I have one long prediction for 2010, and then a series of quick ones:
1) Iran: The combined two stories of its nuclear program and ongoing new revolution will be the dominant news story of the year.
1a) There is a strong likelihood that the Islamic Republic itself will fall in 2010. That is what is at stake. Not regime change — the switching of one office-holder for another within the same system — but total governmental change.
The young have decided that the aging and corrupt and obscenely rich mullahs, and the rigged governmental system that sustains them, can stand no longer. That is why these brave young people are willing to risk their lives on the streets each day facing the thug Basij militia and the government security forces, both of which specialize in using terror to quash dissent — on direct orders from Ayatollah Khamenei.
The development of the Iranian nuclear program is a key factor driving the fomenting revolution. As the West draws a line for Tehran not to cross, the Iranian people, who have been disaffected since June’s rigged elections, see their government pursuing a policy that will isolate Iran from the West and cause terrible economic dislocation for the Iranian people for years to come.
Yet the Ahmadinejad government insists on racing to join the nuclear club, figuring that, once it's in the club, the other club members will treat them differently.
Tehran reads history this way: If Saddam Hussein had had nukes, no U.S. invasion of Iraq. Thus, if Iran has them, no U.S. or Israel aggression against Iran. Plus, it can bully the Saudis and other rich Arabs with its superior military power once they acquire these weapons.
So Iran is the flash point for many stories in 2010.
Look for violence, hatred, and ugliness — a passive President Obama refusing to side with these brave people fighting for their freedom — and ultimately for the hand of God. “What,” you ask?
Yes, the hand of God is at work here. Go back to 1989, the fall of the Berlin Wall followed by the almost totally peaceful end of the Soviet Union, the “focus of evil in the modern world,” as President Reagan called it. How could the dreaded, all-powerful Soviet Empire crumble, without a shot being fired, if it weren’t for God’s intervention, perhaps beginning with the mysterious selection of Pope John Paul II, followed by the creation of the Solidarity Movement in Poland?
Indeed, God triumphed over pure man-made evil in that situation.
And perhaps it will repeat itself in Iran — only this time there is already more bloodshed. There are reports that some Iranian police are refusing to fire on demonstrators — always a sign of the regime’s imminent loss of power.
Pray for the creation of a Persian democracy.
So, in sum, Iran is the nation to keep our eye on in 2010.
2) Obama: The president will decline even more in the polls. The jobs situation will continue to rot away any good feeling about his administration. Increasing numbers of Americans will see him as a political fluke, in over his head, incompetent, too liberal, and without a clue about how to get the economy back on track. His approval rate will drop to 42 percent.
3) The healthcare bill: Whatever version ends up passing will grow even more unpopular as time goes on. Why? Because from the day the bill becomes law, every medical billing or prescription problem or denied service will be blamed on Obamacare. We all have these medical glitches, but now they will be Obama’s fault.
4) November elections: The Democrats are going to get creamed in the mid-terms. Some big names may go down. Chris Dodd in Connecticut is on the endangered species list; so, too, is Harry Reid. One or both will lose. Former GOP Congressman Rob Simmons in Connecticut will defeat Dodd.
In the House, there will be a strong anti-Obama, anti-Pelosi push back in November. Republicans might not quite take back control, but they will narrow the gap and force the House back toward the political center.
5) New York: Andrew Cuomo will be elected governor. But the Republicans will recapture control of the State Senate.
6) Florida: Gov. Charlie Crist will lose to Marco Rubio in the GOP Senate primary.
7) Arizona: Sen. John McCain will sweat all through the year about his August GOP primary. Former Rep. J.D. Hayworth will run a tough race against him. If Obama pushes the immigration issue in D.C., as he has said he would, then McCain will lose his primary by either flip-flopping on the issue or sticking with his pro-amnesty position. (McCain's losing his own party’s primary less than two years after being that party’s presidential nominee would be a huge story. It will happen if the illegal immigration issue is back on the front page.)
8) California: Former Gov. (and former every other job in the state) Jerry Brown and GOP newcomer and former eBay boss Meg Whitman will square off for governor. She has tons of money; he is known throughout the state from his four decades in public life. It is a Democratic state reeling under financial collapse — with the GOP Governator who hasn’t gotten the job done.
Brown can be testy and nasty; Whitman is nice — and a bit boring and stiff.
He has been around a long time; she hasn’t even voted in many elections — a shocking revelation for someone who wants to run the biggest state after never holding a governmental position before.
You can bet Brown will make a big deal out of this. It hurt Caroline Kennedy in New York a lot. Not voting is inexplicable.
He can argue that he knows every nook and cranny of state government; she can argue that she will make Sacramento run like a business.
He is Mr. Inside; she is Mrs. Outside.
Meg Whitman, by 3 points.
And right away you will hear talk of her for veep on the 2012 GOP ticket. After all, California is 55 electoral votes — one fifth of the total you need to win.
9) The economy: It will grow in 2010 — but not quickly — and not enough to reverse the horrendous 17.5 percent underemployment picture. The perception of the bad economy will not change in 2010 or 2011, and thus Obama and incumbent Democrats will suffer greatly for it. He better pray that this perception changes by 2012, or he is a goner.
10) Al-Qaida: The terrorist machine soon will implant bombs right into the abdominal cavity of suicide bombers — and equip cell phones as detonators. Can our airport screening machines look into someone, like an X-ray machine, to see these objects? (Hey, if drug cartels use people as mules with swallowed condoms filled with heroin and cocaine, why won’t their terrorist cousins do the same thing?)
11) On the right: Sarah Palin will continue to dominate the scene in 2010 — and suck all the oxygen away from other potential 2012 GOP candidates. Romney, Pawlenty, Huckabee, Barbour, and any others just get no coverage whatsoever compared with her.
11a) The next conservative leader, although not prominent as of today, will emerge onto the national scene in 2010.
11b) The tea party will be more popular than the Republican Party.
11c) If this new conservative leader can harness the passion of the tea parties and the built-in structure of the GOP, he can sweep the nation in 2012.
12) Obama's past: A controversial new book will emerge this year, revealing the truth about Obama’s past. The publisher will be under pressure to quash the book. The so-called mainstream media will attack this book. But it will sell more than a million copies in hard cover and several million in paperback.
Happy 2010 to you.
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