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Sunday, December 31, 2006

Beldar's top ten prognostications for 2007

(1)  In 2007, Pres. Bush will exercise at least six vetoes, and possibly as many as two dozen. None of them will be overridden. Not a single piece of major domestic-policy legislation will be passed by both chambers and signed into law during 2007.

(2)  New Democratic majorities in the House and Senate will attempt to pass legislation relating to the Iraq conflict that is intended, through the power of the purse-strings and probably otherwise, to override presidential control of foreign policy and the president's role as commander-in-chief. They'll fail to maintain sufficient party discipline to pass any such legislation, but in failing they'll make as much noise as possible simply as a predicate for the 2008 elections. This will all transpire without regard to anything that actually does or doesn't happen on the ground in Iraq in 2007.

(3)  Japan will amend its constitution to permit a more robust military force in direct response to the perceived and very real threat from North Korea. Faced with a continuing messy refugee flow, a re-militarizing (and quickly nuclear-capable if it wants to be) Japan, and a nuclear-armed madman on its borders who's been lobbing missiles into Japanese airspace, China — with the prior knowledge and tacit approval of the United States, other NATO countries, Russia, Australia, Japan, and South Korea — will foment a successful and surprisingly bloodless coup d'état that replaces Kim Jong-Il with a new despot, someone nominally communist, actually (comparatively) progressive-capitalist, and willing (for a price measured in US$, not power) to abandon North Korea's nuclear ambitions. (The new despot, in turn, will begin accumulating large offshore bank accounts but nevertheless acquiesce in the beginning of negotiations that will lead to Korean re-unification in 2011.) Within hours of the coup, the U.S., South Korea, Japan, and their partners in another Coalition-of-the-Willing will announce that they are bypassing the UN to begin delivering massive humanitarian and economic assistance to North Korea. It will include hundreds of thousands of Chinese- and South Korean-manufactured personal computers and massive investments in Japanese- and American-supplied internet/cellphone infrastructure — the combined coup and reconstruction efforts eventually becoming known as the "Bread and Bytes Revolution."

(4)  Israel will conduct a sweeping series of devastating and surprisingly successful missile- and aircraft-strikes, combined with on-the-ground sabotage, with the purpose and effect of retarding the Iranian nuclear program for at least another five years. The Bush-43 administration will insist that this was Israel's unilateral decision, but will also candidly concede that the strikes were made with, and made more effective by, U.S. intelligence and military technology. The rest of the civilized world will pretend to be outraged, but secretly will breathe a sign of relief. Radical Islamic jihadists will adopt this action as their newest rallying cry against Israel, the U.S., and the West generally, but it won't make a damn bit of difference because they were going to find some such rallying cry anyway and they already have their volume knobs dialed up to eleven. Through brutal repression, Iran's "Supreme Leader" Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will hang onto power during the ensuing turmoil. Real reform won't reach Iran until after 2007, although the effects of 2007's events will then be recognized to have been a painful but necessary predicate for it when it finally comes.

(5)  The only prediction that I can make with any confidence about Iraq is that Dubya won't give in to those from either party who favor cutting and running, nor the ever-increasing MSM drumbeat and high-spin public opinion polling urging him to cut and run. He just won't — and despite their very best efforts, nobody will be able to make him. He will finish the 2007 calendar year without having lost a wink of sleep about his historically low polling numbers, instead confident that he's doing the right thing and that — based upon the only poll that counts, that being the one taken in the Electoral College in December 2004 (see Nos. 1 & 2 above) — his job description will still read "POTUS" until January 2009. (This certainty of American constitutional government, along with the equally certain excellence and creativity of our men and women in uniform, are the principal sources of such optimism about Iraq as I'm able to muster.)

(6)  There will be another vacancy on the SCOTUS.  Harriet Miers won't be nominated to fill it.  Because the vacancy will be in a seat previously held by a liberal or "swing-vote" Justice, Dubya will be obliged to accommodate the new Democratic majority in the Senate by naming someone unconventional who makes a poor target for their demagoguery and can therefore be confirmed, if only by a small margin: the Ninth Circuit's superb maverick, Alex Kozinski. BeldarBlog will actively support the nomination, as it will also support the nomination of the new Justice Kozinski's Ninth Circuit successor (and former law clerk), Eugene Volokh.

(7)  Some parts of the world will be warmer in 2007 than in 2006. Some will be colder. Global warming hysterics will continue to ignore the latter. Since the public has become largely innoculated against the Democratic Party's preferred political scare tactic of the last several decades — "The Republicans are going to take away your Social Security!" — global warming will instead become every Democratic candidate's new holy dogma and scare tactic of choice; heretics and even doubters will be excommunicated. Al Gore will not become a candidate himself, but other candidates will vie for him to make (strictly timed) opening remarks about global warming at their campaign rallies.

(8)  The 2007 calendar year will end with no clear front-runner for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination, but with a single clear and massively funded front-runner for the Democratic nomination — with respect to whom substantial portions of both the leading and trailing edges of the Democratic Party's bell-curve will already be falling into "buyer's remorse." Said Democratic front-runner as of year-end 2007 will nevertheless have only a one-in-three chance of actually securing the nomination. Chances exceed 90% that his/her own implosion, or failing that his/her chief remaining competitor's implosion, will be YouTube's most-watched video of February 2008.

(9)  Nothing very worthy or important will be produced by Hollywood in 2007, but campaign contributions and even more silly and ill-informed rhetoric will continue to gush from it. Heads of at least one television network, three major newspapers or news-magazines, and a major movie/multimedia conglomerate will be fired based on their frustrated board members' perceptions that they've failed to adapt sufficiently to the new internet age. Their replacements will be younger, hipper, and equally clueless. By year-end of 2007, the NYT still won't have learned a single damned thing.

(10)  Blog readership will continue to grow, as will the international public's reliance on unconventional media as sources of news and commentary. Blogs will be more important, with the exception of Tom DeLay's blog, which (like its namesake) will pretty much disappear from everyone's radar screens.

Comments are open: Feel free to disagree with my predictions or add your own!

Posted by Beldar at 08:16 PM in Current Affairs | Permalink

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Comments

(1) DRJ made the following comment | Dec 31, 2006 9:43:11 PM | Permalink

Great SCOTUS prediction. I hope you are right but my guess is that GWB will opt for a female appointee, maybe one of the Ediths.

Sadly, I couldn't disagree more on your first prediction. It's clear to me that Veto and GWB go together like oil and water. So I predict the first major domestic legislation will be amnesty that they will call immigration reform, followed closely by defunding the border fence. After that, I'll be too depressed to notice what Congress does next.

(2) Kent made the following comment | Dec 31, 2006 10:50:01 PM | Permalink

I think (4) is off. You may not have noticed the sea change in Israeli politics of late. The current government of Israel resembles what we would have gotten if we had elected Kerry. They shrunk from finishing the job in Lebanon and they will shrink from doing anything meaningful against Iran.

I think we're looking at a stinky little nuclear power, secure in the belief that we are deterred, continuing to support a guerilla war in Iraq.

At that point, Iraq will begin to have *real* similarities with Vietnam -- as long claimed (and, frankly, desired) by the Left in this country.

(3) El Jefe Maximo made the following comment | Jan 1, 2007 12:46:20 AM | Permalink

I'm holding off on my 07 predictions, for the somewhat lazy reason that I've been on vacation and aren't up to doing the work yet.

I agree with most of yours. The Supreme Court prediction is interesting. Depending on who the vacancy is...I can see certain vacancies where one wonders: why make a nomination -- at all ?

(4) nk made the following comment | Jan 1, 2007 1:29:36 AM | Permalink

From your mouth [keyboard] to God's ears. Except for the Eugene Volokh part. Not even for a District Judge. We need real lawyers, not schoolmarms, on the bench. How about you?

In any event ...

Happy New Year! Long life and health to you and yours.

(5) hunter made the following comment | Jan 1, 2007 8:41:51 AM | Permalink

Happy New Year!
Pretty good predictions, imho.
I am too tired to make any yet, so I will likely just borrow yours.

(6) DRJ made the following comment | Jan 1, 2007 2:01:22 PM | Permalink

Here's a prediction: The Supreme Court will "modify" Grutter in favor of the principles outlined in Hopwood. It may not happen in 2007 but I predict it will be more likely to happen in 1 year than 25.

(7) John Marshall Robinson made the following comment | Jan 1, 2007 2:47:03 PM | Permalink

I can't believe Beldar is back! Welcome, you've been missed! (Saw your comment over at Bainbridge's site.)

(8) Beldar made the following comment | Jan 1, 2007 6:50:18 PM | Permalink

Thanks, Mr. Robinson.

DRJ, you may be right about Grutter -- I have a hard time imagining Alito signing on to O'Connor's 25-years-to-unconstitutional analysis. As for the vetoes: Certainly Dubya has been too stingy with the veto pen in his first term-and-a-half, especially on appropriation matters. Lacking a line-item veto, I think he's been going along to get along when his party controlled both chambers of Congress. But if the Dems manage to pass something from their domestic agenda (probably with a minority of Republican votes) -- for example, some sort of "global warming" legislation or upward tinkering with the tax code -- I think Dubya, having learned where on his desk his veto pen lies, will use it more aggressively. (Recall Cheney's history, now again much in the news, as Ford's chief of staff; Ford vetoed lots of legislation coming from the post-Watergate Congress, and most of his vetoes stuck.) I admit this is an optimistic projection on my part that requires a leap of faith that Dubya will depart from his past habits, though.

Kent, you're probably right that internal pressures within Israel, not unlike those in the U.S., make protracted military operations, and especially high-violence occupations, unlikely. I'm not at all sure the same is true for in-and-out raids; and if the prospect of Iran holding nukes and missles that can reach Tel Aviv doesn't rouse them, then they (and probably we) are in bad, bad shape.

(9) DRJ made the following comment | Jan 2, 2007 2:15:40 PM | Permalink

In support of your faith in GWB's willingness to veto legislation, he frequently vetoed legislation as Governor of Texas. I hope you are right, especially having read this.

(10) DRJ made the following comment | Jan 2, 2007 2:18:07 PM | Permalink

My links didn't work so here's the long version:

George W. Bush's veto record as Governor of Texas - http://www.lrl.state.tx.us/legis/vetoes/

Article on the future of bipartisanship in the 2007 Congress - http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/01/01/AR2007010100784.html

(11) Kent made the following comment | Jan 2, 2007 5:36:51 PM | Permalink

and if the prospect of Iran holding nukes and missles that can reach Tel Aviv doesn't rouse them, then they (and probably we) are in bad, bad shape.

Well, yeah. That's my point.

(12) ScurvyOaks made the following comment | Jan 2, 2007 6:07:21 PM | Permalink

Beldar, I'm so happy that you're back! Congratulations on your happiness in your professional situation, and thanks for your very able and hardworking blogging!

(13) Ariana made the following comment | Jan 4, 2007 12:53:36 PM | Permalink

Welcome back Beldar

Your insights have been missed

(14) hunter made the following comment | Jan 5, 2007 6:18:58 AM | Permalink

Beldar,
A belated happy new year!
I like most of your predictions in that I agree with them. Although I do find the one about Israel and Iran a bit more hopeful than analytical. I too hope that Israel will see its way to blunt the fangs, and maybe even break the fangs, of the islamofascists.
The dhimmicrat majorities are very narrow. And inspite of all MSM attempts to distract, very corrupt. I see little being done by them.

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