Monthly Archives: December 2013
Tis the season for 2012 retrospective lists. Welcome to the second annual self-evaluation of predictions I made a year ago. My prediction list was pretty short last year – I guess I was feeling pretty conservative, because I didn’t exactly go out on a limb for the most part. Let’s see how I did:
Prediction 1 for 2012: There will still be fighting in Syria at this time
This might seem like a no-brainer these days. The war in Syria keeps dragging on with no end in sight. However, last year at this time, it seemed to some that the Syrian rebels were on the march and that the Assad regime’s “days were numbered.” In the meantime, however, the government has fought back and forced a stalemate, if not gained the upper hand. As I warned in an earlier column that advocated increased support for mainstream rebels, conservative jihadist elements have largely taken over the armed opposition. It’s probably too late for any positive outcome at this point – at least anytime soon.
Prediction 2 for 2012: We still won’t be bombing Iran
Again – of course we won’t bomb Iran, right? Last year at this time, coming after Israeli President Netanyahu’s Wile E. Coyote moment at the United Nations, it seemed at least a possibility that events would come to a head in Iran the past year. Instead, there is more hope of diffusing the situation than has existed since Iran’s weapons program was revealed in 2003. An interim six-month agreement between the two sides has not only opened space for real negotiations, but changed the mood of both sides – particularly in Iran where the less-conservatives seem to have the upper hand for a change (I predicted this happening as part of my predictions for 2012 – I was a bit premature).
There is a good chance for a resolution by 2015 if efforts aren’t scuttled by either the US Congress or Iran’s Supreme leader, neither has a very promising track record when it comes to compromise.
Prediction 3 for 2012: Republicans will back away from debt ceiling rhetoric
This prediction was actually about the first impending debt ceiling debacle in early 2013, not the crisis in late 2013. The members of what some have called “the worst Congress ever” pretty much earned their salaries in 2013 by playing political games with the economy. And when I say Congress, I actually mean Congressional Republicans, who eventually forced the administration into saying the only thing it could – go ahead, wreck the economy, we can’t give into extortion. Congressional Republicans, more reckless and miscalculating then insane, folded. Had the Obamacare website fiasco not immediately dominated the news thereafter, the President might have been viewed as a political winner this year. He wasn’t – but the American people avoided something very, very bad thanks to the triumph of a modicum of reason.
Prediction 4 for 2012: Congress will be able to pass immigration legislation by the end of the year
WRONG. They were too busy with other things (see above). With midterm elections coming up in 2014, it’s hard to see how progress will be made in the upcoming year either. The political incentive to “court the Hispanic vote” is more about presidential politics, while midterm elections are more about courting older, whiter Americans who are not, on the whole, big fans of immigration reform. Of course, maybe Congress will just get together and do the right, sensible, and compassionate thing when it comes to dealing with illegal immigration – but I wouldn’t put money on it.
Prediction 5 for 2012: Argo will win the Academy Award for Best Picture
Nailed it. Despite being a 6 or 7-1 underdog up against the favorite at the time, Lincoln, I predicted Argo would take the prize. It was the second year in a row that I picked the winner months ahead of time. Just lucky? Maybe, but I also think that there’s a psychology to Hollywood that involves, in part, a bias in favor of movies about 1) “disadvantaged” minority groups; 2) period pieces; and 3) movies about, well, Hollywood. Argo and The Artist, the winner the year before, pretty much fit-the-bill for 2) and 3), at least. There’s also some major biases against 1) science fiction; 2) comedies; and 3) movies in other languages. I’ll take some of these rules and apply them to my next Academy Award prediction that I’ll make as part of my 2014 predictions in a couple weeks.