My fellow prisoners, the end is near. Here are a few predictions.
Let’s start easy: Obama wins the presidency.
Of the close states, Obama wins Pennsylvania, Ohio, Colorado, Florida (by a whisker), but not North Carolina or Indiana.
Democrats get 57 seats in the Senate (not counting Lieberman, of course).
Obama doesn’t get assassinated any time in the next four years. (Attempts and woundings don’t count.)
McCain doesn’t run again. His health declines precipitously sometime within the next four years, provoking a collective shudder in the US (and the rest of the world), and setting forward a few years the age considered acceptable for a presidential candidate.
Sarah Palin does not become the Republican nominee for President in 2012. Neither does Guilliani.
North Korea attempts to back out of its non-proliferation agreement with the US within a few months. Result: Big fuss. Widely considered Obama’s first big test.
Some time in the next four years, North Korea suddenly collapses. Handling the fallout becomes a much more significant foreign policy priority for the Obama presidency than almost anyone expected.
US troop presence in Iraq is reduced quickly, but there are still at least 5,000 US troops in Iraq in 2012.
The Republican party bounces back surprisingly quickly.
The Obama Presidency becomes the best thing that has ever happened to Fox News. Fox News plays its role as Unofficial Opposition with great gusto and makes a ton of money doing so.
Here’s an easy one: The Bush team behaves in a deeply unprofessional way during the transition. The media’s response is disappointingly tepid.
Politics becomes interesting again. For eight long years, the country has been run by hateful, blinkered people. During this time, and especially over the last four years, politics has only been interesting because it involves issues vital to our lives and often to the fate of humanity. What’s been largely missing is a sense that an intelligent contribution to political discourse could ever have a meaningful impact on the people who actually make decisions. For all the disagreements among Obama supporters, I think that there’s going to be a real, and extremely refreshing sense, that political debate is an area in which intelligent, well-argued, evidence-backed contributions might conceivably sway reasonable people in positions in power. A lot of very smart people all over the country are going to find that wildly exhilarating. There’s an incredible amount of pent up energy, enthusiasm and ideas out there. May it make a difference.
It’s been a long, annoying ride, my friends, and right now we all just want it to be over. Looking back, I think this little clip sums up the entire campaign. It’s the contrast between someone who is, for all his imperfections, an adult talking to other adults in an adult fashion, and a glib, uninformed college kid struggling very unsuccessfully to fake her teaching assistant into thinking that she’s done the readings.
Good luck, Mr. Obama. You’re going to need it.