1. Obama Care will be declared unconstitutional.
2. The economy will continue to sputter with average GDP growth at 1.5%-2%, far short of the requirements for a recovery and far short of initial administration budget projections. There will be continual downward ‘revisions’ of GDP performance on a quarterly basis. What growth there is will be eaten by inflation in the second half of the year.
3. Fast and Furious will blow up completely taking Attorney General Holder with it. It’s always the cover up! This will lead to reviews of other Justice Department policies; each will cast more and more doubt on the ‘fairness’ of administration policy.
4. Romney will be the nominee for the Republicans. Iowa, 2nd at worse, wins in N.H. and Florida. Romney will defeat President Obama, narrowly in the popular vote (1%-2%) more significantly in the Electoral College.
5. Romney’s VP will be either, Bob McDonald Governor of Virginia, or Rob Portman, Senator from Ohio. McDonald is capable of delivering the Conservative message with a smile and a non threatening manner; he solidifies both right and the independent center. Portman is solid economically. Ohio will be important in the general election.
6. Cabinet wise, look for John Bolton at State, David Petraeus at Defense. Also look for Bush administration folks to reenter the Romney administration in some capacity: Michael Murkasy and Michael Hayden being likely candidates.
7. Republicans will control both houses of Congress; main stream Republicans will battle with Conservatives. The Congressional politics of 2013 and 2014 will be headlined by this philosophical power struggle on the right. Democrats will fight for attention.
8. There will be noise about Hillary as VP; however, she sees the potential for an Obama loss. She either does not want to play or realizes that even should Obama lose, she will be credited with a ‘smaller loss’; win, win for her in some ways. Should Obama win, could a re-elected Obama live with a VP that will be generally credited with keeping him in office? There were reports that had Michelle Obama killing the idea of Hillary as VP last time around! Is Obama willing to piss off Michelle?
9. Portions of the Democratic Party see Obama as frightening and dangerous. They see the Party cast into the wilderness based on ongoing control by hard left Progressive elements. They want Hillary but will settle for a Republican win if that’s what it takes to force the party to turn back toward the middle. They will do their best to undermine Obama without being tainted by the effort.
10. Unemployment numbers will fluctuate above 8%; the manner in which they are formulated will come under intense scrutiny and eventually border on scandal. The White House WILL attempt to influence the, hypothetically, independent agency to report the ‘best possible numbers’.
11. Debt will continue to rise and there will be a series of confrontations over the issue. Democrats emboldened by the tax cut victory will overreach, providing Republicans with an issue they need in 2012.
12. Inflation will accelerate. It will be a ‘surprise’ as these things always seem to be, it will happen fairly quickly.
13. Israel and Hiz’bAllah will re-engage militarily. The Israeli’s will not pull punches this time and will look for the opportunity to decimate Hiz’bAllah. A potential strike against Iran bears more weight if the ability of Hiz’bAllah to strike Israel is put in doubt or mitigated. Missile stockpiles, infrastructure in Southern Lebanon and leadership will be primary Israeli targets.
14. Iran, feeling a genuine threat, especially to their central bank, will call for ‘talks’. The history of the last eight years tells Iran that the West will rush to those talks and the ‘talks’ will forestall further sanctions or military action, thus buying more time. In the meantime confrontational actions by Iran will continue but will stop short of motivating a genuine direct confrontation. Genuine confrontation will be handled by surrogates: Hiz’bAllah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad being in the forefront. Rhetoric will continue unabated. Iran will continue to write threat checks that they can’t cover.
15. With or without a central bank sanction, Iran will also face growing resistance from within. Inflation is high, food prices rising dramatically as is the cost of energy, as they continue to remove government price subsidies from staple goods.
16. Iran will also see more internal violence from resistance groups aimed at military and nuclear facilities. These groups are well organized and capable of effective Guerrilla style actions. More things will go BOOM in Iran this year.
17. Iran will, finally, be confronted in a tangible fashion; American electoral politics will provide the motivation. Obama will, to initial appearances, finally find a spine over Iran and look for a strong stance to solidify his electoral prospects. Yes, a wag the dog scenario could be in place, however, Iran must be confronted even if, for the wrong reasons.
18. The ‘Arab Spring’ will result in more totalitarianism in the Middle East and North Africa. Islamists will come to power by the ballot; the one man, one vote, one time. Salafists will declare protest to be un-Islamic and brutally put down movements and pressures toward anything vaguely resembling true Democratic institutions. By the prevailing interpretations of Islam, this will be viewed as consistent to Islamic theocracy. Egyptians will go to the streets, they will, in large numbers, die there.
19. Repression of minorities, especially religious minorities in the Middle East will reach genocidal levels.
20. Saudi Arabia will be busy in the coming year. They will work to establish some degree of balance in Iraq relative to Iran; short of a strike on Iran by the West they will fail. They will quietly make a deal with Israel in regards to a potential strike against Iran. The Saudi royal family will continue to buy off domestic dissent but it will get horribly expensive in 2012, as the cost of buy outs always do. The will also have to fight off concerns that their oil reserves are nowhere near what they are believed to be.
21. Saudi Arabia will not develop a nuclear program in response to Iran; they’ll buy one from Pakistan. Saudi Arabia supported the Khan network’s nuclear development in Pakistan back in the day. The payment for the piper may come sooner rather than later.
22. Assad in Syria will be brought down. It will become, in essence, a civil war. Assad will lose control of key military elements and Syria, as has Egypt and Libya, will move toward Islamist control. ‘Palestinians’ in Syria will play a major role in the end game politics of removing Assad.
23. The E.U. will continue to disintegrate as a confederation. Income redistribution writ large will be resisted. Eastern Europe will lead that resistance, with tacit support from Germany. The currency and bailouts will be the centerpiece of the decline. Reevaluation of American military commitments in Europe will also force Europe to consider the impact of funding their own defense and the cuts necessary to make that happen. The European version of conservative candidates will see electoral success.
24. Russia will push the West hard during the American election year. The West will do little to push back. Internally Russians will push back against Putin, fail and crawl back into their vodka bottles.