This year has been quite a storm. Three hundred sixty-five days in a cyclone with fierce weather on all fronts: an economy tossing around in fits and starts; politics stalled by fog and precipitation, with heavy rains arriving in the fall to wash away Republican hopes of winning the White House and both houses of Congress.
What about the coming year?
No doubt we will again find ourselves at year’s end shaking our heads and contemplating what has happened, especially the unexpected.
Here are a few of my educated guesses — and a bit of speculation — about what 2013 has in store.
On the local front:
●With four years remaining on his recently acquired second term, D.C. Chief Financial Officer Natwar M. Gandhi will resign in 2013 to pursue other interests.
●Two D.C. elected officials, both of whom reside east of Rock Creek Park, will also resign in 2013, but not because they want to. They will take their leave in the same manner as former D.C. Council members Harry Thomas Jr. and Kwame Brown — two steps ahead of the sheriff.
●The slumbering D.C. Office of Campaign Finance, under pressure from a newly constituted and invigorated D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics, will recommend, and the elections board will levy, historic fines for campaign finance violations committed in the 2010 mayoral campaign. The fines will exceed the $277,000 levy that the election board imposed on then-Mayor Anthony A. Williams’s reelection campaign in 2002 for submitting fraudulent signatures on his nominating petitions. Whether the campaigns will pay up is another drama that will unfold.
●There will be at least six breathless media reports about this city’s black-white racial divide. The pieces will include simplistic and stale quotes from the same folks who have been serving up that tired narrative for the past 20 years.
On the regional front:
●The Potomac River will continue to sparkle in the sunset, spawn fish not fit for eating and provide water unsafe for drinking because of pollution and the volume of unused drugs and other nasty stuff flushed down the toilets of homes in Maryland, Virginia and the District. There is no cleanup in sight.
●In attempting to decide which was worse, the Metro system’s escalator problem or D.C. Council member Jim Graham’s past service as a board member, the board of directors of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority will throw up its hands, declare the mess a draw — and promise to do better.
●Congress and federal officials, mortified by reports of family dynasties and rumors of kleptomaniacs in the upper ranks of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, will decide as federal holders of the authority’s lease that the U.S. government must shake up the authority’s board of directors and its senior management — right after the House, Senate and White House resolve the “fiscal cliff.”
●Another Washington-area think tank will discover that the region’s transportation system is a mess, that individual jurisdictions treat poor people differently, and that in the event of rain, the next war should be held in the Defense Department auditorium.
At the national level:
●In the fullness of time, following the New Year’s celebration, leaders of the conservative-dominated GOP (Republicans Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. are in tears) will prostrate themselves and acknowledge that the unceremonious rejection of Republicans on election night had nothing to do with the “gifts” Mitt Romney charged were given to the “47 percent” of Americans by President Obama but, rather, that 63 million Americans didn’t think much of a political brand that has been hijacked by the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter, the tea party and other assorted right-wingers. Following that cathartic event, intraparty bloodletting will begin.
●Sarah Palin will try her hand at a series of economic, domestic and foreign policy speeches to signal a presidential run in 2016. Media will be ecstatic. Party stalwarts will be apoplectic.
●Democrats will launch a ground war singularly focused on retaking the House in 2014. Nancy Pelosi, accompanied by a surprise combatant, President Obama, will lead the charge.
●After the Biden task force report is released in January, there will be more shooting sprees and mass murders, followed by heated debates over gun control and mental illness, followed by more shooting sprees and mass murders. An assault-weapons ban will squeak by. But bodies will keep falling.
●Spring will come early.
Happy New Year!