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The rear view of our crystal ball

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By Jim Flynn

Winston Churchill observed that a fanatic is someone who cannot change his mind and will not change the subject. Talk radio has a number of that peculiar species.

With Sir Winston’s wisdom in mind, we thought to look back over our own opinions and prognostications about the presidential campaign and its intense focus on change.

In early January we guessed that John McCain would finish his distinguished career as a moderating leader in the Congress league. We also surmised that the Democratic nomination would come down to a joust between tag teams: Obama and Oprah vs. Clinton and Clinton.

After writing a mini-seminar on the sub-prime mortgage mess in October 2007, we wrote an obituary in late January for “The late great housing boom.” We suggested the White House and Congress were suffering brain-lock over fear of impending doom.

In February we made an examination of the flavors of liberals and conservatives pretending to be Democrats, Republicans, and Contrarians. We concluded the growing power of independent voters (the Contrarians) would decide our next president. Independents are people who retain the power and good sense to change their minds.

We were pleased that Florida managed to conduct a primary without having to buy hundreds of magnifying glasses for a recount. However, we interjected our opinion that political parties should pay for primaries out of their own coffers. Even though taxpayers are forced to pick up all the costs, political parties have the chutzpah to tell the states how and when they want the primaries conducted. Some nerve!

By April we were writing about “the money fairy,” big sister of the tooth fairy. Congress and the White House had already concluded that the way to cure the problems of too much loose credit was to create more loose credit by printing money. The secrets of socialized capitalism were finally exposed.

By May the presidential campaign had drifted into consideration of who was telling the most believable lies. Senator McCain was suggesting we’d be in Iraq at least forever, and Senator Obama was certain he could get all the troops home by next Thursday.

Amidst the campaign we voiced our long-held conviction that members of Congress should be terminated – legally that is. Because term limits are not allowed by our constitution, the only alternative is ballot box termination. Forced resignation by exposure of criminality, immorality, or incompetence doesn’t work. Congress people have no shame.

On May 30 we predicted the November election could be a Democratic sweep. Our crystal ball was clear: In November George W. Bush was roundly defeated by Barack Obama.

Because of gasoline prices, by mid-summer our pockets were bare all the way down to the lint. We spent the rebate from the money fairy, just like the president told us to. It didn’t help the economy and we didn’t feel better.

The really bad news was that each household owes a total of $531,472 of state and federal debt, not to mention $119,173 more for car payments and patriotic credit card support of the economy. Add recent bailouts, and we may set a record of every household owing China a billion dollars.

Meanwhile, back at the White House of Oz, there was continued fantasy talk about a strong dollar (then worth only 60 cents) and a deficit next year of only $400 billion. After bailouts it’s more likely to be a trillion dollars, but by White House accounting, that doesn’t count.

By the end of summer the smoke screen was clearing at the White House of Oz. The Wizard and his congressional munchkins were outed as practicing welfare capitalists.

Despite all the public money spent on primaries, party politicians insisted on balloon-orgy conventions at which to further embarrass themselves. Having them stuffed and mounted would be merciful.

Our crystal ball failed to reveal that most of the talked-about issues wouldn’t matter much in the voting booths. Single-issue and big-issue voters were over-ridden by the judgment of independents that any change would be better than no change.

Although we are still at sea on the U.S.S. Titanic and plugging holes in the ship with trillions of borrowed and printed dollars, there is a new crew coming aboard for the next cruise. The closed-minded fanatics lost. Now only time will tell whether America voted for a happy new year.

Jim Flynn was formerly a corporate counsel, served in military intelligence during the Korean War, and once aspired to be a newspaper columnist.