Looking at the year before us, we have come up with reliable predictions about political events. You might not want to take them to the bank, but you certainly might want to wad up this page and put it under the mattress for safekeeping.
> California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will confuse his wife’s copy of the “Collected Works of Maya Angelou” with his State of the State address and go on for an hour regaling listeners with unintelligible gibberish before noticing his mistake.
> Howard Dean, the presidential contender who has pledged to talk more about Jesus during his campaign stops in the South, will baptize campaign workers in the Mississippi River outside Memphis, and pray for Joe Lieberman’s and John Kerry’s salvation before a debate.
> Attorney General John Ashcroft, in a speech commemorating the passage of the Patriot Act, declares, “Security in the pursuit of extremism is no vice.” Embarrassed, he claims he accidentally flipped “security” and “extremism,” blaming the onset of dyslexia.
> To prove that “I am not a sissy, preppy New England liberal puke,” Howard Dean puts a Confederate flag on his all-wheel-drive Volvo, along with the bumper sticker: “You can take my L.L. Bean catalog from me when you pull it from my cold, dead fingers.”
> Martha Stewart, after being acquitted of securities violations, has a Road to Damascus political conversion, and announces she has become a libertarian. She will win the Libertarian Party’s presidential nomination, and the celebrity factor will give the party a gaudy 1.2 percent of the presidential total. Activists will crow that the party has finally become politically viable.
> Osama bin Laden will be found in the Canadian Rockies working as a canoe-trip guide to raise money for his real project — organizing attacks on SUVs as part of the Earth Liberation Front.
> “Drug czar” John Walters, having publicized the claim that al-Qaida is now raising much of its money by trafficking drugs, will once again step up the drug war, thus pushing prices even higher, and giving Osama even more cash to fight against Earth-Destroying Four-Wheel Infidels.
> Things will start going well in Iraq and a working democracy will be established. About the same time the Israelis and Palestinians settle their differences and start trading oranges and microchips instead of suicide bombers and missiles. Afghanistan will move ahead into the 12th century, France will be named “the Friendliest Tourist Destination” and England will win a coveted award for its cuisine.
> Once the convention is over the Democrats will dump Terry McAuliffe and name Barbra Streisand head of the Democratic National Committee, which she promises will be her final farewell tour.