Each December I gaze into my crystal ball and predict what I believe will be the top 10 stories of the coming year. I almost never get these right but they’re fun to speculate about nevertheless. A year from now we’ll take a look back and see how well I did, unless I didn’t do well at all. In that case we will pretend this never happened for the sake of preserving my fragile self-esteem.
10. The highest grossing movie of 2013 will be Iron Man 3.
The year is shaping up to be one of the biggest in cinema history with several proven pop culture franchises re-emerging like Star Trek Into Darkness, Oz The Great and Powerful (prequel to the Wizard of Oz), Thor: The Dark World, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Despicable Me 2, Monsters University (prequel to the beloved Monsters, Inc.) and – my most anticipated movie of the year – Man of Steel. Then there are epic-scale newcomers like Pacific Rim, World War Z, and Elysium. However, when you combine the power of the brand and the timing of its release, I predict Iron Man 3 will be the top grossing film of 2013. The previous two finished as the second and third highest-grossing films of the year when they came out, and as the first major summer movie it gets a coveted spot on the release calendar like The Avengers had this year.
9. No substantive federal “gun control” legislation.
After the coming cave on the so-called fiscal cliff before the end of this year, the Republican Party leadership in Washington, D.C. will be on the thinnest of thin ice with its base. If there’s one group you don’t mess with its defenders of the Second Amendment. So regardless of all the attempts to politicize the recent tragedy in Connecticut (and too many other places), Republicans in Congress will hold the line on more federal restrictions on the God-given right to self-defense—in the interest of their own self-defense.
8. A chain reaction on Right-to-Work
The danger of losing business to Indiana after it enacted Right-to-Work certainly helped apply pressure on the political class in Michigan to follow suit. Look for a similar sentiment to start a domino effect in places like Wisconsin and Ohio, competing rust belt states with Republican governors and legislatures. And don’t be surprised if the unions push to bring this issue to the forefront as well to find out where their GOP opposition truly stands heading into the 2014 election cycle.
7. Rubio and Ryan Polish Their Establishment Credentials
The Republican Party establishment was pinning its 2016 hopes on New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, but he’s toast after his gushing over President Obama during Hurricane Sandy right before the election. Jeb Bush is a non-starter for everyone not named Bush, and they know that, too. They need to sink their claws into someone younger and more palatable to the base after consecutive defeats. Sensing an opportunity, two men liked by many grassroots conservatives, but who have also shown at times they are willing to do business with the party establishment, will vie to fill that void with an eye toward 2016—Marco Rubio and Paul Ryan. Both will look to cash in on their conservative street cred by campaigning for solutions (see that as moderation) on key issues like taxes and spending and immigration, in an effort to appease the beltway culture and insiders. Case in point: Rubio’s already hired a senior adviser whose previous employers were establishmentarian moderates/RINOs John McCain, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Jeb Bush.
6. Syria Goes the Way of Egypt
With his allies in Russia conceding he’s doomed, it’s obvious Bashar al-Assad’s days as Syria’s dictator are numbered. Look for the two-year civil war he has waged with rebels to finally topple him in 2013, but look for something even worse to take his place. With al-Qaeda operatives infiltrating the ranks of the Syrian “freedom fighters,” and with the American people suffering from Middle East nation building fatigue, another Muslim Brotherhood-type regime will emerge in Syria just as we saw in Egypt.