Having no letters to answer, I began to think ahead to a regular feature in the Dear Jon cycle: my annual predictions for the next year. I thought that before launching ahead to predictions 2009, I should review 2008 and see how I did. I amazed myself again!
The result follows each prediction.
1. It is difficult to imagine anything less than 19-0 for the New England Patriots. It would be an exclamation point on the season if they won the Super Bowl by 19 points.
2. Brett Favre will come back to play one more year. He will win the Super Bowl with the Green Bay Packers a year from now and retire on top.
I was right about him coming back, and wrong about who he would be playing for. He is at the top of his game, adding a turn-around of the New York Jets to his legend. We do not know at the time of writing how far he is taking the Jets this season. Also, will he retire? Who knows?
Insufficient Data: 2
3. My prayer, and I hope every true American patriot joins me, is that all the white chauvinist Nazi ##$@-heads in the USA are either dead, safely in jail, or completely wasted on meth, so that a federal election featuring a woman and a black man each having real shots at the White House, will be not be marked by violence against these candidates or their loved ones or supporters.
Prayers Answered: 1
4. As a result of the federal elections in November, approximately half of all truly patriotic Americans will be convinced that we are headed for heck in a hand-basket.
Nailed it. Right leads wrong 3-2.
5. In the Middle East, Islamic terrorists will continue to do everything they can to screw up life for their fellow citizens, with the following strategies:
• Targeting government officials, whether elected or appointed, who speak for peace, engagement and moderation.
• Targeting imams and clerics, of whatever denomination within Islam, who speak for peace, engagement, and moderation.
• Targeting Israel.
• Derailing, by any means possible, any initiatives for peace and stability that might take root in the Palestinian Authority.
• Claiming that any withdrawal of American forces from the region means a de facto victory for their insane, clueless and shameful ideologies.
All of these 5 predictions are right. I predict all of the same for 2009 as well. Right is now pulling ahead of Wrong 8-2.
6. President Bush and his circle will continue to realize, now that Rumsfeld and other quacks are long gone, that the other half of Teddy Roosevelt's doctrine, "speaking softly," is a better way to meet the president's policy goals in the Middle East, than the "bring it on" bravado of 2003.
If someone else can come up with a better explanation for the combination of "surge" and diplomacy, I will hear it. Meanwhile, I am giving myself credit at 9-2.
7. Because of Bush's realization, he will leave office a much better president than what he became on or about September 12th, 2001.
Even with shoes thrown at him. This prediction has nothing to do with the domestic economic melt-down. Whether he is actually a better President now is a moot point. No one cares. We will give this to the "insufficient data" score.
8. This realization in Bush will secure his legacy for the future. In fifteen years or so, historians of this presidency will mark the legacy of the "quiet victories" in Iraq and Afghanistan.
We have fourteen more years to see whether this comes true.
9. Unless he and his generals revert to strutting around, and begin drawing down troop-strength as a result of political pressure rather than realities on the ground. Then look again at prediction number 5.
His "unless" did not happen. So it is a non-scoring comment in the subjunctive case.
10. Americans will win a lot of medals in the Olympics, including our basketball team.
10-2. I had never heard of Michael Phelps. I didn't need to know about him to be right in advance.
11. There will be new innovations in telecommunications technology. Meanwhile our space vehicles will rot in orbit or on the Martian ground, our vision for humanity and our pioneering spirit subsumed by our demand for digital wireless amusement.
And this move is now available on DVD, HD On Demand and Blue Danube, or whatever it's called. 11-2.
12. Russia will come around. Maybe not by 2008, but there will be hopeful signs. The Russian people are smarter than to let themselves sulk while Europe gets stronger, China gets richer and the United States continues to engage both.
Ouch. So much for hoping. 11-3.
13. Castro will live to see 2009 as dictator in Cuba. He might be immortal.
Fidel is still alive, and a Castro continues to be dictator. 12-3.
14. Chavez in Venezuela will continue to be a twit. 13-3.
15. The illegal immigration mess will not be solved by the current administration, nor will any of the campaign promises provide a truly workable solution.
These are two predictions, and I am right both times. 15-3.
16. Economic news is usually smoke-and-mirrors. The fact is, millions of Americans will still buy and sell homes because that will be their stage in life.
Facts are facts. I said nothing about the PRICE of these homes. 16-3.
17. Huckabee is this year's McCain; some statements resonated enough with the public to generate a media bubble, but his campaign will fade. (McCain technically is running for President this year, but he is not this year's McCain.) 17-3.
18. If the Republicans were smart, they would make Condi Rice the running mate for Rudy Guliani. This will steal the thunder of Hilary and Obama simultaneously, while underscoring executive experience in matters of state.
But the Republicans were not smart. This is another subjunctive comment without a score.
19. I don't think that will happen. I don't think the Republicans are that smart.
THIS was the prediction. 18-3.
20. The best way to guarantee that the Democrats take back the White House, is for Republicans to nominate a Mormon to lead their ticket, and hand him a white male running mate.
Another subjunctive comment. The Republicans did not do that, they chose McCain instead and he did surprise us with his choice of running mate. It still did not matter because neither Guliani nor Rice were on the ticket. As McCain was the nominee, he really needed Rice on the ticket.
So, of 21 predictions that could be fairly scored, I was correct 18 times. How do you like them odds? If I stay away from predicting outcomes in football, and allow Russia to continue to be, as Winston Churchill intimated during the Soviet era, "an enigma wrapped in a mystery,"* I just might reach perfection.
Predictions for 2009 will run on December 30th.
*I did not look up the Churchill quote. I am pretty sure it was him, and that I have the gist of what he said.
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