News Analysis

News: Predictions


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The Year Ahead: Predictions for 2003. (National Review Online, 021227)

NRO’S Crystal Ball: Predicting 2004 (NRO, 031230)

Outlook 2004: How things change (NRO, 031230)

War, Shuttle Disaster Top 2003’s Big Stories (FN, 031231)





The Year Ahead: Predictions for 2003. (National Review Online, 021227)


An NRO Symposium


NRO asked some familiar daring faces to make predictions about the new year. Read their brave predictions, and don’t forget to check back later in the year to see who was most right…and wrong!


David Frum

I won’t impress any NRO readers by predicting that the U.S. will take military action in Iraq in 2003 or that such action will be swiftly successful. So let me try some more audacious ones. We will see none of the threatened consequences of the war — the price of oil won’t spike, the Arab street won’t rise, and anti-American sentiment in the Middle East won’t be inflamed. Instead, Americans and liberated Iraqis working together will stun the world by bringing the nation’s sabotaged oilfields rapidly back into production. By year-end, the price of a barrel of oil will fall below $20 — good news for the stock market, bad news for the House of Saud. Expect that House to reorient itself in a pro-Western direction with dazzling speed. “Gee it turns out we do have all kinds of interesting intelligence information — here please help yourselves. Did we call you sons of pigs and apes? We meant generous, forgiving sons of pigs and apes.” By summer, though, that “At War” logo is going to have to come off NRO — because Iranian revolution or no Iranian revolution, from then on, all you are going to hear from the Bush administration will be domestic, domestic, domestic policy.


— David Frum writes a daily weblog on NRO. His book, The Right Man, on President Bush and the war on terror, will be published in January.


Jonah Goldberg

The U.S. leads a mighty coalition and Saddam is toppled, but not before he attempts to use chemical weapons on his own soil. European and American antiwar activists will ignore overwhelming proof of Saddam’s reign of terror. When the action finally becomes an unambiguous success, Senate Democrats will claim they supported it wholeheartedly all along. When the French take over the occupation, The Nation will suddenly realize it was all worthwhile.


Bolstered by America’s victory in Iraq, Iranian reformers will succeed in toppling their own government. The New York Times will declare that the Iranian example proves war was unnecessary in Iraq as well.


People will look back on 2002 as Bill O’Reilly’s last good year.


There will be major Howard Dean boomlet next summer. It will die out the moment people think it’s remotely possible the Vermont governor might actually become president.


“What is: Nachman and Donahue?” Will be the winning response for the $500 Jeopardy category “Reasons MSNBC is a Nature Channel Now.”


California will make national newsmagazines as the disaster that could have been averted. Gray Davis will become a laughingstock of such monumental proportions, his unpopularity will do more to make the state competitive for Republicans than George Bush’s 712 visits.


Delaware stays out of the headlines again.


The Corner becomes a full-time vertical banner ad.


Martin Scorsese will win the Best Director Oscar® because Gangs of New York will be considered just good enough to warrant giving him the classic long-over-looked-director Oscar®.


The Sipowicz-as-Job theme of NYPD Blue will break new ground when Dennis Franz’s lower body is actually consumed by rabid dogs. His recovery will not only be uplifting but Emmy®-winning as well, because he will befriend his gay African-American physical therapist, eventually forming a new crime-fighting team a la the new series Monk.


There will be a major reevaluation of the Giuliani legacy as New York City goes into a fiscal death spiral.


Osama bin Laden’s death will be confirmed.


Michael Jackson will permanently leave the United States to avoid criminal prosecution, earning him the nickname “Skinny Arbuckle.”


I will write a book.


— Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online.


Victor Davis Hanson

Revelations in a post-Hussein Iraq of Saddam’s frightening weapons, torture, and mass murder will shock even realists.


After some frightening events, we will liberate Iraq as unlikely would-be allies join in on the war against terror.


Parts of bin Laden’s corpse will turn up.


The anthrax attacks will be positively linked to Iraq and al Qaeda.


— Victor Davis Hanson is a contributing editor of NRO and author of An Autumn of War.


Hugh Hewitt

There will be two retirements from the U.S. Supreme Court in 2003: Chief Justice Rehnquist and Justice O’Connor. The president will nominate Justice Scalia to replace the retiring chief, and will nominate California Supreme Court Justice Janice Brown and recently confirmed judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit Miguel Estrada to the two vacancies. Both will be confirmed by comfortable margins.


Orange County California Sheriff Mike Carona will declare his candidacy for the U.S. Senate seat held by Barbara Boxer.


Fox News Channel will continue to rise in the ratings, and the first half-hour of Special Report will be carried in prime time on the Fox Network as an evening newscast that will quickly pass the CBS Evening News with Dan Rather in total audience, forcing Rather into early retirement. MSNBC will discover that Jesse Ventura was a much better governor than he is a talk-show host. Nachman will move into primetime, and Buchanan and Press into the late night.


The Bush administration will unveil a health-insurance initiative aimed at low and middle-income Americans not presently eligible for group insurance at their place of employment. The model will be the Federal Employees Health Benefit Program (“FEHB”), and insurance companies that wish to be eligible to participate in the FEHB will be obliged to offer coverage to the uninsured targeted by the initiative.


— Hugh Hewitt is a radio talk show host. The Hugh Hewitt Show can be heard daily at


Michael Ledeen

There will be an internal crisis in China, as the government fails to deal effectively with its enormous problems: AIDS, 150 million nomads, growing demands for more political and religious freedom, a flat-to-shrinking economy, and increasing activity from Islamic and other separatists in the west and north.


Blair will call for a referendum on the Euro, and the English will reject it.


Trent Lott will resign from the Senate and become the head coach of the Washington Redskins.


— Michael Ledeen is a contributing editor of NRO and author of The War Against the Terror Masters.


John J. Miller

There will be no major terrorist incidents in the United States, but not because the terrorists aren’t trying.


Osama bin Laden will remain at large; if Democrats choose to make an issue of this, it will become a political problem for the Bush administration.


We will hear more about mistakes made at Tora Bora.


Saddam Hussein will lose control of his country — he will either be killed or removed from power.


The Red Wings will win another Stanley Cup.


— John J. Miller is national political reporter for National Review.


Joshua Muravchik

The ouster of Saddam Hussein will set off tremors that will help to topple other tyrannies including the mullahs of Iran and Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, and perhaps also Burma’s junta.


Upon the surrender of Saddam’s regime, France will offer to contribute military forces to the coalition against him in form of a team of French generals to oversee the U.S. occupation.


Two new drama series will top Egypt’s equivalent of the Nielson ratings: one called Schicklgruber, the other Torquemada. In the face of some raised eyebrows in the West, Egyptian government spokesman will say that the latter program in particular demonstrates Egypt’s commitment to interfaith understanding: “Torquemada is a Christian we can identify with.”


In furtherance of Secretary Powell’s campaign to “rebrand America” to make it more appealing to Muslims, Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy Charlotte Beers will begin wearing a head scarf to the office. Powell will encourage other female employees at State to do likewise. “This will show how much we respect Islam, and, inshallah, they will start to like us and stop bombing us,” the secretary will declare. Powell will also recruit Jimmy Carter, a Nobel Laureate and the country’s most fervently self-avowed Christian among former presidents, to make a high-profile speech in Mecca or Medina apologizing for the Crusades. This will be complemented by a snappy ad campaign that will include such things as signs in Indonesian textile plants, saying “Make jeans, not jihad.”


Stephen Spielberg will visit Pyongyang and announce that his eight-hour private dinner with Kim Jong Il — complete with many dancing girls, and several cases of rare French vintages — was the most spiritually meaningful experience of his life. On hearing this, Barbra Streisand will at once book a flight to the North Korean capital but will discover that the guest services are woefully inadequate, demonstrating the need — so she will explain in a subsequent letter to her PAC list — for a sharp increase in U.S. aid to the impoverished nation.


Some individuals from Georgia, denying any connection to the former president, will begin to bruit the idea that Jimmy Carter be awarded the 2003 Lenin Peace Prize in overdue recognition of his negotiation of the 1994 accords to end North Korea’s nuclear program. When he is told that the state that sponsored that award no longer exists, Carter will declaim that this has changed his opinion of the Russians more drastically than anything since the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.


The Dallas Mavs will beat the Indiana Pacers in seven games to claim the NBA championship. Seven three-pointers by Reggie in the final will not be enough to overcome the world’s most-meaningful multicultural enterprise.


Yasser Arafat will renounce terrorism, as he has done every year since 1985.


— Joshua Muravchik is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. His most recent book is Heaven on Earth: The Rise and Fall of Socialism.


Kate O’Beirne

Okay, so I was a little off last year. I mistakenly predicted that Bill and Hillary would separate, but I got my crime families mixed up. Tony and Carmela have called it quits. The rest of my crystal-ball gazing held up well enough to tempt me to be a little more creative this time.


On the political front: It is already pretty clear that Gov. Howard Dean will be the media’s pet in the Democratic field next year. His support for both guns and gays allows for some creative coalition-building. His battle cry, Armed Gays! should carry him through the early primaries. Less predictable is retired General Wesley Clark’s “all New Hampshire” nomination bid. Another Rhodes scholar from Arkansas will try to spin a Granite State loss into a win, this time because he finished in sight of Senator John Kerry.


In the states: Haley Barbour will be elected governor of Mississippi and can appoint a successor to Trent Lott who has grown weary of serving on the back benches. Colorado Governor Bill Owens will win attention in his top spot at the RGA that creates CW that he’s a talented politician with a national future. (Maybe I should save this last one for a Valentine’s Day roundup?)


Elsewhere: Once Saddam Hussein is toppled, there will be regime change in Saudi Arabia. Iran too. And, Arafat will be ousted.


Rich Lowry’s book on Bill Clinton hits the bestseller lists. Really. John Kerry’s doesn’t.


Finally, a special six-week version of The Bachelor will feature Strom Thurmond choosing among young lovelies angling for him to pop the question. After a series of biracial double dates with the Lotts, at the dramatic conclusion, Thurmond finally asks. . . “Where am I?”


— Kate O’Beirne is National Review’s Washington editor.


Russ Smith

The New York Times will be shut out in the fraudulent Pulitzer Prizes next spring. This will be Howell Raines’s punishment for Newt Gingrich-like hubris.


Sen. John Edwards will drop out of the presidential race by October of ‘03, deciding instead to run for reelection in North Carolina (no gimme) and hold his powder for 2008.


The still-exploding number of non-institutional website blogs will slow down considerably by next summer. There are too many already and just a few will survive, those who hook up with other media, like Mickey Kaus’s arrangement with Slate.


The inevitable dark-horse candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination will be Sen. Russell Feingold and the media will slobber over him almost as fervently as John McCain.


— Russ Smith is editor-in-chief of New York Press.


Mark Steyn

Osama bin Laden will continue to be dead, no matter what U.S. government “experts” insist.


The “brutal Afghan winter,” already 15 months late, will skip another year. The “searing 11-month Iraqi summer,” though apparently far more meteorologically formidable, will by year’s end have proved just as illusory.


A Democrat will figure out a politically viable way of hammering the president on the war, but John Kerry’s campaign will be as dead as Osama by year’s end. (He may hang around for Iowa and New Hampshire, but they’ll be mere formal confirmation.)


Yasser Arafat will lose political power and be either retained only as a figurehead or living in exile.


There will be a need for mass smallpox vaccinations somewhere in the world in the next 12 months.


Liza and David will stay married.


— Mark Steyn is a columnist for Britain’s Daily Telegraph and Canada’s National Post. His website is A collection of some of his post-9/11 columns, The Face of the Tiger has just been released and can be ordered here.




NRO’S Crystal Ball: Predicting 2004 (NRO, 031230)


An NRO Symposium


EDITOR’S NOTE: It has become an annual ritual at NRO: We find brave men and women (some repeatedly sacrifice themselves!) who are willing to go on record trying to predict the future. Herein, predictions for 2004.


Rick Brookhiser

Bush wins reelection with 53 percent of the vote. Dean carries New England, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Illinois, Minnesota, Iowa, Washington, Oregon, Hawaii, the District, and two out of four of California, Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. Does that still make GWB president? I think so. His running mate will be someone not now running for president, and not Mrs. Clinton. Bush’s second term will be awful (all have been, except Monroe’s).


There is some terrorist activity in mainland United States, not as grave as 9/11.


Britney Spears, her career flagging, appears buck-naked in some public venue.


Philip Roth wins the Nobel Prize for literature.


John Paul II’s successor is an Italian church bureaucrat.


There is no Anglican schism about any matter of principle.


Return of the King is nominated for Best Picture, but does not win.


Rick Brookhiser is a National Review senior editor and author, most recently, of Gentleman Revolutionary: Gouverneur Morris, the Rake Who Wrote the Constitution.


Jonah Goldberg

“Liberal talk radio” is finally rolled out, getting a huge, free media blitz from the likes of Katie Couric. Marquee stars turnout in force to promote the effort, including regular guest appearances on various shows by the cast of West Wing, Alec Baldwin, and Barbara Streisand. This massive and expensive effort loses money hand over fist and while it does not officially die — in large part because the presidential election gives it an artificial popularity — it is a clear business flop. Matt Drudge reports its quarterly losses, prompting even more calls that he’s an “enemy of democracy.”


There is a major exodus from the Bush administration as numerous Cabinet members depart — largely to see if the public knew they were still alive.


Thanks in part to his surprising success as drug czar — and in part due to the fact that al Qaeda is becoming a drug gang — John Walters successfully lobbies the White House to make drug interdiction a priority in the war on terrorism.


In the wake of the John “F-ing” Kerry and Wesley Clark profanity controversies, the rest of the Democrats join in, dropping the F-bomb and other curse words on every Democratic audience. Replacing such innocuous phrases as Bill Clinton’s promise to “focus like a laser” on the economy or Jerry Ford’s “Whip Inflation Now,” Dennis Kucinich promises to make the economy “his bitch.” Dick Gephardt works crowds up into a frenzy with a call-and-response playing on the verb form of his first name. At a Teamsters meeting in Michigan, Howard Dean is tackled by his campaign manager, Joe Trippi, before the candidate can finish the sentence “I will rip out the eyes of unemployment and skull f....” When George W. Bush suggests that such language is inappropriate in a mature democracy, Terry McAuliffe accuses John Ashcroft of favoring censorship.


NBC changes its name to Dateline: Law & Order when the two franchises finally make up more than 50 percent of all the network’s programming.


Porn magazines start to go out of business in droves, including some famous ones, as it becomes clear that the Internet is where the action is.


Howard Dean scores huge points with the Democratic base when he accuses the White House of colluding with the Saudis to prevent the building of a bike path all around America.


Madonna rescinds her funding for Kabbalah studies when a rabbi finally explains that the Kabbalah requires that the fading pop star be stoned to death.


Bill Clinton is caught saying something disparaging about Howard Dean or Al Gore — or both — “by accident” as a way to signal his displeasure at the Dean boomlet without “officially” interfering in the race.


George W. Bush wins reelection with 53 percent of the vote.


All of my predictions from 2003 which Providence in its wisdom has not seen fit to fully realize, come true in 2004.


Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of NRO.


Hugh Hewitt

Howard Dean wins the Democratic nomination easily. He selects Evan Bayh as his running mate. President Bush wins in a landslide, losing only Vermont, Indiana, Maryland, New York, and the District of Columbia.


The Bush-Cheney ticket carries a majority of the Catholic vote, the Jewish vote, and 45 percent of the Latino vote. Howard Dean carries less than 35 percent of the Anglo male vote.


The GOP picks up a net six Senate seats. On the day after the election, Senator Patrick Leahy states that this is not a referendum on his corruption of the judicial nomination process.


Bill Clinton stars at the farewell dinner for Terry MacAuliffe, and proclaims him the greatest chair the DNC has ever had.


Republican candidates for the state assembly and senate in California make significant campaigns after Arnold campaigns on the platform of “send me some rational people to work with.”


Biotech stocks lead a NASDAQ rally to 2500. The Dow reaches 12,000 by Election Day.


Syria undergoes regime change.


Return of the King wins Best Picture.


The Evangelical Outpost and Powerline become the must-read blogs of ‘04. James Lileks’s new tome makes the New York Times best-seller list. Rick Warren sells the ten-millionth copy of a Purpose Driven Life, even though it remains unreviewed by most major newspapers.


Cleveland becomes the sports capitol of the U.S. as the Indians and Browns compete for championships and the Cavs emerge in the fall of 2004 as the team to beat in 2005.


Hugh Hewitt is a nationally syndicated radio talk-show host and author, most recently, of In, But Not Of: A Guide to Christian Ambition.


Kathryn Jean Lopez

Hillary Clinton wins...her second grammy (for Living History).


Al Sharpton demands a recount.


Fox News hires political and cultural commentator Pamela Anderson (seriously: She already has a column in Jane magazine).


Jonah Goldberg will meet a deadline.


Kathryn Jean Lopez is the editor of NRO.


Clifford D. May

Some exceedingly unlikely predictions for 2004:


Just prior to the Iowa caucuses, Howard Dean speculates that “the most interesting theory” he has heard lately is that Osama bin Laden is hiding in “the tribal territories of Texas” where, he tells Maureen Dowd, “this phony war was manufactured in the first place.”


Asked to comment, Madeleine Albright tells Morton Kondracke: “We’ve seen no evidence that would rule that out.”


Senator Fred Thompson moves from Law & Order to a new program, Chesapeake Baywatch, playing a lawyer-turned-actor-turned-politician-turned-actor-turned lifeguard.


NBC launches a new crime show, Law & Order: SUV. In each episode, Republicans driving Sports Utility Vehicles are arrested and sent to the slammer where they belong. The series is Michael Moore’s television producing debut.


Chris Matthews enters the Guinness Book of World Records by conducting the first interview in history comprised entirely of questions, no answers.


Barbara Walters conducts first postwar interview with Saddam Hussein. Asks: “Mr. President, if I may still call you that, if you were a Weapon of Mass Destruction, what kind of Weapon of Mass Destruction would you be?”


Dan Rather conducts second postwar interview with Saddam Hussein. Asks: “Mr. President, you’re being very patient with your time, and I want you to know I consider this a solemn moment in history, and, if I may, take time to have you speak to the American people about questions that I know are on their minds. I want you to know that I appreciate your patience here, and what I think we all want to know is: How are you doing really? Are you being treated well? Do you feel victimized by this process? What would you like to say to the American people? I apologize to the president for the candid and direct nature of my questions but I think it’s necessary to get right to the heart of the matter.”


Shocking photos of Howard Dean and Ann Coulter appear on the Internet. The Dean campaign calls it “a dirty trick.”


Bill Clinton endorses Dean.


Dean wins early caucuses and primaries in a landslide.


Dean chooses Wesley Clark as running mate. Floats trial balloons of Dean Cabinet-in-waiting: Al Gore at State, George Soros at Treasury, Rob Reiner at Defense.


Still stuck in third place behind CNN and Fox, MSNBC re-brands itself for 212th time, trotting out the slogan: “America’s Fashion News Channel.” Paris Hilton gets prime-time show: “Paris, Washington.”


MSNBC bumps Hardball to 3 in the afternoon.


Dean fires DNC Chairman Terry McAuliffe, taps Barbra Streisand who causes a controversy by insisting key staff move to DNC’s Beverly Hills office. “A party running against Washington,” she says, “should not be based in Washington.”


Alan Colmes admits he’s a conservative. “Getting beaten by Sean every night has been my way of contributing to the movement,” he says. Adds that he’s hoping Ann Coulter finds him attractive. “Did you see those Internet photos of her with Howard Dean?” he asks. “Wowie zowie.”


In an attempt to soften his image, John Ashcroft makes a surprise appearance on Saturday Night Live. He announces: “We have a great show for you tonight — with special musical guest — Al Sharpton! Give it up for Al!


In an attempt to broaden President Bush’s support, Karl Rove books him for a special edition of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. Bush declares: “Marriage should be only between a man and a woman. But good grooming is for everyone.”


In an attempt to demonstrate that Saudi Arabia is genuinely on the path to reform, Abdel al-Jubeir tells Tina Brown: “Actually, my name used to spelled al-Jewbear. But I honestly didn’t know that till I was 19. Hey, I’m proud of my heritage. In fact I’ve had long talks about this with Madeleine Albright, Hillary Clinton, Wesley Clark, and John Kerry. And I’ve been invited to spend Passover with Joe and Hadassah.”


French Prime Minister Jacques Chirac, having banned Muslim headscarves and Jewish skullcaps, proves he is evenhanded by also banning a secular French symbol: Hermes scarves


Dean is defeated in a landslide.


Alec Baldwin moves to Brussels.


Dean threatens to emigrate, too. “Frankly,” he says, “I’m seriously thinking of moving to the Soviet Union.”


Al Gore becomes late-night radio-talk-show host. Stock price of Ambien sinks.


MSNBC bumps Hardball to 3 in the morning.


John Kerry joins the cast of Chesapeake Baywatch. Tells Rolling Stone: “Polls, shmolls. We’ll let the American people judge who looks better in a f***ing Speedo, Fred or me.”


Hillary Clinton becomes de facto Democratic-party leader. In a surprise move, asks Streisand to stay on at DNC. Photos of their kiss make a big slash on the front page of the New York Post.


John Hinckley attempts to impress Paris Hilton.


Jayson Blair gets exclusive interview with bin Laden. Dateline: Crawford, Texas.


Clifford D. May is president of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies and an NRO contributor.


Kate O’Beirne

President Bush comfortably carries the women’s vote (having lost it to Al Gore by 54 to 43 in 2000; Bush did narrowly win the majority of married women). The majority of women voters decide they like and trust George Bush and conclude that he’s determined to do everything possible to keep them safe from the terrorism threat. Democrats flat out can’t win without wooing women.


Bush wins an absolute majority — the last time a presidential candidate pulled this off was 1988.


Bush’s success is despite the fact that the Democrats nominate a moderate. (Dennis Kucinich could win the nomination by acclamation in Boston and the media would call him a “moderate.”)


The story line from the 2004 Olympic competitions is the security problems that plague the Greek hosts.


The U.S. looks for opportunities to cozy up to the Germans and isolate the French. John Miller’s book on Our Oldest Enemy provides the historical case on why France so richly deserves our animosity.


Osama is “brought to justice.” Most likely it’s a change from MIA to KIA.


Michael Jackson beats the rap — rich white guys always do.


Hillary does not run in 2004. Democrats look elsewhere for comfort and support — just like Bill.


Kate O’Beirne is NR’s Washington editor.


Peter Robinson

In 2004 at least two justices of the Supreme Court retire at last, and thank God. In 2005 Antonin Scalia, now chief justice, fails to produce a single dissent that the press characterizes as “stinging” or “caustic,” instead producing majority opinions that the press doesn’t know how to characterize — but that readers of NRO instantly recognize as majestic.


Peter Robinson, research fellow at the Hoover Institution and host of Uncommon Knowledge on PBS, is author, most recently, of How Ronald Reagan Changed My Life.


Andrew Stuttaford

This is a sentence that’s destined to come back and haunt me, but I suspect that, absent some major catastrophe, 2004 will be a year when not much will seem to have changed. The war on terror will continue and so will the terrorists’ war on us, matters in Iraq will improve somewhat (although staging Saddam’s trial will prove more awkward than many now think) but American troops will still be there at year-end — and they will still be under fire. Elsewhere in the Middle East, the Saudi regime will persevere in its half-hearted efforts at “reform” amid ever-increasing signs that it is doing far too little, much too late. The Israeli/Palestinian impasse will drag on, bloody, toxic and ever more ominous. Bin Laden will not be found, but Mullah Omar just may be. Best hopes for a positive surprise: Iran and, thinking of recent developments in Libya, maybe even Syria.


In Europe, the EU’s draft “constitution” will refuse to die despite repeated attempts to kill it off. Buffy will be brought in to put a stake through its heart. She will fail. Jacques Chirac will still be in office, still annoying, still obstructive and still wondering why it is that his presidency has turned into such a disaster. And yes, Dominique de Villepin will still be at his side telling his master that it has all been a tremendous success. Tony Blair will hang on to his job, although not without a few nervous moments (most of them fomented by his Brutus, Gordon Brown, the chancellor of the exchequer), and the Tories, reinvigorated under Michael Howard, will, at last, start to cause him some real problems. Schroeder will still be chancellor in Germany, bailed out by a slowly strengthening economy, and Putin will be reelected in Russia, helped out by a slowly weakening democracy.


Back in the USA, Howard Dean will win the nomination, but lose his temper frequently and the election, once. Hillary Clinton will feel his pain — with enthusiasm. The GOP will, just, cling on to the House and the Senate. On a more serious note, Dr. Pepper will continue to be drunk and Paris Hilton will still be famous, in both cases for reasons that escape me. Happy New Year!


Andrew Stuttaford is an NRO contributor.





Outlook 2004: How things change (NRO, 031230)






Victims of Lawsuit Abuse

Cigarette Makers

Fast Food Restaurants

All you can eat buffet providers

Health Hazard

E. coli


Type 2 Diabetes

Beauty Fixes

Botox in a Bottle

Mainstream Men’s Products

Pet Pampering

TV is...




Post- College Life

Big City or Bust

Renting from the ‘Rents

Success in the Small City

Style Symbols

Zodiac Signs

Monogram Mania

Oversized Accessories

Reality TV

Reality Dating

Reality Newlyweds

Reality Campaigning

The Next “It” Demographic

Hispanic Voters



Target Women Voters

Soccer Moms

SUV Moms


Food Fetishes




War Mantras

Send in the troops?

All systems go.

Mission Complete.

Sports Scandals

Steroid Raging

Center Court(room) Action

Outrageous Endorsements

Wesley Clark

Clark for War

Clark Against War

Clark in a War

Surprise Teams

Anaheim Angles

Florida Marlins

Philadelphia Eagles

Home Décor

French Country/Minimalist Kitchen

Chrome/Bathroom Bonanza

Something Old/New/Borrowed/Blue


— Kellyanne Conway is president and CEO of the polling company, inc./WomanTrend.




War, Shuttle Disaster Top 2003’s Big Stories (FN, 031231)


The “major combat” phase was over in six weeks, but the war in Iraq — from its tumultuous prelude to a still-active underground enemy — was in the global spotlight throughout the year.


By an overwhelming margin, the U.S.-led invasion and occupation was voted the top story of 2003 in The Associated Press’ annual survey of American editors and news directors. Even with voting ending the day before Saddam Hussein’s capture, the Iraq story received first-place votes from 280 of the 287 AP newspaper and broadcast members who cast ballots.


The clear runner-up, with five first-place votes and most of the second-place votes, was the Columbia space shuttle disaster, the explosion that killed seven astronauts during their descent on Feb. 1.


It marked the second straight year that Iraq was judged the dominant story — the threat of war and demands for disarmament directed at Saddam ranked No. 1 in the poll for 2002.


Here are 2003’s top 10 stories, as voted by AP members:


1. WAR IN IRAQ: After months of ultimatums and military buildup, President Bush announced the start of the war against Iraq on March 19. U.S. and British forces quickly seized huge swaths of territory, and by April 7 much of Baghdad was overtaken. Bush declared major combat over on May 1, but shadowy insurgents killed more than 200 coalition soldiers in the often difficult occupation that followed. Saddam was captured Dec. 13.


2. COLUMBIA DISASTER: The shuttle crew’s 16-day research mission ended 16 minutes short of touchdown on Feb. 1 when the Columbia disintegrated into fiery debris over Texas. Investigators later said the cause was a chunk of foam insulation that broke off the fuel tank and pierced the left wing on launch day.


3. CALIFORNIA RECALL: Initially, it seemed a long shot perhaps suited to a Hollywood script. But Californians defied expectations by signing enough petitions to set up an attempt to recall unpopular Democratic Gov. Gray Davis, then — after a unique, 135-candidate race — ousted Davis on Oct. 7 and replaced him with Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Austrian-born body builder turned action film star.


4. SARS: The first unsettling reports emerged from Asia in February of a new, unnamed disease. Within a few weeks, SARS was a household name.


Cases of severe acute respiratory syndrome spread to more than 25 countries in North America, South America, Europe and Asia. About 8,000 people were infected; roughly 780 died, though health experts generally were pleased with efforts to control the outbreak.


5. NORTHEAST BLACKOUT: A computer malfunctioned at an Ohio utility on Aug. 14, and North America’s worst-ever blackout swiftly spread through eight states and part of Canada. Millions of people lost power, including all of New York City, Cleveland and Detroit.


6. IMPROVING ECONOMY: After a couple of trying years, the U.S. economy showed signs of revival — the Dow Jones industrials closed above 10,000 for the first time in 18 months; the third-quarter growth rate was 8.2 percent, the best performance in 19 years. But there was little headway in restoring more than 2 million lost manufacturing jobs, and projections of a record federal deficit kept rising through the year, to $500 billion.


7. CALIFORNIA WILDFIRES: Raging wildfires across much of southern California killed 22 people, scorched nearly 1 million acres and destroyed 4,800 homes and other buildings in October and early November — the most damaging wave of fires in state history.


8. BUSH TAX CUT: In May, Congress handed Bush a major victory by approving $330 billion in tax cuts through 2013 — the thirdlargest tax cut in history. The measure passed by only one vote in the Senate, after Republican leaders prodded some of their hesitant colleagues.


9. ELIZABETH SMART: Nine months after she was abducted from her bedroom in Salt Lake City, 15-year-old Elizabeth Smart was found in March in a nearby suburb in the company of a homeless couple who now face kidnapping and sexual assault charges. By autumn, Elizabeth was back in school, and the subject of a made-for-TV movie.


10. DEMOCRATIC CAMPAIGN: The field grew steadily to 10, then dropped back to nine, but it was the man leading in the polls — former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean — who became the focal point of the race for the Democratic presidential nomination. He won the endorsement of former Vice President Al Gore and become the target of choice for his Democratic rivals in debates and increasingly barbed TV ads.