Here are my predictions for 2011.
By the end of the year, the unemployment rate will still be unacceptably too high — in the 8 to 8.5 percent range. And that will turn the country even more sour about the economy, the future, and the 2012 elections.
Articles will appear asking this question: Has any incumbent president ever been re-elected with unemployment north of 7 percent or 8 percent?
While President Obama will not have a Democratic Party challenger, he will be viewed as beatable in November 2012. The upper Midwest, from Ohio to Minnesota (all states he won in 2008), will now be against him and his Electoral College math will be difficult.
Both parties are going to be viewed negatively by the end of 2011 precisely because the economy continues to founder.
GOP control of the House will cause a split inside the Republicans between tea party conservatives who want to address the national debt and regular Republicans who want to cut more taxes to stimulate the economy.
Sarah Palin will continue to dominate the talk of the GOP race for the presidential nomination. She will continue to prevent any other new star to emerge from the pack.
By the end of 2011 no Republican will have emerged as the favorite for the GOP presidential nomination. Sarah Palin will still be the most talked-about Republican candidate. She will have catchy one-liners at the TV debates which begin in June. Palin will dominate the news of these debates.
Instead, there will be a flavor du jour — a new, hot, favorite candidate, each of whom lasts for a week or two only to fade and be replaced by the next faddish wave.
A big fight will ensue over the extension of the debt ceiling. This has to be voted on by the House and Senate. The establishment is already saying to the new tea party elected conservatives, You have to vote to extend the debt ceiling! And these tea party-backed new senators and congressmen are replying, I did NOT come here to run up more debt! So look out for an explosion over this by spring.
Aside from politics, I am predicting that Kathleen Parker won't make it to March 1 on CNN’s "Parker/Spitzer." And the show itself won’t last past May 1. If it does last longer it is only because everything on that network is unwatchable.
A big scandal — written about in this space a few years ago — is still simmering. This is a scandal bigger than Watergate. It envelopes both major political parties. There will be progress in 2011 in blowing this open. And if it does blow, it will severely alter the 2012 presidential race.
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