Jewish World Review Jan. 2, 2003 / 28 Teves, 5763

Tony Blankley

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Before the cheering must come the struggle | First, the good news: A year from now, civilization will still be intact and most Americans correctly will be looking forward to a very good 2004. The economy will be growing, President Bush will be admired throughout most of the world, and his re-election will be certain. But before the cheering must come the struggle. So follows the not completely cheerful predictions for 2003:

Washington politics will start out pitting the White House against congressional Republicans in a sometimes vituperative fight over federal spending. This will actually be a three-sided fight between the White House and conservative back-bench deficit-hawk Republicans, the appropriators and the Republican congressional leadership. The White House/conservative team will demand spending limits that can't pass either the House or the Senate. The appropriators will be called rude names by conservatives. The leadership will try to take over from the appropriators but will fail to get the low White House spending numbers passed. The Democrats will sit on the sidelines and giggle. Ultimately, events will force spending far in excess of the early White House demands.

  • Deficit spending in fiscal year 2003-04 will top $290 to $300 billion. This will be the product of both higher defense and domestic spending and lower federal revenues due to a sputtering economy.

  • The still overpriced stock markets, facing low corporate profits, flagging consumer demand and some interruptions in world trade, will drop about another 10-15 percent by the end of the year.

  • The dollar will drop about 10 percent in value against the Euro, as our trade deficit continues to balloon.

  • Saddam Hussein and his Ba'ath Party will be out of power in Iraq by the springtime. Our occupation of Iraq will be managed without any tragic incidents.

  • The fall of Saddam will trigger uprisings in at least two Middle East countries -- one such government which will fall to a fundamentalist/jihadist regime, the other to a more or less pro-western, moderate, democratically inclined government.

  • The flow of oil temporarily will be slowed or stopped by these events. There will be a furious debate within the Bush Administration and in Congress over whether to militarily intervene to secure the disrupted oil flows. Bush will decide to act. After an initially embarrassing series of U.S. military snafus and native sabotaging of the oil fields, order will be regained, and by winter, oil will be flowing at record levels, and the price of oil will settle at between $15 and $20 a barrel (after taking a wild ride to briefly over $100 on the spot market.)

  • There will be two major, but not catastrophic, terrorist attacks. One either will be in Europe or at sea. The other will be in the United States. It will be obvious to the public that the federal emergency response to the attack in the United States was poorly conceived and carried out.

  • After the immediate shock and cleanup, several Democratic Party leaders will badly misjudge the politics of those events. Democratic presidential aspirants will fall into a contest to see who can criticize President Bush more harshly. By over-playing their hand, the Democratic leaders will lose the public. The public will rally to the president, despite the administrative failure surrounding the terrorist attack.

  • Hillary Clinton, who will have kept her head down through the post-attack politics, will step forward to salvage the Democratic Party from its self-inflicted damage. She will explain that based on her eight years in the White House, she understands the terrible challenges a president faces. Whether she runs for president or not, she will establish herself as the natural leader of the Democratic Party. With the exception of Senator Lieberman, most of the other Democratic leaders will have permanently marginalized themselves by mismanaging the politics of terror.

  • Thanksgiving 2003 long will be remembered as a highly emotional coming together of the country, after which an explosion of optimism will create the most profitable Christmas shopping season on record.

  • That will be the turnaround moment for the U.S. economy. A December 1,000 point run up of the Dow Jones average on the New York Stock Exchange will trigger the beginning of the boom of 2004.

  • North Korea will have gone back to sleep after a fitful springtime.

  • After a not-so-private call by Republican Party elders to take Dick Cheney off the ticket (in order to groom an heir apparent for 2008), President Bush will successfully convince them that Mr. Cheney must remain on the ticket -- for the good of the country.

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Tony Blankley is editorial page editor of The Washington Times. Comment by clicking here.

12/27/02: Long ago and far away
12/18/02: Be glad that Gore's gone?
12/11/02: What fun! A titanic, once-in-a-century partisan battle royal is in the offing
12/04/02: Kerry atwitter
11/27/02: The unThankful list
11/20/02: First the scare, then the yawn
11/13/02: It's going to be a long two years for Lefty Pelosi and the Frisco Dems
11/06/02: Technology: A pollster's worst enemy --- thank goodness!
10/31/02: Watch this election's Wheel of Fate
10/23/02: The Ari and Colin Show: Politics has never been, well, more vaudeville-like
10/09/02: Bush beats drums of realism
10/02/02: Needed: A political chromatograph to detect any true statements in the public domain
09/25/02: Buchanan's new mag
09/18/02: There are many forms of peace
09/11/02: The imperial period of our history starts
09/04/02: Memo to Powell: In periods of upheaval, the refusal to act gives aid to those bent on destruction
08/30/02: Logging old growth is a sham issue

© 2002, Creators Syndicate