Monday, December 31, 2012

grading my 2012 predictions

it's the last day of 2012. so, as is the tradition here, it's time to review the predictions i made at the beginning of the year. how much of a dumbass was i back then? let's review:

1. the republican party nomination fight will end no later than the day after "super tuesday" (super tuesday being march 6th, i mean march 7th)

wrong. the circus continued well into may 2012. as crazy as that primary season was, i really thought that eventually the powers-that-be in the republican party would step in and make everyone line up behind their candidate. i guess the party was even more disfunctional than i thought.

2. mitt romney will be the republican presidential candidate.

right. of course, he was the favorite all along. he had everything going for him, except for the fact that rank-and-file republicans mostly hated him. (until it was him or barack hussain obama, then they suddenly loved him right up until he failed them and they went back to hating him again.)

3. mitt not pick anyone currently running for president as his running mate.

right. of course, if i had any real guts i would have tried to guess who specifically the running mate would be.

4. president obama will be reelected as president of the u.s.

right. but then, most people who weren't reading skewed polls thought he would.

5. the democrats will retake the house of representatives, but will lose the senate.

wrong. i got it completely reverse. the republicans kept the house and the democrats kept the senate.

6. the individual mandate in the affordable care act will be upheld by the supreme court.

right. luckily, i didn't get specific and predict they would uphold it under the commerce power.

7. field marshal tantawi will no longer be in charge of egypt by the end of the year.

right. all hail president morsi.

8. tunisia will be the only country that changed government as part of the "arab spring" in 2011 that will not have any more widespread protests or civil-war style violence in 2012.

i'm going to call this one right. there have been widespread protests in egypt and serious violence and protests in libya (whether the libyan protests were enough to be called "widespread" or whether the violence there was "civil-war style" might be debatable. there were also protests in tunisia, but i'm going to say they do not count as "widespread." so i'm still going to give this one to me)

9. syria will descend into a civil war in 2012. by the end of the year, the conflict will not be over but assad will still be in charge of at least part of the country.

right. assad is still there and the conflict continues.

10. putin will return to the presidency of russia in 2012, as the current protests will not develop into a serious threat to his election prospects.

right. the only clear fallout from the protests movement of one year ago was the pussy riot trial. other than that, they didn't seem to have much of a lasting effect, though i could be wrong on that. but they certainly did not prevent putin from stepping back into the presidency.

11. at least one country will leave the euro zone in 2012, but the euro will still exist by the end of 2012.

wrong. i could count this one as only half wrong. after all, the euro does still exist. but that second half only makes sense as a prediction if countries were exiting the common currency. because no one exited this year, i'm going to count the whole thing as wrong.

12. scott walker will be recalled as governor of wisconsin.


13. the occupy movement will pop up now and then with occasional protests and occupations during 2012. however the media will not treat it as a segment of the electorate as it has the tea party, and the occupy movement will not be credited with anything that happens or doesn't happen in the 2012 election.

i'm going to count this one as right even though you could argue that it hasn't even "pop[ped] up now and then" in the past year. (in fact, it has. the media just didn't give a shit)

14. nothing major will happen on the israeli/palestinian conflict. by that i mean: (a) there won't be a final israeli-palestinian peace deal, (b) hamas will remain in control of gaza, and (c) hamas and fatah will not have a real reconciliation in which they end up sharing power.

right on all three! (not that any of those predictions were particularly daring)

15. egypt will cease cooperating in the blockade of gaza, at least for a brief period of time.

wrong, not even for a brief period. egypt did get israel to ease the blockade. but that's not the same as ceasing cooperation. in fact, it's the opposite.

16. neither the u.s. nor israel will attack iran militarily during 2012.

right. i do a version of this prediction every year. it's the gift that keeps on giving.

17. iran will not test a nuclear weapon in 2012, or otherwise demonstrate that it has one.

right. the iranian government has consistently denied that it's nuclear program is a weapons program. the ayatollah has issued a fatwa against the production, stockpiling, and use of nuclear weapons. even if a nuclear weapons program exists, they are not going to do a nuclear test.

18. the central government of iraq will become clearly authoritarian during 2012. (i'm not sure--and thus not confident enough to make a prediction--whether this will result in civil-war style violence with the sunni arabs).

half right, which is another way of saying "half wrong." i guess i'm a glass-is-half-full kinda guy.

in any case, what i get hung up on here is the word "clearly." i think the maliki government is authoritarian and i'm not the only one. this year, maliki ordered the arrest of tariq al-hashimi, the sunni vice president of iraq and maliki's political rival. hashimi fled the country and was then tried in absentia and sentenced to death. i think that's a pretty clear case for authoritarianism. but until he shuts down an election there will probably be people who insist otherwise.

19. none of the central asian former soviet republics (i.e. kazakhstan, kyrgyzstan, uzbekistan, tajikistan, or turkmenistan) will have a different head of state at the end of they year than they had at the beginning of the year.

right. this is almost synonymous with betting that misters nazarbayev, karimov, rahmon, berdimuhamedow, and atambayev won't have a heart attack. but only "almost." kyrgyzstan has a history of coups. and, in any case, neither happened in 2012.

20. although president saleh's alleged resignation in 2011 appears to be bullshit, he and his cohorts really won't be in charge of yemen by the end of 2012.

right. abdu rabbu mansour hadi is now president of yemen thanks to a bullshit one candidate election.

21. the unemployment rate in the u.s. will still be above 8% by the end of 2012.

happy to be wrong on this one.

22. there won't be any major changes in the north korean system in 2012, notwithstanding the ascension of kim jong-un.


final score, 15.5 right to 6.5 wrong (70.455% correct). that's exactly the same numbers i got last year, which is a little better than i did in 2009 (65.909% right), but a lot worse than i did in 2008 (83.333%). (i never got around to doing predictions for 2010). as i said last year, the secret to my relative success is that most of my predictions are pretty safe. still, i don't think any of my bad predictions were quite as bad as these.

i'll post my 2013 predictions tomorrow.