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. In case you missed part one, make sure to check out last week’s column for numbers 10 through six.
5. Green Bay Packers win Super Bowl
Look for the Packers to get healthy and hot down the stretch, and carry that momentum into the postseason—just as they did when they defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Super Bowl two years ago. This time the Packers will beat the Denver Broncos, 28-24, in a dream matchup of future Hall of Famer quarterbacks featuring Aaron Rodgers versus Peyton Manning.
4. Israel Finally Strikes Iran
It’s been rumored and expected for years since the world first became aware of Iran’s desire to join the list of nuclear-armed nations. With Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Likud Party poised to win big in January’s Israeli elections, and no friend to Israel Barack Obama back in the White House, Netanyahu will finally have the political clout and sense of urgency to preemptively strike the terrorist regime by year’s end. What happens next is anybody’s guess.
3. Rand Paul Goes Mainstream
In contrast to likely 2016 GOP presidential rivals Marco Rubio and Paul Ryan polishing their establishment credentials (see last week’s piece for more), I predict the Kentucky Senator will spend the year building his street cred within the mainstream of the conservative movement. He already endorsed Mitt Romney for president after he secured the nomination when his father did not, and Rand will lead off the New Year by going to Israel with influential evangelical activist and organizer David Lane. Remember that one of the largest obstacles in the way of his father extending his coalition of young conservatives and libertarians into conventional social conservatives was his foreign policy views. While others run and hide from the social issues, look for Rand to continue to be one of the most outspoken personhood voices in Washington, D.C. as well. With an eye towards 2016, Rand will continue building relationships within the conservative movement his father never bothered to while maintaining much of his father’s domestic agenda.
2. U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Prop 8
There are a lot of nervous values voters and Christian organizations concerned about the news the U.S. Supreme Court is going to take on the challenge to Proposition 8, which defended marriage in California (there’s only one kind of marriage, so I don’t call anything else but “marriage” marriage). Even some anti-marriage Republicans like former Bush Solicitor General Theodore Olsen have been trying to engineer a Roe v. Wade for marriage for years now.
Considering the makeup of the court, where there are really only three judges on the court who actually have respect for the original intent of the Constitution when considering their opinions, they have good reason to be. However, after knee-capping the Constitution in last summer’s Arizona immigration and Obamacare rulings, I predict the politically-motivated Chief Justice John Roberts will engineer an outcome in this case to avoid a potential Constitutional crisis. For the Supreme Court to assume it has the authority to nullify a duly enacted law from the United States Congress (signed by President Clinton) and enshrined in 31 state constitutions would be an unprecedented abuse of power and arrogance, even by the contemporary court’s standard.
Several of those states would challenge that breathtaking over-reach immediately either in court or their own legislatures, because if the court can tell a majority of the states it can’t determine its own policy on this matter than essentially any attempt at state sovereignty on any issue is null and void from the outset (Second Amendment, anyone?). It would also touch off a movement to protect religious freedom in each of those states as well (and thus another Constitutional fight).
That’s why when it’s all said and done I suspect the majority will write an opinion very sympathetic to homosexuality in general – perhaps even urging for federal legislation like ENDA to be passed – but in favor of upholding Prop 8 nonetheless. Look for the court to say such emotional issues should be decided by the political process so the people’s voice can be heard and not imposed outside of it by judges, similar to what a federal court in Hawaii recently said. I also predict it will be none other than Roberts himself, who will author that majority opinion.
1. John Boehner will be ousted as House Speaker
I don’t think there’s enough courage within the Republican caucus to find 16 members willing to vote “present” in January, thus denying Boehner the Speaker’s gavel right away. But by the end of the year the frustration with his lackluster leadership will be overwhelming, and Republicans concerned about another 2014 bloody primary season, similar to 2010 and 2012, will respond to the demands of conservative leaders who have grown tired of being sold out by the GOP.