What might happen in the upcoming year? We asked a few of National Review Online’s sages to prophesy the events of 2010.
Looking over last year’s predictions, I seem to have batted not quite .500, which actually isn’t bad as these things go, but chastening none the less. Thus chastened, I’m a little less fertile of predictions this year, but here are a handful.
Science: A more or less Earth-like planet will be observed in a more or less Earth-like orbit around a more or less Sun-like star.
North Korea: Kim Jong Il will be deposed by his military. (Yes, it’s true, I cut’n’pasted that from last year’s predictions. It’s bound to happen one year soon, though, unless the little toad dies first.)
China: Will urge a world-wide eugenics program.
Immigration. Barack Obama’s illegal-immigrant aunt, Zeituni Onyango, will not be deported. (Copied that one from last year, too.)
The economy: . . . will bump along the bottom, probably with a couple of small lurches downwards.
Politics: The GOP will make good, though not great, gains in the midterms. They will immediately embark on a strategy guaranteed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Go Stupid Party!
The Presidency: Michelle Obama will slip by her minders and say something outrageous. The MSM will not report it. Persons who refer to it will be denounced as racists.
Publishing: We Are Doomed: Reclaiming Conservative Pessimism will, after three months as a “sleeper,” shoot to the top of the bestseller charts. There it will meet Sarah Palin’s cheery memoir. The two books will thereupon mutually annihilate in a burst of gamma rays.
Anniversaries: Virginia Woolf’s remark that “on or about December 1910 human character changed” will be widely quoted.
– John Derbyshire is an National Review Online columnist and author, most recently, of We Are Doomed: Reclaiming Conservative Pessimism.
Gay rights and immigration will stay off the president’s agenda as the White House tries to claw back to the center in anticipation of the 2010 elections.
Rubio beats Crist in what has become a major nationalized election. The Frank Rich crowd will insist that this time it’s really, really, for honest, true that Rubio’s win spells the doom of the GOP as a mainstream party.
Chris Dodd loses his election. Capital police need to use a crowbar to loosen his grip on his office desk.
Harry Reid loses re-election bid, calls results an “evil lie, bought and paid for by the insurance companies.”
Ruth Bader Ginsburg will retire for health reasons. This will create enormous problems for Obama, as the base will demand someone even more liberal than Sotomayor, while the times will require someone more moderate. Obama will go with his gut and name a very, very, liberal nominee.
The GOP will not take back the House. But it will be very, very close.
After a seemingly smooth start, troubles with Gitmo North will mount. The terror trial in New York will be a farce from the word go.
National Review Online will have more blogs than people working for it.
A new reality show about the makers of a reality show will cause the cultural commentariat to implode in on itself.
Keith Olbermann takes himself so seriously, he cuts off his left hand to emphasize his seriousness about the public option. (He waves bloody stump at paramedic, yelling “don’t touch the hair!”).
There will be no meaningful, binding global treaty on climate change in 2010.
Iran will get the bomb even as the democracy movement gains steam.
The Goldberg File — now in newsletter format — will be so successful the suits will keep me on for another year.
– Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online and the author of Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left from Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning.
HEATHER MAC DONALD
The consumption habits of every delegate to the Copenhagen global-warming conference will be a model to the world: i.e., they will match or rise above pre-conference consumption levels through uninhibited use of airplanes, air conditioning, computers, flat-screen TVs, iPods, and every marvelous object in our life that depends on energy for its manufacture and delivery.
China will continue to remorselessly flout the hopes of every European envirocrat who has persuaded himself that the West’s ruthless competitor is willing to squelch its economic growth in favor of carbon reduction.
The economy will improve, despite the best efforts of the Democrats to weight it down with more regulations and the promise of future taxes. The Democrats will take credit for the improvement, the Republicans will dismiss the growth as inadequate, positions which would be exactly reversed should the parties’ relative political positions also be reversed.
Democrats will hound the banks to increase their lending, especially home loans, to credit-poor minorities.
Unchastened by the messy health-care fight and measly global-warming balance sheet, Obama will push for an illegal-alien amnesty. It will pass. Amnesty opponents won’t marshal the same fervor as they did in defeating the Bush-McCain-Kennedy amnesty.
JOHN J. MILLER
Republicans will gain four or five Senate seats — most likely in Colorado, Connecticut, Nevada, New Hampshire, and Pennsylvania. Marco Rubio will defeat Charlie Crist in the Florida GOP primary and go on to a general-election victory. By the end of the year, polls will suggest that several Republican presidential candidates can defeat Barack Obama in 2012.
The newspaper industry will continue its slow decline, with at least two major American dailies — on par with the late Rocky Mountain News – ceasing to publish. Journalists employed by non-profit institutions and funded by philanthropic dollars will play an important role in the 2010 elections. A reporter not affiliated with the mainstream media will break a new climate-change data scandal.
Fidel Castro will die.
The New Orleans Saints will win the Super Bowl, the Washington Capitals will win the Stanley Cup, the Los Angeles Lakers will repeat as NBA champs, and the Philadelphia Phillies will take their second World Series title in three years.
The Yankees will not repeat.
President Obama will push for comprehensive tax reform and reach out to Republicans to do it.
A cap-and-trade system for emissions trading will not be enacted in the U.S. in 2010.
Tiger Woods will win no Majors.
– Nick Schulz is editor-in-chief of American.com.
Best (and perhaps easiest) prediction is that one of the big stories in 2010 will be the way that the major Western economies deal with the aftermath of the financial crisis. It won’t be pretty anywhere (watch for Greece and Spain, in particular), but in the U.K. it will be nightmarish. Inflation is ticking up, high levels of unemployment (a major, if disguised, problem even in what were, supposedly, the good times) will be persistent, growth (if any) will be sluggish, and labor unrest will mount. The country’s foreign creditors are likely to become increasingly nervous, raising the prospect of a severe financing crisis, a run on the pound, and a sharp hike in interest rates (none of which the country needs). Making matters worse, the Labour government’s current “do-nothing” policy (in itself extremely destructive) may be enough to deny the Conservatives much of a majority in the (likely) event that the Tories win the upcoming election. This means that, right from the beginning of his premiership, David Cameron will find himself poorly positioned to try to sort out the mess that Blair and Brown have made.
Elsewhere, the Iranians will continue their progress towards the bomb and do so largely uninterrupted. Pakistan’s position will deteriorate further (keep an eye, too, on that country’s finances) and a peaceful resolution of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict will remain as elusive as ever.
Here in the U.S., the Democrats will do badly in the midterms. Mathematically, that’ll be good for the GOP (only because it’s binary: they win when the Democrats lose), but their success will owe more to dissatisfaction with the Democrats than any real enthusiasm for the Republicans. Meanwhile, the deficit will weigh ever more heavily on the domestic political debate. Expect to hear a lot, lot more about the VAT.
When it comes to next year’s weather, I have, of course, only the most general of predictions, but whatever happens at Copenhagen or, for that matter, in the aftermath of Warmergate, we can be sure that the AGW jalopy will trundle along (cap-and-trade, not so much) regardless. Those who drive it have too much invested in AGW (or stand to make too much from it) to be able to admit that this is more complex a subject than they currently admit. As that’s a stance that stands in the way of a sensible, “precautionary” environmentalism, that’s a shame and a waste.
Happy New Year — I guess.
– Andrew Stuttaford is a contributing editor of National Review Online.