6 thoughts on “Raising The Punditry Bar

  1. Loveland –

    Your crystal ball is as good as anybody’s I know. I like your long-term vision of the future.

    Here’s my dystopian alternative:

    2010: Republican gains in Congressional races give GOP control of the House and shrink Dem’s majority in the Senate to low 50s.

    2010-2012: Change in House leadership effectively gridlocks government as House legislative agenda is given over to holding symbolic votes on wedge issues and conducting “oversight” hearings into Obama Administration.

    Unemployment continues to be above 8 percent, economic activity sputters, housing prices stabilize but do not grow meaningfully. War in Afghanistan continues as drawdown is postponed due to “conditions on the ground.” Obama popularity remains in 40s, polling for “America on the wrong track” continues to be in the 70s. Deficits remain high.

    2012: Obama wins re-election over GOP candidate Mitt Romney 41-39 with Tea Party candidate Nikki Haley taking 20 percent of the popular vote and 45 electoral votes. GOP sees shrinking majority in House, gets 1-2 vote majority in Senate. Both majorities only made possible by Tea Party candidates caucusing with GOP.

    2012-2016: Government gridlock continues. GOP collapses like the Whig party in the 1850s. 2014 Congress first in modern times to be organized by coalition of Democrats and emerging moderate “United” party that supports fiscal restraint, limited American foreign engagement, social libertarianism.

    Social fabric continues to be strained by modest recovery, deficits and inability of government to deliver services. Poverty rate rises, many communities declare bankruptcy along with several states. For the first time in 40 years, National Guard is deployed in numerous cities across the country to stop rioting. Michigan governor decides not send troops to Detroit but instead establishes cordon around city. Gun sales reach record highs. Tax avoidance hits all-time high.

    For the first time in American history legal immigration is outpaced by emigration of American citizens to other countries. Illegal immigration continues at much reduced levels. Canada quietly begins increasing its border protections.

    China’s emergence as the pre-eminent superpower continues; Japan, Europe begin to align policies more toward China than U.S.

    2016: Economy finally starts to report steady growth. Scared by the riots, the homeless, the deaths in the summer heat waves and winter cold snaps, most people retreat from partisan rhetoric and extremism. Obama endorses United candidate for president, effectively splintering Democratic party. United candidate wins and United-Dem coalitions control both Houses. Tea Party assumes role of minority party in Congress.

    New equilibrium established with United-Dems versus Tea Party-GOP becoming the new two-party system. Historians will mark this period as the end of America’s period of economic, political, cultural and military pre-eminence on the world stage.

    Let’s hope your crystal ball is better than mine.

    – Austin

    1. Mike Kennedy says:

      Sheesh, Austin. What a downer of a view of the future. I do love how you worked global warming/cooling climate change…whatever into the scenario.

      I wish I could argue about the decline of the U.S., but alas, the only thing I have to fall back on is the past several hundred years of overcoming adversity and challenges. The past doesn’t predict the future, but I do think history can be instructive. So I’m pretty positive, but it’s still fun to read these predictions.

      Now, for the real burning question. When is it going to stop raining in Wales so I can watch the Ryder Cup? If they don’t get these matches underway soon, it’s going to cut into my Sunday football time.

  2. Now boys…this is harmless fun, but get real. As Ralph Waldo Emerson famously said (or is famously believed to have said), “Events are in the saddle, and ride mankind.” In plain words, when it comes to the future, the unforeseeable greatly outweighs the foreseeable.

    Had the economy tanked six months later than it did, John McCain might well have won the presidency and we’d be spending all of our time praying for his good health and long life what with Ms. Palin as his back-up.

    Anyway, I think the future political landscape is always unknown territory…though as Austin suggests, it wouldn’t hurt to prepare ourselves for the worst.

    Meanwhile, here’s my prediction for a headline I think you’re more likely to see in 2012:

    “Los Angeles Vikings Super Bowl Hopes End on Brett Favre Interception”

  3. Joe Loveland says:

    Yes, speculating about the future is a silly parlor game, but it’s my silly parlor game. So don’t you dare deny me my ability to pretend I’m smarter than any human can possibly be!

  4. john sherman says:

    The good thing about contemporary punditry is that accountability is only for ten year olds and their teachers; the deep thinkers are wrong time after time and nobody gets hurt. A while back somebody did a “where are they now” study comparing the careers of those who got Iraq right and those who were completely wrong; it turns out that actually figuring out that the Iraq war was a swindle based on hype was a career killer. As Duncan Black keeps pointing out, those who say “nobody could have predicted” the economic collapse are doing a lot better than those who actually did predict the collapse.

Comments are closed.