Politics & Policy

Prediction Time

One year out.

The day we all have our minds on is but a year away — Election Day 2008. And in the spirit of fearlessness, National Review Online asked a few political observers to make a few far-out predictions. Here’s what they came back with.

David Freddoso

Having clinched the Republican nomination with a series of early victories, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R.) will lose the presidency to Sen. Hillary Clinton (D., N.Y.). Clinton will win a 48-percent plurality after an acrimonious campaign that focuses publicly on Romney’s changed stance on various issues, but privately on his religion.

Clinton will win by two points, and the remaining six points will go to a third-party populist anti-war candidate who will score double digits in some New England states. Hillary will take 291 electoral votes, losing New Hampshire and Florida but winning Ohio, Iowa, New Mexico, and Missouri.

Republicans will lose a net three U.S. Senate seats and a net four House seats.

– David Freddoso is an NRO staff reporter.

Jim Geraghty

In a frustrating Election Day for the Republican party, the Hillary Clinton-Anthony Zinni ticket defeated the Rudy Giuliani-Fred Thompson ticket, 272 electoral votes to 266. The only state that shifted from 2004 was Ohio, and even that was a mere four percent shift from the previous cycle’s results. Republicans lamented the pro-life voters who stayed home in protest, as they were believed to have made the difference in many key states. In the end, the frequent appeals from Thompson and John McCain — who Giuliani had declared would be Secretary of Defense in a future Giuliani administration — fell on deaf ears. Mitt Romney, expected to fulfull a newly-created “Secretary of Innovation” position in a future cabinet, put enormous personal financial resources into GOP turnout.

Aside from the Buckeye state, the GOP ticket came within three percentage points of Connecticut, New Jersey, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Oregon, and Washington. Had all of those states been carried by the Republicans, the electoral map would be a starkly different 367 to 171 landslide…

In a statement that many analysts could have doomed the Democratic nominee if it had been delivered 72 hours earlier, outgoing President George W. Bush said, “I congratulate Senator Clinton on her win. I am assured she will continue the U.S. commitment to stability in Iraq, and hope, as a private citizen, to help her ensure passage of the Amnesty for All Act in the next Congress, along with Speaker Pelosi and Senator Reid….

In related news, the small Texas territory calling itself “the Sovereign State of Ronpaulia” said that it would discuss a seccession petition in the beginning of next year…

– Jim Geraghty blogs as campaignspot.nationalreview.com.

Michael Graham

When a divided Supreme Court paves the way for a Clinton/Clinton ticket in the summer of ‘08 — ruling that Bill’s previous service does not make him ineligible to serve as as veep– the GOP counters by nominating Giuliani/Schwarzenegger.

However, all political calculations are thrown out when not one, but two serious, well-funded independent presidential bids are launched. On the right, the Buchanan/Paul campaign strips away the “I believe in a Christian Nation and a 9/11 Conspiracy” vote, while on the Left, the Kucinich/Sheehan ticket promises that, if elected, it will promptly impeach itself.

After weeks of pundits predicting a Clinton landslide, a bored media establishment, sick of covering the same politicians for three years, throws its coverage to a write-in campaign by Obama/Edwards. Mrs. Obama and Mrs. Edwards. When vice-presidential nominee Bill Clinton is photographed on a Mexican beach with twin lifeguards administering something uncomfortably close to simultaneous mouth-to-mouth, the Democrat’s once-solid lead evaporates.

Final score: Giuliani wins just 33 percent of the popular vote and 271 electoral votes.

A post-election poll reveals that the most popular politician in America is “the first one to promise to shoot on sight any candidate who starts campaigning before 2011.”

Michael Graham is a radio talk-show host in Boston.

John Hood

Here’s what I think happens a year from now. Republican nominee Mitt Romney narrowly defeats Hillary Clinton in a hard-fought, down-and-dirty presidential race. An anti-Hillary backlash tips a couple of gubernatorial and Senate races towards the GOP, offsetting some expected losses and keeping the Democratic Senate majority in the low 50s. Republicans shrink the Democratic majority in the U.S. House by a few seats.

And then President Clinton wakes up in the White House, telephones Bill, and says, “Want to hear about the strange dream I had last night?”

– John Hood is president and chairman of the John Locke Foundation.

Bridget Johnson

Mike Huckabee wins over America’s hearts without a hundred million billion dollars in the bank. Huckabee also wins in a landslide a Gallup poll asking if voters would rather chug a brewski at a backyard barbecue with him or Hillary Clinton. Pervez Musharraf breathes a sigh of relief knowing that Barack Obama won’t be around to jack up his country any more than it already is; Iran weeps salty tears for their great loss. Dennis Kucinich moves to Roswell, New Mexico, to be closer to his peeps. Ron Paul becomes a greeter at Wal-Mart.

– Bridget Johnson is a Los Angeles Daily News columnist who blogs at “GOP Vixen.”

Charles Kesler

In the spirit of harmless fun (and amnesia, should these predictions veer wide of the mark), I predict that Hillary will win by three points over Rudy, that the Democrats will increase their margin in the Senate by five seats, and that the Republicans will pick up five to ten seats in the House. It will be a Democratic year, though not a blowout, and where the Republicans do better than feared (the Senate) and about as well as hoped (the House) it will be because individual candidates have done better than the national party at separating themselves from the negative legacy of the Bush administration. Senate candidates will do this on foreign policy issues (mainly, the Iraq war); House candidates on the immigration issue.

– Charles R. Kesler is professor of government and director of the Salvatori Center Government at Claremont McKenna College.

Rob Long

Well, since I’m currently on strike, as a member of the Writers Guild of America, and perhaps the only Contributing Editor of National Review in history to actually walk a picket line (I’m required to do this; not doing it will cost me lots of money), I’m compelled to make the following prediction: President Hillary Clinton.

I know, I know. But deep in our hearts, we know it’s going to happen.

— Rob Long is a Hollywood writer who writes the “The Long View” column for National Review .

Kathleen Parker

I hate guessing for all the usual reasons, including the fact that 4,000 things can happen to change things. But here’s my go-for-broke best guess: Clinton vs. Romney.

Clinton will beat the boys for the nomination because she’s tougher, has the machinery, the money and The Bill. Romney will prevail as Bobby Jindal did in Louisiana because this is the season of the brainiac. IQ matters.

Mitt will take Iowa and New Hampshire and begin to get the attention of the many who still don’t know who he is. His Mormonism eventually will become less important as his campaign focuses attention on values. His mind-changing on issues such as abortion will become less important because in the brain game, people who never change their minds are idiots. Not insignificantly, Mitt can keep writing himself checks and he’s got a winning track record with the Olympics and as MA governor.

And if he tags Mike Huckabee, beloved by evangelicals, for VP, he’s even smarter than I thought.

Will he beat Hillary? Well, that’s another crystal ball altogether. She’s never run anything; Mitt has run a state, a wildly successful business, and bailed out the Olympics when it was going under. When it comes to executive experience, there’s no comparison. None. When it comes to first families, Hillary still has The Bill, and Mitt has a lovely wife who will never embarrass anyone. These folks are so squeaky clean, they’ll have to resurrect Norman Rockwell to paint the White House portrait.

— Kathleen Parker is a nationally syndicated columnist.

John J. Pitney Jr.

Republicans nominate Rudy Giuliani for president. To hold GOP women who might vote for Hillary and to stress his commitment to reform, Giuliani surprises the political class by picking Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate. Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton makes a move into GOP territory by picking Indiana Senator Evan Bayh. Giuliani-Palin wins with 52 percent of the popular vote and 293 electoral votes.

John J. Pitney Jr. is Roy P. Crocker Professor of American Politics at Claremont McKenna College.

E. M. Zanotti

If Ron Paul does not produce a stunning, eleventh-hour upset victory, and Stephen Colbert realizes that we’ll love him so much more if he’s not raising our taxes (both of which I feel confident in predicting), I believe the Republican’s eventual nominee will be Rudy Giuliani with Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his VP. Rudy will pull out a narrow win over Hillary and VP nominee Joseph Biden who’ll change his mind on Hillary after she graciously accepts his Iraq plan. The ballot count will go into the wee hours in New York as lawyers race to separate out votes cast for finalists on next year’s Dancing With the Stars and in Michigan where, for the first time, we will determine a presidential election by “going red.”

On the House and Senate front, it’s truly anyone’s guess, but widespread dissatisfaction with the Democrats from both the right and the far left will certainly play a role. I’ll predict the Republicans take back the Senate easily, but the House will stay — narrowly — Democratic.

– E. M. Zanotti blogs at “American Princess.

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