Former Washington Post columnist James K. Glassman was roundly derided for a best-seller he co-authored in 1999 called “Dow 36,000,” in which he predicted a “wealth explosion” and that the stock market, then at about 9,000, could soar to 36,000 in the next three to five years.

Alas, the Bush recession hit and stocks fell below 8000 when Barack Obama took office 10 years later. “I was wrong,” Glassman  acknowledged later in a Wall Street Journal piece, saying that “stocks have been crushed.”

But in an interview with our colleague Carlos Lozada in March 2009, Glassman, asked if he still thought the Dow would hit 36,000, said, “I have no doubt about that. I think that is absolutely true. But I’m not going to tell you what date.” (Probably a wise idea.)

We were reminded of the famous prediction on Friday, when the Dow closed at just below 18,000, which means, to all of you who pooh-poohed that book title, we’re halfway there. And with the recent employment numbers and the price of gas falling in some places below $2 a gallon, the bull market may be with us for a while. It only took 15 years to get halfway there, so maybe by 2030?

We asked Glassman if he wanted to comment on the market’s upswing and the possibility it might make his prediction come true soon. He e-mailed: “Not yet. Ping me in six months when we get to 36,000.”

In the same interview with Lozada, Glassman gave another sunny outlook, this one about Iraq’s future.

Glassman worked at the State Department toward the end of the Bush administration as undersecretary of State for public diplomacy, which has a key role in the U.S. government’s “war of ideas” with Muslim extremists.

“So what has the war in Iraq done for the war of ideas?” Lozada asked him.

“I think ultimately the war in Iraq will be beneficial to the war of ideas,” Glassman said, “in the sense that a functioning democracy that we hope will be stable and prosperous now exists in the Middle East, and is showing other nations and other people what a democracy looks like.”

Well, “ultimately,” whether predicting about the economy or the Middle East, can mean a very, very, very long time. Still, in this town, half-right is pretty darn good.