As is our custom upon the turn of the year, we offer predictions of events that could or should (if the world were just) occur in the coming year.
Unpopularity Blues. Reaching new depths of unpopularity, President Barack Obama finds himself being blamed for natural events that only George W. Bush used to be blamed for. The first rumblings of this new tendency start soon after the disastrous earthquake that destroyed a large part of Haiti. Late-night comedians begin cracking wise about geologists’ claims that Obama’s many foot-stomping campaign rallies – which continued through much of 2009 – had damaged the earth’s crust and caused the Haiti earthquake. An NBC pundit is the first regular journalist to pick up the theme, followed by geological “scientists” working under grants from Big Oil to study the possibility that human activity might cause earthquakes. Obama-administration officials who scoff at the idea are branded “deniers” by the new movement, the goal of which is to “stop anthropogenic geologic change.”
Stormy Weather. A huge March snowstorm shuts down Washington and most of the eastern seaboard, completely disrupting a global warming rally designed to promote Mr. Obama’s revived Cap-and-Trade plan. Mr. Obama later fires the entire U. S. Weather staff for failing to predict the massive storm, which stranded Air Force One, with Mr. Obama and a large part of his staff inside, on the tarmac at New York’s La Guardia airport for two days. Two secret service agents are later fired for brandishing their weapons at hooligans who were pelting the president’s plane with snowballs, some of which contained stones.
Life Upon the Wicked Stage. Threatened with certain defeat in the November elections – not to mention probable loss of his party’s nomination for his seat in the U. S. Senate – Majority Leader Harry Reid quits the Senate for more remunerative work. He takes a $10,000-a-week gig with Saturday Night Live, where he depicts a caricature of himself. Mr. Reid merely acts his normal persona in the sketches, but he is fired after a month of being roundly booed for being “too unbelievable.” “Even a comedy act needs some verisimilitude,” said a critic. “Nobody could act that stupidly in real life. It’s not funny; just dumb…”
Just a Personnel Matter. Long-time Obama advisor Valerie Jarrett – Senior Advisor and Assistant to the President for Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Engagement – finally gets booted by the Obama administration when Glen Beck discloses that one of Mr. Obama’s “czars,” Guenter von Holz-Wiener, was a guard at the Nazis’ Tremulka concentration camp. (Ms. Jarrett was caught on tape introducing Hauptman Holz-Wiener at a convention – praising him for his “long and varied community service.”) The Beck research team was alerted to Holz-Wiener’s identity by a former prison inmate, now 83 years old, who recognized the former guard from photos she had secreted and taken out of the camp in 1945. H-W was positively identified by forensic photograph-analysts who said the ears were a perfect match.
I’ll be Beck. The dismissed “czar,” Holz-Wiener, files suit against Glen Beck for defaming him without proof, but the court dismisses the suit. Thereafter, the Federal Department of War Crimes deports the former guard. The deported H-W shouts, “Ve know your namess! Ve know vere you liff! Ve vill find you!” (plus various incomprehensible phrases in German) hysterically from the boarding stairs of the plane that will return him to Germany. There he is tried as a war criminal, convicted, and sentenced to 50 years of watching films of old Nazi rallies and speeches for 10 hours each day. He goes insane after serving two months of his sentence, and is committed to a mental hospital in Wiesbaden. He lives there until age 115 – lionized in the German press as Der letzte Kamerad. At the asylum he is allowed to celebrate Nazi holidays and hold court for other old Nazis, surrounded by swastika flags and other memorabilia of the Third Reich. Neo-Nazis are twice arrested for trying to kidnap Hauptman Holz-Wiener as part of plots to stage a Nazi-revival. Both attempts are foiled when the ageing Nazi cannot be made to stop shouting, “Sieg Heil” and singing “Deutschland über alles” during the abductions.
Fright Night. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi resigns her seat after Republicans take control of the House with a gain of 100 new seats in the November elections. She leaves her husband to marry actor Danny Glover, who has started a new foundation committed to proving that George W. Bush is the “antichrist.” The couple moves to Haiti, where Mrs. Glover (née Pelosi) begins a career as a voodoo entertainer. Authorities terminate her show when she scares 10 people to death at her first performance. A noticeably paler Mr. Glover leaves her after two months, saying only that “she scared me white…”
Revolving CEOs, Big Profits. The Obama White House appoints four new CEOs for the reformed General Motors Corporation during 2010. Each new appointee lasts only a few months before resigning. The resigned CEOs take increasingly large severance package with them – the last one exceeding $100 million. It is later revealed that the severance packages had to be offered in order to get anyone to take the high-profile job. The final appointed CEO for 2010 turns out to be Larry Gleason, former coffee-and-sandwich gofer for the Obama White House, who left school after the third grade. Gleason’s GM salary is reputed to be $80 million a year. (“It buys a lot of sandwiches, Starbucks coffee, and video games,” he told reporters.) GM top executives take bonuses totaling $319 million after reporting profits of $10,000 for FY2010. News of these financial excesses is shrouded by breaking war-news in mid-year.
Wagging the Dog. President Obama sends troops into Montenegro and Haiti to “normalize” their governments. Congressional Republicans object furiously, claiming that the wars are only meant to divert public and media attention from domestic political crises – e.g., the financial and leadership fiasco at General Motors (a.k.a. “Government Motors”). Although President Obama vows to take command of his troops in the field – the first president to do so since the Whiskey Rebellion in 1794 – the far-left anti-war movement joins forces with a new conservative Republican anti-war movement to protest the invasions. A half-million protestors storm the U. S. Capitol. Congressional hearings are called when it is shown that Montenegro possesses only an “operetta army” with patent-leather shoes and Napoleonic-era muskets. The third and fourth GM-CEO appointments slip by unnoticed during the uproar.
Dazzling New Products. GM announces its new “green” product-line to much White House fanfare, but enthusiasm falls flat when the public realizes it is a line of expensive golf-carts, ranging in price from $8,000 to $20,000. The most expensive vehicle converts to a bed so stressed executives can take power naps on the golf course. (Late-night comedians crack that executives who pay $20,000 for a golf cart should be under stress.) Only 135 units are sold for the year – mostly to politically correct country clubs wishing to curry favor with the Obama administration. The GM plant in Illinois closes with an inventory on hand of 87,324 units. Mr. Obama orders the plant held open, but the GM CEO defies the order and resigns. Mr. Obama subsequently signs a presidential executive order requiring everyone who earns over $250,000 to buy one of the GM golf-carts, but the Supreme Court quickly strikes the order down. GM ultimately requests another $35 billion bailout from the federal government. The Democrat-controlled congress passes it in a lame-duck session after the November election puts Republicans in the majority.
GM Bonding. Holders of $27 billion in original GM bonds – elbowed aside by the Obama administration in early 2009, in GM’s “dead-man-walking” bankruptcy – file a class-action lawsuit charging President Obama with “unlawful intrusion into legal proceedings over which he lacked authority.” Mr. Obama had ordered a “settlement” which supplanted GM bondholders from their rightful place at the head of the line of debtors and claimants for GM’s assets in the event of bankruptcy. Union pension claims got first place instead. The new lawsuit charges that the arrangement was unlawful. After dramatic arguments, plus revelations that agents of unknown origin had attempted to influence the proceedings in Mr. Obama’s favor, the court rules for the plaintiffs – ordering all bonds repaid by the federal government at face value. The Supreme Court declines to hear the case, so the ruling stands. Political murmurings about impeachment come to nothing, but Mr. Obama attempts no new corporate interventions.
War on the Court. After the Supreme Court strikes down a presidential executive order which would have suspended the congressional elections of 2010, House Democrats attempt to impeach Justices Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas and Alito, as well as Chief Justice Roberts. However, the attempt fails for lack of support in the House of Representatives. The abortive attempt adds to the Democrats’ debacle in the fall elections. In the midst of the impeachment controversy, 90-year-old Justice John Paul Stevens dies. President Obama nominates Attorney General Eric Holder to fill the vacancy, but Republicans block the nomination with a filibuster, forcing the president to wait until a new congress takes office in 2011.