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A year ago - December 27, 2011 - I gave my predictions for what would happen in 2012. Unlike most other political pundits, however, I score myself on my predictions a year later.

My predictions for last year were:

  1. Barack Obama will be re-elected to a second term as President.
  2. John Boehner will be ousted as Speaker of the House.
  3. Democrats will just barely hold on to the US Senate
  4. The US unemployment rate will dip below 8%.
  5. The European Union will hold on .. barely.
  6. Inflation will remain below 10%.
  7. Protest movements in the US, Russia, Europe and MENA will accelerate.
  8. The US will substantially reduce its troop presence in Afghanistan.
  9. Oregon will win the Rose Bowl.

Let's see how I did!

  1. Barack Obama will be re-elected to a second term as President.

    Here's what I wrote about this a year ago:

    I can point to all manner of scientific polls from Rasmussen, Gallup, PPP and so on, that indicate that he would beat Mitt Romney (the likely Republican nominee) by several points in a head-to-head match-up. (Note: this is the best case scenario for the GOP -- if anyone else gets the nomination, they're toast.) However, those polls aren't the gold standard a year out, and in the long term, this isn't really interesting. What is interesting is what Obama has done this year, which is quietly destroy the conceits that form the Republican brand. This brand took decades of work from activists like Karl Rove and Grover Norquist, and it took Barack Obama, with some help from the Tea Party, a little less than a year to undermine it.


    Which brings us to another reason why Obama will win - his approval ratings are starting to inch back up, now that it looks like he's scoring some victories. The appearance of economic recovery (see #4, below) will also boost his popularity. The sum total in 2012 will be a Republican Party without a vision to present the country running against a President who's popular just in time. 2014 won't fare much better. In fact, the GOP is going to have to work very hard to repair the damage by 2016.

    Obama in fact started undermining Romney in summer, with ads depicting him as an out of touch plutocrat. Unfortunately for Romney, a hidden camera video of him deriding "the 47%" played right into this meme. Despite this, Obama almost blew the campaign with his first debate performance, which made him look bumbling and out of sorts compared to Romney's smooth and confident business man. The second debate performance, however, pretty much sealed the election for Obama, as his approval rating peaked above 50%.

    What was really remarkable about the election, however, was the complete incompetence of Romney's campaign. First, there is every indication that they believed their own claims that the polls were somehow skewed to favor Obama. Second, they brought an air campaign to a ground war. Third, they failed to adequately load-test the software they were going to use to get out the vote on election day, and so apparently had no idea that their single production web server wasn't up to the task. All in all, Romney got slaughtered. While it's true, as one Republican friend of mine pointed out, that the talk was about 2008 Obama states that would go Romney rather than 2008 McCain states that would go Obama, the simple fact is that there weren't enough of the former. And so, Obama becomes one of a handful of two-term Presidents to win both terms with solid majorities rather than pluralities.

    And Romney? His share of the vote, rounded to the whole point using the usual grade school conventions, is 47%. Irony, it's a hell of a thing. 1/1

  2. John Boehner will be ousted as Speaker of the House.

    Much to my surprise, this one is still too close to call.

    Last year I wrote about Boehner's two biggest threats - the Democrats, and the Republicans. The former had their shot in November and didn't win enough seats to oust him. It is doubtful, thanks to hyperpartisan gerrymandering, that they will before 2022.

    Which brings us to the Republicans. As I wrote a year ago:

    He might be Speaker, but he doesn't have much support from his fellow Republicans on anything. The Tea Party caucus, in particular, wants to get rid of him, and they will probably find a way to replace him with Eric Cantor before the year is up.

    And there are rumblings in DC that he might be up to just that. I still give Boehner good odds, but we're going to have to see. 1/1 with one uncalled.

  3. Democrats will just barely hold on to the US Senate

    A year ago, I figured that Elizabeth Warren was a shoo-in; that the GOP would hold on to seats in Maine, Nevada and Arizona; and that the GOP would likely flip seats in Missouri, Montana, and North Dakota. I thought that this, with some wild cards, would give the Republicans a fair shot at control of the Senate.

    What I didn't predict was that Scott Brown would be as popular as he was. He still lost to Warren, but he gave her a run for her money.

    What I also didn't predict - what, in my defense, NOBODY predicted - was that Olympia Snowe would resign rather than face a primary challenge; that the Tea Party would nominate complete morons to run in Missouri and Indiana; and that Jon Tester would successfully tie his opponent to those same Tea Party morons.

    Thus, instead of barely holding on, the Democrats increased their seat count.

    I'm still taking credit for this. 2/2 - one uncalled

  4. The US unemployment rate will dip below 8%.

    The U3 rate for November of 2012 is 7.7%. 3/3 - one uncalled

  5. Inflation will remain below 10%.

    What I wrote about this a year ago bears repeating.

    For the second year in a row, I am putting right wing hand-wringing about hyperinflation to the test. The most conservative definition of hyperinflation is that it represents a doubling of prices in the space of three years or less. In order for that to happen, we need an inflation rate of a little less than 26% for three years in a row. In 2011, it was 3.4%. I doubt it goes much higher in 2012. Persistent slow economic growth and the threat of austerity will guarantee it. The one point in the hyperinflation camp's favor - the creation of trillions in fake money to cover the losses of the largest banks - is negated by the fact that more than 99 cents out of every dollar of this fake money will never enter general circulation. It also bears repeating that we should consider ourselves very fortunate indeed to not be in a deflationary spiral right now.
    The inflation rate, by the way, was at less than 3% for the year so far. 4/4 - one uncalled.
  6. The European Union will hold on .. barely.

    The European Union is, in fact, holding on better than I thought, at least in the prosperous north. In the south, there is strife, but not enough to threaten the EU. Yet. 4/5 - one uncalled.

  7. Protest movements in the US, Russia, Europe and MENA will accelerate.

    This has been a mixed bag.

    In the US, the protest movements have focused more on small, specific actions, such as anti-foreclosure efforts and post-Sandy clean-up, than on shutting down Wall Street. They've helped to set the tone for the next few years, but have not quite drowned out the influence of the Tea Party.

    In Russia, Pussy Riot's demonstration in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior brought a lot of international attention to Putin's authoritarian government, but have not done much to unsettle it. In fact, it appears to have distracted everyone from Putin's crackdown on other dissenters, including Alexey Navalny.

    In Europe, the demonstrations have accelerated in Greece, but the elites have been able to ignore them. What's more sinister, however, is the rise of neo-fascist parties in Greece and other Southeastern European nations. Hungary, in particular, is seeing the rise of a very frightening brand of neo-fascism. Don't look now, kids, but the stage is being set for another European war - not another Great War, perhaps, but certainly a war that would dwarf the Balkan Wars of the 1990s.

    Perhaps the most tragic case is the Middle East and North Africa. In the Middle East, protest movements in Syria have led to what must now be called by all honest parties a civil war. A conflagration between Hamas and Israel has left Hamas looking like a legitimate player, Likud with a stronger grip on power, and Fatah looking like a bunch of idiots as the illegal settlements continue. In Egypt and Libya, the revolutions started by the secular left have ended in governments led by the religious right. And thus the Arab Spring falls into that old paradigm of Jihad versus McWorld.

    In other words, yes, things have accelerated in some places, with deleterious effects, and fizzled in others. I'm taking half credit. 4.5/6 - one uncalled.

  8. The US will substantially reduce its troop presence in Afghanistan.

    A year ago, I wrote:

    Last June, President Obama has pledged to get 23,000 troops out of Afghanistan - in effect, to end the escalation that he started there - by the end of 2012. I'm basically stating that he will not deviate from this plan.
    This is exactly what happened.. 5.5/7 - one uncalled
  9. Oregon will win the Rose Bowl.

    Of course, they won, and it was fun to watch. It set up some big expectations for this year that were not met, but which nonetheless set Ducks coach Chip Kelly up for a likely NFL job in 2013. 6.5/8 - one uncalled.


What of the above surprised you last year?

3%1 votes
18%6 votes
30%10 votes
6%2 votes
15%5 votes
3%1 votes
18%6 votes
0%0 votes
6%2 votes

| 33 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (3+ / 0-)

    ‎"Masculinity is not something given to you, but something you gain. And you gain it by winning small battles with honor." - Norman Mailer
    My Blog
    My wife's woodblock prints

    by maxomai on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 04:47:43 PM PST

  •  Pretty good record. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Calamity Jean

    I would say that the one thing you didn't anticipate is just how crazy the Tea Party was going to be. You note that lead to the surprisingly good performance by the Democratic Senate candidates (or perhaps the surprisingly poor performance by the Republican Senate candidates). I suspect that it might also explain why Boehner has stuck around on life support- no sane Republican is going to oppose him even if they hate his guts, because the alternative will lead to the complete and final destruction of the House Republicans as a political force.

  •  Can't really count the Senate call as "correct" (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    raincrow, drmah, FG

    We didn't barely hold on.  The D caucus will have +3.  Republicans lost 30% of the seats they were defending.  

  •  Indiana did it's part to help win the Senate. Who (0+ / 0-)

    could have predicted Republicans would win primary againest Richard Lugar with an absolutely insane Tea Bagger  This Tea Bagger, Mourdock, just couldn't stop takling and talking until the entire state realized how crazy he was,  Even up until very close to the election the polls weren't showing the Indiana Senate seat in play to go Democratic.  Donnelly may be somewhat of a blue dog, but he's about a million times better than idiot Tea Bagger would have been.

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