I feel like I'm one of a handful of people who didn't go out and tie one on last night, it's so slow around the 'sphere. That's OK, we Industry people always used to say that "New Year's Eve and St. Patty's Day are for the amateurs." Vitamins, water and meat will help with the hangover, kiddies.
Anyway- Jonathan wants to know your predictions. I'm too lazy to come up with my own, but I'd like to modify his, as it's an interesting list. I confess right now that my most fevered wish is to be as wrong in my gloominess as I was in 2006 with respect to the elections.
2007 will not be a year of transition in Iraq, despite the clear mandate of the electorate and the determination of many Democrats in Congress for it to be so. The level of American troops in Iraq at the end of 2007 will be similar to the level at the beginning of the year -- significantly more than 100,000 -- while, tragically, large numbers of Americans, as well as Iraqis, will continue to lose their lives in the course of the country's violence.
Can't disagree with this one at all. Except to say: 2007 will be the Return to the Heart of Darkness. Every indicator I can find tells me that Iraq is reaching truly literary levels of madness, slaughter, and horror. We don't get to read all the details, and when we do they're often delayed by weeks or months. But simply, two things are going to be at play this year: our forces and the leadership will realize that only blood awaits us, we can't even leave without a lot of it, and "victory" is an utterly lost cause. Despair leads to poor leadership, but that is what military decision makers will feel, and process, this year.
Also, the free for all that's going on will only further amp up, as insurgents of all stripes perceive the weakness and ineffectual nature of the occupying forces, and their lack of anything resembling control. Haditha was only the tip of the iceberg, and we'll have some kind of "self immolating buddhist" moment in Iraq this year. It will be some horror, or combination of horrors, which finally kicks the last of the die-hard warmongers out of the discussion about what to do next. Even some Republicans, uncaring about 700K dead Iraqis or a drained US treasury, remember enough about Vietnam to be running like rats on a sinking ship now. They are doing so because the political cost of being associated with a Mai Lai is too great for any amount of money or backtracking to overcome.
The economy, which grew in 2006 despite leaving many behind, will head towards recession, either settling on a rate of growth below 1 percent or actually retracting slightly while not technically attaining recession status (in terms of the duration of the downturn). And though the stock market might not reflect this situation, many Americans will feel the brunt of this economic malaise.
Economics makes my ears bleed. But, I have one suggestion that perhaps a few of our smarter blogger-econ types will take.
Can we please start a movement which measures the Two American Economies?
I'm not trying to be some kind of Edwards sycophant here. But I really, really would like to be able to read regular, meaningful data about the America I live in. You all know I'm not very wealthy. Which is fine, I'm not complaining. But the most frustrating, anger inducing thing about reading (even in the progressive blogosphere) economic data, beyond the feeling of my own stupidity, is that nothing that I read reflects the day to day reality I perceive with my own eyes. When you're poor, you generally hang out with other poor people. When you're poor, you hear about "job growth this month" or "no change in the cost of living" and you say to yourself, "Um, what are these people smoking?" Nothing I've read, for years has made sense to me, from the perspective of being in the income class of a working person. Hello: can we please begin to "map" the economic landscape of the ~50 million people without health insurance, or the millions and millions of others who've seen no increase in wages for almost a decade or more?
I'm looking at you, Serious Economic Bloggers. Help us out here. Not everyone who reads the blogs has a trust fund, retirement paln, or hell- even a bank account. Transcend your class, I beg you.
For the first time in more than a decade the Congress, now under Democratic control, will pass every requisite appropriations bill -- something the Republican Congress was never able to do. The Democratic Congress will also agree on a budget framework, which Republicans failed to several times in recent years.
Hmmm. I don't know if I can agree with that one. I'd like to, but I fear that "business as usual" will mean that some appropriations bills get tied up. This is one of those "wait and see" things with me- I want to believe, but the class of 2006 is largely untested, and the remnants of the lobby machine that brought us the BK bill haven't laid down and died, yet. If this had been my post, I'd have written about Bush and the use of the veto- that seems more important to me. Sure, Congress can pass an appropriations bill that say, restores funding to the VA and reproductive choice driven government health programs. But will Bush veto something that does so at the expense of KBR, or the Faith Based Initiatives office? I'm not sure what will happen.
A scandal brewing since at least 2006 -- Jack Abramoff, shady land deals, Brent Wilkes -- will nab at least one more Republican member of Congress before the year is out. In response, Republicans will point to minor ethics violations by Democrats in an attempt to shield themselves.
And the media will say, "look! A missing white woman!" and Americans will continue to go uninformed.
Scandals should be the lifeblood of the crass, self-interested, "reporter," even today. That they are not is deeply disturbing to all who care about freedom. The press has an important job, as much as they'd like to think that's getting the right party invites here in the Beltway, it's not.
Media reform, media reform, media reform. Pay attention, 110th. Because without it, Americans won't have the first clue what you all are doing. Worse, they'll think they do, and it will all come from a Republican filter.
The Democrats will pass the bulk of, if not all of their 100 Hours program through the House, though find some difficulty in the Senate, where they would have trouble passing legislation even with eight Republican Senators voting at their side. The bills that do eventually make their way to the White House will have even more difficulty getting past the President's desk as George W. Bush finally finds the veto stamp that has been so notably missing throughout his tenure. Over the course of the year, President Bush will issue several veto threats, of which he will follow through on a number, perhaps as many as a dozen.
See above. Here's my prediction: many Democrats in both the House and Senate won't join efforts to challenge Bush's veto, because of concerns about being "bipartisan" and "civil." Progressives will be deeply disappointed by some of their presumtive "heroes," and several key issues, including those most relevant to Constitutional Democracy, will be set aside in the spirit of "working together."
In terms of presidential politics, on the Republican side of the aisle, history will repeat itself as Rudy Giuliani, who for so long flirted with a Senate run against Hillary Clinton in 2000 only to drop out before actually getting in, opts not to run. Someone previously overlooked by the pundits -- perhaps Mike Huckabee, perhaps Sam Brownback but more likely Newt Gingrich -- will emerge as the more traditional conservative alternative to John McCain, who is not entirely trusted by the Republican base.
I'm thinking Hagel over Huckabee, but it's too fucking early to tell. I concur that Rudi is a big Drama Queen, and when it gets too nasty, and the fundies start asking questions about his time in dresses living with avowed cocksuckers, he'll run like a whiney bitch. See ya, Mr. Mayor. We won't miss you.
In the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, at least one candidate outside of the current leadership trifecta of Hillary Clinton, John Edwards and Barack Obama will break through the static and begin polling consistently in double digits in the key early states. This person might be Bill Richardson, Joe Biden or even Tom Vilsack. Towards the end of the year -- perhaps as late as Thanksgiving or even December -- a significant effort is mounted to recruit Al Gore to run. Regardless of his consistent demurring, Gore will have significant support in polling that includes his name.
Also: water is wet.
Of course someone is going to "break through." There's no way the networks will be able to sell political news and information otherwise. The narrative of the "Big Three" of H, O and E is already tired. I really hate saying this, but I have come to believe that presidential campaign cycles are determined almost entirely by the interaction of money, ratings, and the "gotcha/new thing" attitudes of our national media. Hillary and Obama could merge into a supernatural being identical to Jesus Christ, and if they did it "too soon," eventually the media would find a way to destroy that image in the public's mind. They *have to* in order to sell their product. TV consumers, even dead tree consumers must have a constantly changing narrative to be responsive in the way that the media needs them to be.
Short version: real thing or total fake, far too much of one's chances to be president depend on how well the Big Media can "develop your narrative" over time while maximizing profit.
Feel free to add your own predictions here.