As is my yearly tradition, I offer a few predictions for the new year, to be revisited (and frequently mocked) a year later. So, without further ado, this year’s predictions:
- Hillary Clinton defeats Obama for the Democratic Nomination. She picks Mark Warner as her running mate.
- She then narrowly loses to the Republican candidate (who is not Mike Huckabee).
- Sensing a weak field, Michael Bloomberg runs for the Presidency on a third-party ticket, picking
CNN anchor Lou DobbsChuck Hagel as his running mate. He barely registers in the polls, despite pouring millions of his own money into the race.
- The Democrats retain control of Congress, but not be margins large enough to threaten vetos. Pelosi and Reid remain in control of their respective chambers, but end up being just as ineffectual as they have been over the last major year. Congress still does almost nothing throughout the year, and this Congress leaves with no major legislative achievements to its name.
- Violence in Iraq remains sporadic, as US forces slowly withdraw. Iraq becomes less and less of a domestic political issue. Al-Qaeda attempts a Tet Offensive, but it is quickly crushed thanks to solid intelligence provided by Iraqi civilians.
- The center-right remains triumphant as Nicolas Sarkozy, Angela Merkel, Kevin Rudd, and Stephen Harper all work towards free market reforms in their respective countries to great popular acclaim.
- The situation in Pakistan remains deeply unsettled, with Musharraf having only a tenuous hold on power.
- Iran continues to rattle sabers, and continues to enrich uranium, while the Bush Administration tries to ratchet up diplomatic pressure—to no avail.
- The Annapolis Peace Conference accomplishes nothing as once again Israel offers concessions and the Palestinians end up being too divided to offer anything in return.
- China improves its image with the Beijing Olympics.
- While the media continues to paint their picture of economic despair, the real story continues to be the “Goldilocks economy” of low unemployment, high economic growth, and steady wage growth.
- The sub-prime mortgage issue fades as the impact becomes more fully known. As the uncertainty fades, it becomes clear that the fears of recession were baseless.
- Oil prices stabilize around $100/barrel.
- At MacWorld, Apple announces iTunes movie rentals – in HD, with a new Apple TV to match. They also announce an enhanced iPhone, an ultraportable MacBook with a flash-based hard drive and long battery life. Apple stock continues to climb.
- However, Amazon’s DRM-free MP3 download store starts stealing some marketshare from iTunes. More studios embrace selling their music unencumbered by DRM, leading iTunes to abandon their FairPlay DRM on music by the end of the year.
- Despite blockbusters like Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and Star Trek, box office receipts decline both in number of tickets and dollars grossed as the price of high-def movie equipment declines. While movie ticket sales decline, sales of HDTVs, home theater setups, and HD-DVD and Blu-Ray players soar. HD-DVD players hit the $100 mark by the end of the year, meaning that HD-DVD adoption pulls away from Blu-Ray.
We’ll see how well these predictions turn out next year…
UPDATE 12/31/07: One minor change. Despite both being cranks, Bloomberg and Dobbs apparently don’t agree on much. However, Bloomberg and Sen. Chuck Hagel have met before, making them more likely political bedfellows.
YET ANOTHER UPDATE: One more prediction: No Country for Old Men will win Best Picture at the Oscars. It deserves to. If you’ve not yet seen it, it’s an amazing movie because of the way it’s almost entirely built on subtext. But don’t let that dissuade you: it’s not preachy, it’s not pretentious, and it isn’t an “art house” movie. It’s just a damned good film.