As is tradition here, some fearless predictions about the new year.
Four present trends will continue:
Obamacare will keep finding ways to stink up the joint.
Republicans will pick up Senate seats, but not enough to take the Senate.
The pope will learn nothing about economics or liberty.
Bill Bratton will keep the lid on crime in NYC.
One new wrinkle:
The Chicoms will tire of Kim Jong Un and find some replacement.
— Richard Brookhiser is senior editor of National Review and author, most recently, of a book on James Madison.
Iran will continue to pursue a nuclear bomb, even as John Kerry declares unbridled success.
The de facto tactical alliance between Israel and the Saudis will become more apparent.
The (American) liberal love affair with the new pope will surge for a while as he continues to talk about economics but by year’s end will fade as it becomes ever more clear that his remarks about social issues were not in fact an opening talking point for negotiating away Church dogma.
Obamacare will not be repealed, but it will be delivered several grievous blows by the courts, and many Senate Democrats will continue to defect in an effort to save their own skins.
Homeland’s writers will find a way to reveal that Brody is still alive.
Mitch McConnell will be reelected.
Paul Ryan will officially rule out running for president in 2016.
Obama’s personal popularity will rebound somewhat as the White House launches a campaign of personal rehabilitation unconnected to meaningful public policy.
David Gregory will be eased out as the host of Meet the Press, but the show will probably become even worse as Today showification (to use a technical term) of NBC News continues apace.
Wed to the logic of sexual liberation, feminists will increasingly support polygamy, ironically erasing a millennia-old feminist advance.
I will finally come up with an idea for a new book.
I will get a new dog. He or she will be awesome.
I will finally persuade Kathryn Lopez to let me off the hook of ever again providing predictions.
— Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review and author of The Tyranny of Cliches.
You ask for predictions, you got ’em. Without any further ado, the top ten for 2014 are:
A do-nothing-Congress in 2014 will look back wistfully on the productive days of 2013.
Canadians will stand on the border, look south, and not see the Keystone XL pipeline.
The Obama administration will use fingers, toes, abaci, and not find 7 million participants in the Obamacare exchanges. The escapees will rejoice.
The Fed, CFTC, SEC, OCC, and FDIC will convene their third internal conference: “How to enforce the Volcker Rule in 123 easy steps.”
The president will announce, again, that he is still absolutely committed to tax reform.
The House will pass immigration-reform legislation. The president will announce that he is still absolutely committed to immigration reform and promise to veto the legislation.
The Obama administration will impose more than $100 billion in new regulatory burdens.
The House will pass GSE-reform legislation, but the Senate will not. Fannie and Freddie will remain wards of the state, shackled in Treasury handcuffs.
Over a dozen states will approve minimum-wage ballot initiatives. The plight of the working poor will not improve.
The economy will complete its fifth full year of “recovery” with sluggish, uneven growth. The president will blame Congress and call for more infrastructure spending and higher taxes.
— Douglas Holtz-Eakin is president of the American Action Forum.
After placing microphones near the tomb of Kim Jong Il, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will have his father disinterred and charged with “quadruple-castigated treason” for not clapping at all during presidential speeches.
Six hours after reports of activity at Israeli and Saudi air bases, Iran will announce that massive explosions at all of its nuclear facilities were actually well-coordinated fireworks displays intended to celebrate the invention of a totally peaceful isotope, Arafatium.
Record ice at both poles will be chalked up to the elimination of the 60-watt incandescent bulb, but additional steps will be needed to prevent catastrophic global warming. The EPA will announce regulations mandating compact fluorescent bulbs for aquariums and car-dome interior lights.
A House subcommittee on overreach in executive orders will be disbanded by executive orders.
Continued use of the phrase “The president tweeted out a selfie” will finally cause the Lincoln Memorial to spontaneously combust.
The takeover of the Greek government by the fascist organization “Golden Dawn” will be announced on NBC News by Brian Williams, who says, “Chalk one up for the Tea Party.”
— James Lileks is a columnist for National Review.
KATHRYN JEAN LOPEZ
Some of these I hope I’m right about, others I pray I’m off about. Others are probably delusional.
Somewhere around the one-year mark in his papacy in March, a high-profile conversion to Catholicism attributed to Pope Francis’s witness will make headlines.
Many will continue to miss the pope’s most powerful messages, as they use him as cover for their agendas. (Yes, President Obama, and much of MSNBC.)
Someone who announces he’s considering running for the White House next time around will totally perplex and drive factions wild.
I surrender and quit asking Jonah for predictions for the new year.
The Supreme Court will protect the religious liberty of the Green family that runs Hobby Lobby. It will be a victory for those persecuted a world away for their insistence on living the Christian faith in the public square.
The religious persecution of Christians around the world and China’s one-child policy will become celebrity causes to oppose.
We will actually question Wendy Davis’s celebrity as a cultural-conscience tsunami.
Chuck Todd will become host of Meet the Press.
Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez will be named a cardinal.
— Kathryn Jean Lopez is editor-at-large of National Review Online and director of Catholic Voices USA. Follow her on Twitter at @KathrynLopez.
Barring an international or economic disaster, Barack Obama’s favorability rating will not drop below 40 percent on a consistent basis.
Republican gains in the Senate will not be enough to take control, and the House breakdown will stay within 10 seats of its current makeup in either direction.
Establishment Republicans will fare better in congressional and senatorial primaries than they have in the last two cycles, but there will be some incumbent upsets that will further fuel the GOP civil war.
By the end of 2014, Mike Huckabee will have emerged as a top-tier 2016 candidate, and his entry into the race will be widely expected.
Cases on the constitutionality of the NSA eavesdropping program and the subsidies flowing to the federal health exchange will be on the Supreme Court’s 2014–15 docket.
Valerie Jarrett and Michelle Obama’s duet rendition of Stand By Your Man brings down the house at the annual White House Correspondents Dinner.
— Henry Olsen is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.
In a Machiavellian coup, Joe Biden will oust Willard Scott as the person who wishes “Happy Birthday” to centenarians on the Today Show.
Frustration with Obamacare reaches a tipping point when people claim that when they tried to sign up online, a hand came out of their computers and slapped them.
Martin Bashir and Alec Baldwin will go off the grid for a while to join a touring company of Blue Man Group.
Woody Allen will make a movie set in Europe.
During an Oscars red-carpet interview, Joan Rivers will viciously mock Nelson Mandela and tell everyone against racism to “grow up and get over it.”
In the speech declaring himself a 2016 presidential candidate, Donald Trump will boast that his hairpiece was MADE IN THE U.S.A.
After being fired from ESPN, Keith Olbermann will get a job stocking shelves in a bodega.
When Joe Biden jokingly raps the glass on Lenin’s coffin during a visit to Moscow, the glass will shatter, but President Obama will steal the headlines by shaking the hand of the mummified revolutionary leader.
Kim Jong Un will persuade Dennis Rodman to move to North Korea to become a member of his cabinet and six months later will have him quietly executed.
Iran will safely put a monkey on the moon and return him safely to an Iranian lab before the end of this decade.
Miley Cyrus will shatter cultural expectations and “get everyone talking” by behaving in a dignified fashion during a major TV awards show performance.
Well, I’ve just re-read my predictions for 2013, and — we have a planet in peril — I find that quite a few can be recycled.
As usual, let’s start with the euro. I forecast that the single currency would survive 2013, but more surefootedly than before, thanks to the intervention of the European Central Bank. That holds good for 2014. I also argued that the biggest threat to the single currency’s survival in 2013 was major social disorder in one of the PIIGS. That will continue to be the case in 2014, with Greece, Italy, and (honorary PIIG) France being the most likely candidates.
Elections for the European parliament are due in May. Outsider, more or less euroskeptic parties, including Britain’s UKIP and France’s (very different from UKIP) National Front should do well, but control in the parliament will remain with the Tweedledee center-left or Tweedledum center-right, quite possibly in some sort of coalition.
Scotland will reject independence in the referendum scheduled for September, but keep an eye on Catalonia. The quest for independence there is not going away, and nor will the Spanish government’s efforts to distract attention from scandal, economic blight, and, indeed, Catalonia, by making life tough for Gibraltar.
Other predictions for 2012 and 2013 included the possibility of an Argentine economic crisis (complete with saber-rattling over the Falklands). Well, rinse and repeat for 2014. The economy there is lurching from bad to worse, and social tensions are building (recent police strikes and a wave of looting are not good signs). I also threw in a fresh economic crisis for variety, and suggested France. It’s happening, but in slow motion, and it will get worse in 2014.
On the U.S. economy, the headline unemployment numbers have improved. That’s as anticipated, and there may be some more to come. But something I touched on last year, the strikingly low level of labor-force participation, is unlikely to change significantly — a fact that will continue (as I noted this year and last) to be of little apparent concern to those (such as advocates of mass immigration) who continue to talk up the benefits of a rising population.
I thought that inequality would be a big deal politically in 2013, and it was, but it will be even more of one in 2014. The misdeeds of the 1 percent will be blamed as usual, but the real causes of the increasingly sharp income gap between a relatively small group of winners (in his Average Is Over, Tyler Cowen suggests that this will eventually turn out to be around 15–20 percent of the population) and everyone else are globalization and, much more so, automation, with mass immigration doing its bit to make things even worse. In time this will pose a very severe political threat, but even in 2014 it’s not going to help the GOP.
That said, in the midterms the Republicans will retain the House, adding a few seats as they do so. They will make gains in the Senate, but not enough to form a majority. As is becoming traditional, a poorly chosen candidate or three will mean that the GOP does not do quite as well as it could have done.
To conclude with some bad guys: Putin will still be in place at the end of 2014, but it will be less of a banner year for him than 2013, Bashar al-Assad will continue to hang on in Syria, and Kim Jong Caligula will go from strength to strength, becoming increasingly alarming (if such a thing is possible) as he does so. Newcomer Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela will be someone to watch.
And on that cheerful note, Happy New Year!
— Andrew Stuttaford is a contributing editor of National Review Online.
Republicans will win six seats and take control of the Senate.
Iran will live up to the interim agreement but also refuse to dismantle its nuclear-weapons infrastructure. The U.S. will not launch military strikes.
The Obama administration finally gets the Obamacare website to work, which only turns attention to the real problem — Obamacare cannot defy the laws of economics. Medical-care quality continues to fall while health-insurance costs continue to rise. Obama finally forces Sibelius to quit.
In NLRB v. Noel Canning, the Supreme Court will strike down the Obama administration’s recess appointments.
In McCutcheon v. FEC, the Supreme Court will strike down limits on overall federal campaign donations but will leave the limits on individual donations to specific candidates intact.
Ignoring the demands of good taste and the pleas of millions, McDonald’s refuses to add the McRib to its permanent menu.
Americans remain bored by the Winter Olympics, despite Vladimir Putin’s bare-chested participation in the opening ceremonies.
— John Yoo is Emanuel S. Heller Professor of Law at the University of California at Berkeley.