On January 1 of this year my column was called, “2017: The Year In Preview.” I decided to look forward rather than looking back because everyone does a “Year in Review” column. Now that it’s (nearly) in the books, I thought I’d take a look back to see how well I did. Turns out, not that bad. Too bad my guesses at lottery numbers were nowhere near as successful.
What I got right:
At the time I wrote, “First of all, Democrats will not work with Republicans. Well, OK, they won’t work with Republicans who are working with anyone named Trump. For all the cries of “obstruction” over the last eight years, Democrats will be glaciers in 2017.”
Yeah, nailed it.
As Republicans pass tax reform and tax cuts, there wasn’t a single Democrat who voted for the bill. Not one. It was going to pass no matter what they did, and many Democrats do represent areas President Donald Trump won, so voting for allowing their constituents to keep more of what they earn seems like it’d be an easy vote to take and would be a good way to fend off an easy attack from a Republican challenger in the upcoming election.
But no, they weren’t interested. The official Democratic Party spin on the tax bill is what it is every time there’s a tax bill – it’s for the rich and harms the middle-class and poor. Never mind the fact that the poor don’t pay income taxes, and the middle-class benefit from deductions eliminated for the wealthy, party spin trumps reality every single time. (Although, hilariously, California Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein actually whined that the bill DOES NOT benefit her wealthy constituents this week.)
Democrats’ hatred of Donald Trump overrode everything they did this year. I predicted their actions “won’t be reported as obstruction,” which was right but akin to predicting the Sun will rise in the east tomorrow, so it doesn’t exactly qualify me to restart the Psychic Friends Network.
Another correct prediction was, “The deficit and national debt will become a thing again.” Again, a bit of a tap-in putt in the grand scheme of things but, as I wrote at the time, “After years of giving President Obama credit for ‘reducing’ a deficit he tripled first, journalists will become hawks on the issue. But they’ll say and write little about Obama amassing more debt than all previous presidents combined.”
Nailed it again.
When Obamacare was being discussed, the deficit was a standard liberal/media talking point. On the tax bill, Democrats whined so much about it you’d think they were misers with other people’s money. Ignoring the increased revenue from the economic stimulation from people being allowed to keep more of their money, Democrats, after 8 years of gleefully setting piles of IOUs with our grandkids' names on them on fire, they comically tried to claim the mantle of fiscal responsibility.
Republicans should do more, and by more I mean something, to deal with the debt and deficits, but they’re planning to tackle some entitlements in the new year, so we’ll see. And we’ll see how long Democrats can hold their “outrage over the deficit” bluff. The smart money is on about 10 seconds after someone talks about work requirements for welfare.
What I got wrong:
It wasn’t all “on the nose” soothsaying on my part. I predicted we should “Expect deep profiles and emotional packages on Midwestern families struggling to make ends meet. Be prepared to learn, as we did during the Bush administration, about how full-time jobs are being replaced by part-time work, as well as in-depth discussions about the ‘quality’ of jobs being created. These will become staples of media reports and Democrats’ speeches for at least the next four years.”
It’s not as though these stories aren’t still a standard part of the left-wing’s repertoire when a Republican is in office, and they’ve been used in the health care debate and the tax debate, though only on a limited basis. It’s that Democrats and media have been so singularly obsessed with Trump that they’ve largely ignored their usual go-tos on policy stories.
Every Trump tweet stopped all the presses, every anonymous source sent reporters into conniption fits about how “this could be the story that brings down the President” before needing to be corrected or retracted. Liberals were simply too overwhelmed by having their fever-dreams fed by sloppy reporting and narrative-affirming spin to dip fully into their standard bag of tricks. Though I still believe it will come back into fashion, at least by the 2020 election.
So I hit .667, for the most part, which isn’t half bad for having winged it. No matter how crazy anyone predicting got last year, no one could have predicted just how awful and partisan and insane the left-wing would get in 2017. You’d think they’d have nowhere to go but up, but if 2017 taught us anything it’s that when you think liberals have finally sunk as far down as they can…they break out the shovel.