It's the day of the year pundits love most -- the day we get to predict and opine to our heart's content with no consequences. No one's likely to remember a year later that not a word we said came true, so here goes: Linda's List of Less-Than-Likely Occurrences for 2004:
After winning the New Hampshire primary, the Iowa Caucus, and sweeping five of the six primaries held Feb. 3, Howard Dean stunned supporters by announcing that he was divorcing his wife of 23 years in order to enter a "civil union" with multi-billionaire George Soros. Asked how he thought this might affect his chances of beating President Bush in November, the often acerbic Democrat noted, "I let the cat out of the bag months ago when I announced I was a metrosexual, only you guys weren't smart enough to pick up on it. Just kidding -- not that there's anything wrong with it. Anyway, people understand that I must do everything in my power to defeat this maniac in the White House. It's the least I can do to save my country."
Soros, who is the 38th-wealthiest man alive according to Forbes magazine, has already announced that he will spend whatever it takes to defeat Bush, and it is widely assumed that Dean's controversial move is nothing more than a way of gaining access to Soros' billions.
Aides to the near-certain Democratic nominee told reporters that Dean had first explored adding Soros to the ticket as his vice president but then realized that Soros was ineligible because he is not American-born, as required under the Constitution. There is no word yet where the couple will make their residence. Dean signed "civil unions" legislation as governor of Vermont in 1999, but the state is not a community property state, making it difficult for Dean to access Soros' big bucks for his campaign unless he changes state residency.
Linda Chavez is chairman of the Center for Equal Opportunity and author of Betrayal: How Union Bosses Shake Down Their Members and Corrupt American Politics .
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