Hanson

‐Hillary Clinton will send another letter to her constituents, reminding them that she voted to authorize the removal of Saddam Hussein.

‐There will be a major immigration bill passed that drastically halts the influx of illegal aliens.

‐Howard Dean will leave the DNC chairmanship.

‐Serious social unrest in Iran by midyear.

Victor Davis Hanson is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution. His latest book is A War Like No Other. How the Athenians and Spartans Fought the Peloponnesian War.

Kathryn Jean Lopez

‐President Bush will not win the Nobel Peace Prize.

‐President Bush takes a fresh harsh tone with Saudi Arabia.

‐Israel strikes Iran. Freedom-hungry Iranians subsequently take their freedom into their own hands.

‐Kofi Annan continues to not take responsibility for Oil-for-Food crimes.

‐The Santorum-Casey race is full of surprises. Comes in much tighter than it looks right now.

‐Rudy Guiliani announces that he will not run for president.

‐Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney walks into a fight over McCain-Feingold with John McCain. Is seen hanging out with Swift Boat Vet John O’Neill.

‐Ted Kennedy says something obnoxious about our war effort.

‐New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin will be an NAACP honoree.

Commander in Chief’s Geena Davis does a fundraiser for Hillary Clinton. Hillary Clinton makes a cameo appearance on Commander-in-Chief.

‐Hillary Clinton is seen reading Kate O’Beirne’s best-selling Women Who Make the World Worse. While reading, a lamp is thrown.

‐At John Roberts’s suggestion, the Supreme Court Book Club reads Ramesh Ponnuru’s best-selling spring-release on the culture of life.

‐The Court does not overturn Roe v. Wade.

‐Jonah’s Goldberg’s dog, Cosmo, makes publishing history when he sues Jonah for royalties from Jonah’s upcoming book. Mark Geragos loses said case, but Cosmo signs a deal to write Tagged: Confessions of a Conservative Wonderdog.

‐NRO Reader Allen Covert’s Grandma’s Boy is the only major motion picture whose main character wears an anti-Che shirt. Coincidentally, the pot-laced comedy about the world’s oldest video game tester is a hit on Miami college campuses. Covert is the first MTV Movie Award winner to wear a National Review cap during the show (or, well, anytime).

‐ABC’s According to Jim wins an Emmy. ATJ Showrunner and too-cool-for-caps NRO writer Warren Bell does not wear a National Review cap on stage but does namedrop a lot in The Corner the next morning.

‐John Derbyshire records a pop-math song. Hits top 20. Kanye West courts him to collaborate on anti-Iraq-war song. The two are seen club-hopping in Tribeca.

‐Ashlee Simpson gets engaged. Turns down Newlyweds clone offer with MTV.

‐Maureen Dowd becomes an eharmony.com success-story commercial.

‐Ben Affleck publicly takes on Howard Dean, is buzzed about for replacing Dean. The Feminist Majority and Barbara Boxer insist on a timetable for when Jennifer Garner will make her next movie before issuing their support for Affleck.

‐The Yanks come back.

‐A fight breaks between Corner regulars at NRO’s tenth anniversary party. I break it up.

‐Duran Duran turns down invite to play at said bash. Duran Duran is never heard from again.

‐Michael Ledeen will write the words “faster please.”

Kathryn Jean Lopez is the editor of National Review Online.

Carrie Lukas

‐At least four states will enact new school-choice programs; several prominent Democrats will break with teachers’ unions to support school choice.

‐Latin America will emerge as a serious national-security concern that will soon rival the Middle East.

‐There will be another Supreme Court vacancy.

‐The Chicago Cubs will win the pennant.

Air America will finally go under, ironically undermined by “competition” from the taxpayer-supported NPR that they vigorously support. Distraught listeners in search of liberal viewpoints will be forced to turn to CBS, ABC, NBC, CNN, The New York Times, etc…

‐Republicans will pick up seats in the House.

‐Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes will name their baby something odd.

‐General Motors will declare bankruptcy due to the crushing costs of their union-coerced healthcare and retirement programs–a prelude to the looming crises in Medicare and Social Security.

‐The feminists will hold another “Equal Pay Day” event to complain about the so-called “wage gap” on April 25, 2006 and no one will care.

Carrie Lukas is the director of policy at the Independent Women’s Forum.

Clifford D. May

Some things I predict will not happen in 2006:

‐Abu Musab al-Zarqawi will not retire, explaining that he just wants to spend more time with his family.

‐Osama bin Laden will not be captured or killed in Pakistan; but Zarqawi will be captured or killed in Iraq.

‐King Abdullah will not keynote the first meeting of Muslim (Sunni and Shia), Christian and Jewish leaders on Saudi soil.

‐Moveon.org will not argue that those on the Left calling for Bush’s impeachment are over the top and damaging the Democratic party.

‐The Democrats will not offer voters a “Contract for America” in 2006. Some will try to come up with such a document but they won’t be able to agree on what it would include–other than “change” and “changing course” in Iraq.

‐Republicans will not lose their majority in Congress–but it will be close.

‐Roger Ailes will not lose sleep over competitive pressures. More specifically, network news programs, CNN and MSNBC, and major newspapers will not stem declines in audience/circulation. The media moguls will not figure out that at least half of those who follow the news are conservatives who prefer not to be insulted and condescended to by “progressive” reporters, editors, and producers.

‐French policies aimed at heading off further racial/religious unrest will not prove successful.

‐Social Security will not be reformed. Neither will the tax code. Neither will the U.N. (There will be limited progress on immigration reform.)

‐John McCain will recognize another major problem, speak out about it honestly and devise a solution that will not solve the problem but rather will make it worse.

‐John Kerry will not release his military records.

‐Howard Dean will not remain chairman of the DNC.

‐Maureen Dowd will not get married.

Clifford D. May, a former New York Times foreign correspondent, is president of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, a policy institute focusing on terrorism.

John J. Miller

‐In politics: Sam Alito will be confirmed to the Supreme Court with fewer votes than John Roberts received; following Alito’s elevation, there will be a new vacancy on the court; John McCain will lead the GOP field for 2008, worrying conservatives; Republicans will lose a handful of seats in the House and either lose one seat or stay even in the Senate; President Bush will visit Iraq.

‐In sports: the Detroit Pistons will reclaim the NBA crown by defeating the San Antonio Spurs; Steve Yzerman of the Detroit Red Wings will announce his retirement; Team Canada will win the Olympic gold medal for hockey; a Canadian team will win the Stanley Cup; the Chicago White Sox will not repeat as World Series champs; USC will lose a football game; Michigan will defeat Ohio State on the gridiron, and in the aftermath there will be much rejoicing in the Miller home.

‐At National Review: a Duran Duran cover band called Le Bon Bon will record “K Lo,” to the tune of “Rio,” and it will rise to #14 on the Japanese charts; Jonah Goldberg will be photographed topless on the deck of a National Review cruise ship, sparking an international controversy that helps him launch a reality-TV show showcasing his collection of homemade hand puppets, which have never been seen before; a student group called the Womyn’s Liberation Front will sponsor a ceremonial burning of Kate O’Beirne’s best-selling book Women Who Make the World Worse.

John J. Miller is national political reporter for National Review and the author, most recently, of A Gift of Freedom: How the John M. Olin Foundation Changed America..

John Pitney

‐Arnold Schwarzenegger wins reelection. Phil Angelides, his Democratic opponent, goes on to a successful career as a character actor, mainly playing sleazy developers.

‐Howard Dean denounces “the smelly, stupid, fire-breathing, snake-handling fundamentalists that dominate the Bush administration.” He also denounces name-calling and intolerance.

‐Alexis deTocqueville returns to earth to gain revenge on everyone who has falsely quoted him as saying “America is great because America is good.” He forces the offenders to watch continuous videos of Jerry Lewis movies.

‐The California branch of the American Civil Liberties Union makes a shocking discovery: Los Angeles, Santa Cruz, and San Francisco have Spanish names meaning “The Angels,” “Holy Cross,” and “St. Francis.” It sues to rename them “The Angles,” “Cruising,” and “Frank.”

‐It comes out that on Christmas Day 2005, some youngsters find stocking-stuffers from Malaysia. A New York Times story alleges corrupt product placement by Santa Claus. The story includes memos detailing payoffs from lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Senator Harry Reid calls for hearings and Santa’s resignation. Christmas 2006 is in jeopardy until bloggers show that the memos bear signatures in Jayson Blair’s handwriting.

John J. Pitney Jr. is a professor of government at Claremont McKenna College, in Claremont, Calif.

Ned Rice

Brokeback Mountain becomes the first winner of a new Academy Award category, “Gayest Movie.” Winners note that it’s fabulous just to be nominated, girlfriend.

‐George and Laura Bush file their 2005 income-tax returns, listing Cindy Sheehan as a dependent.

‐In a speech announcing his bid for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination, Joe Biden accidentally plagiarizes a speech he gave several years ago.

‐John Kerry announces that he’s running for president. Puzzled, a reporter shouts out, “Of what?”

‐Barbara Boxer says something incredibly stupid.

‐Federal government scraps Witness Protection Program, starts giving witnesses in need of anonymity their own shows on Air America Radio.

‐Louisiana governor Kathleen Blanco orders the mandatory evacuation of the city of New Orleans.

‐With strong bipartisan support Congress calls for a three-month embargo on Angelina Jolie adopting any more kids from the third world.

‐Americans cheer as Martha Stewart and Robert Blake announce their engagement.

‐In lieu of lapel ribbons, Hollywood conservatives begin attending awards ceremonies with their fingertips dyed purple.

‐Elton John’s new husband David Furnish announces that he is pregnant.

‐Barbara Boxer fails to grasp an elementary concept of representative democracy.

‐European Union members vote to reject a new Iraqi constitution.

‐Massachusetts amends their state constitution to ban heterosexual marriage.

‐Mayor Ray Nagin orders the mandatory evacuation of the city of New Orleans.

‐Lyndon LaRouche issues a statement from prison publicly distancing himself from Air America Radio co-founder Sheldon Drobny.

‐Astronomers discover a tenth planet, which is immediately declared “non-smoking” by the FDA.

‐Howard Dean announces, “The idea that the New England Patriots are going to repeat as Super Bowl champions this year is just plain wrong.”

‐Hoping to regain her anonymity, Valerie Plame announces plans to host a prime-time TV show on MSNBC.

‐Tookie Williams’ final children’s book–OK, So I Shot Those Four Mo-Fos–is published posthumously and gets a glowing review in the New York Times.

‐More gloomy economic news for President Bush as thousands of unemployment offices are forced to close.

‐A grim milestone in Paris as the 100,000th car is torched since the current unrest began. On a positive note, French automakers begin hiring assembly line workers again.

‐Environmental artist Christo announces plans to wrap colorful nylon panels around Cindy Sheehan.

Ned Rice is a staff writer on the CBS talk show The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. Rice is also an NRO contributor.

Peter Schweizer

‐Both Syria and Iran will face considerable social unrest as freedom continues to strengthen in the Middle East.

‐Intelligent design, far from being dead, will become an increasingly important factor in the culture wars.

‐Hillary Clinton will find it increasingly difficult to hold her coalition together by posing as both a centrist and a woman of the left. But she will stay the course and with growing success in Iraq, she’ll be lauded as a “statesman” in the media for not caving in to the appeasement crowd. Iraq will be her “Sister Souljah” moment.

‐The GOP, which has been having trouble of late attracting good candidates for the senate, will suffer setbacks in the 2006 elections, but will retain their majorities.

‐Some well-connected Republicans, concerned whether they have a dynamic and effective conservative ready for a presidential run, will turn up the pressure on Jeb Bush to enter the race.

‐Al Franken, Michael Moore, and Nancy Pelosi will all admit that they are indeed hypocrites. (Okay, it was worth a shot.)

Peter Schweizer is author, most recently, of Do As I Say (Not As I Do): Profiles in Liberal Hypocrisy.

Mark Steyn

‐There will be more riots in Europe, and an increase in the rate of ethnic Dutch emigration from the Netherlands. The German government will fall. There will be another terrorist attack in Britain.

‐John McCain will have increasing difficulty maintaining his approval ratings with the press. There will be more lay-offs at major U.S. media outlets.

‐Despite the many obvious defects of congressional Republicans, Democrats will fail to make any gains in November’s elections.

‐Baby Assad will not last the year as Syria’s President. Iraq will recede deeper and deeper into the newspaper due to an ongoing lack of bad news.

‐Osama bin Laden will continue to be dead, and will be confirmed as such.

‐Hollywood will have another bad year following the failure of its latest critically-acclaimed masterpiece. In Broke Bank Mountin’, the entire movie industry is flying in a jet to New York when a terrorist stewardess announces she’s crushing their dissent by crashing the plane into the Empire State Building. Fortunately, an unemployed giant gorilla from Animal Equity is rampaging around at the top of the tower after his film career tanked when he agreed to take a challenging role in which he played the world’s first gay giant gorilla and answers a personal ad in the Village Voice from a plus-sized bear. The enraged ape reaches into the sky and picks up the plane, sending the terrorist stewardess tumbling to the back of coach, where her wig falls off and she’s revealed to be Dick Cheney. Industry insiders will be taken aback by the $300-million multi-Oscar-nominated flop but have high hopes for the new Spielberg movie Cycle Of Violence starring Nicole Kidman and Kate Winslet as Israeli and Palestinian unicyclists who elope after the Cirque du Soleil opening ceremony at the Italian Olympics.

Mark Steyn, among many other things, writes “The Happy Warrior” column for National Review.

Andrew Stuttaford

‐Sadly, the one prediction that we can be sure of is that 2006 will see yet more terrorist attacks from Islamic extremists. The only mystery is where, when, and how often they will strike, but, perhaps it’s not too optimistic to think that, as the Iraqi political process somehow struggles on, that the people of that country will suffer less from that scourge than they did in 2005.

‐By the end of next year, Kim Jong Il will still be in charge in North Korea and little or no progress will have been made in eliminating his nuclear weapons capability, while the Iranians will have come even closer to securing theirs. We still won’t know what to do.

‐Here in the U.S., 2006 is shaping up to be a tough year for the GOP with the party continuing to pay the price, in scandal, and worse, for becoming too comfortable, too complacent, and too forgetful of the lessons of 1994. Will they hold on in the midterms? Yes, but not without some nasty scares, and every nasty scare makes it more likely that McCain will be the nominee in ‘08.

‐Over in Europe, Tony Blair will, despite fiascos such as his recent surrender in the EU budget negotiations, hang on as prime minister to the increasing fury of his finance minister, while the victor of those negotiations, Jacques Chirac, will finally come to accept that he cannot run for the presidency for a third time, setting the stage for a slugfest as Sarkozy and Villepin try to establish themselves as the natural successor ahead of elections in ‘07. Across the Rhine, all those folk who believed that Angela Merkel might be a Frau Thatcher will be shown up for the wishful thinkers that they were and, in Brussels, EU bureaucrats will continue to ignore the results of the recent referenda on the Constitution.

‐Finally, will I be any more cheerful next year? Probably not.

Andrew Stuttaford is an NRO contributor.

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