Michael Waldron: A look back and a look forwardPublished 9:56pm Wednesday, January 11, 2012
I’m going to steal an idea made famous by the late William Safire, one of the best columnists of the New York Times. Every year during the Christmas season he published a column that examined how accurate his columns of the previous year were and then he made predictions for the coming year. I thought it was a gutsy thing for a pundit to do. I’ve read many columns that after the fact explained in exquisite detail why things developed a certain way. Rarely does a pundit make predictions. Mr. Safire, this column is for you.
First, I must see how my predictions fared last year. I didn’t really predict anything in my first column, “Our Debt.”
In my second column, “Pakistan kahan he?” published on April 14, I made the assertion that American leaders must understand Pakistan. Two weeks later on 1 May, American SEALs killed Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan. Since then Pakistan has been in the news regularly mainly because of Pakistani terrorism and its connection to Afghanistan.
My third, fourth, and fifth columns made no predictions.
My sixth column, “Debt Ceiling” (Aug. 11), predicted that the Congress would put off solving the debt limit in August by delaying hard decisions until later. Although Congress in August agreed on almost a trillion dollars of reductions, which was more than I predicted in July, most of the needed reductions were put off until later in the year.
My seventh column, “Super Committee” (8 September), predicted that the “Super Committee” would fail. The committee held a lot of hearings in the fall and then walked off the political stage a complete failure even before the deadline had passed.
My final two columns for 2011 didn’t make any predictions. I think pessimism is the one common descriptor that applies to my three predictions for 2011. The political and diplomatic situation in Pakistan has worsened since the death of Osama bin Laden.
Certainly, the political and economic woes of the United States have grown worse this year. 2011 was a dark year.
But there’s always hope so let’s take a look at 2012.
First, I predict that the ancient Mayan calendar that some think indicates time will come to an end in 2012 will be just a historical oddity by this time next year.
Second, I predict that Mitt Romney will barely win the Republican nomination. Republicans will conclude he is the only Republican who can win the vote of most independents, and independents decide elections in this country. Conservatives will sigh wistfully and cast their votes for him. My wild card guess is that he will select Gov. Chris Christie to run as vice president.
Third, I predict the economy will not improve appreciably in 2012, and thus Mitt Romney will become our 45th president in 2013.
Fourth, I predict Republicans will hold their own in the House and pick up control of the Senate where Democrats must defend 23 seats and the Republicans must defend only 10.
Fifth, Sen. Stabenow and Congressman Upton will win reelection.
Sixth, Iraq will descend into chaos once again after U.S. forces withdraw. After the surge forces are withdrawn from Afghanistan in September 2012, the Taliban will launch an offensive against remaining American troops before winter arrives.
Seventh, Denard Robinson in his senior year will take the University of Michigan to the Big Ten football championship and possibly the national championship. Michigan’s head coach, Brady Hoke, will gain 10 pounds.
Eighth, the Detroit Tigers will play the Texas Rangers in a World Series rematch. This time the Tigers will take the series in game six. I’m not foolish or brave enough to predict what the Lions will do this season and certainly not next season.
Ninth, reality television will finally run its course. For instance, the producers will make each of the three judges on “America’s Got Talent” wear a big, red nose and big, floppy shoes. Adult-centered drama (other than police drama) and comedy will return to the tube in force.
Tenth, credit cards with zero balances will be trendy.
If I’m still writing a column in January 2013, I’ll report on the accuracy of this column and make more predictions. I am sometimes a pessimistic person partially because of 65 years of experience. I hope I never become a nattering nabob of negativism. I’ll never write as well as William Safire, but imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
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