The crystal ball was blurry, but I’m not giving up
Inmy annual predictions quiz a year ago, I forecast that Adrian Fenty would be reelected as the District’s mayor in 2010 after Vince Gray decided not to run. Whoops. I also goofed on at least two others, out of seven. I optimistically but inaccurately predicted that the Intercounty Connector would open on time in theMaryland suburbs, and that VirginiaGov. Bob McDonnell (R) would call a special legislative session to raise money for roads.
I only got three right. The accuracy of the seventh, on the Redskins’ season, depends on whether they beat the Giants Sunday. (I hope they win but anticipated they’d lose.)
Undeterred by such a sorry record, I continue the tradition in the multiplechoice form flagrantly copied from the lateNewYork Times columnist William Safire. My picks for 2011 are at the end.
1. In her newlife after resigning as D.C. schools chancellor, Michelle Rhee will:
a) See her reputation crumble as revelations of troubles at DunbarHigh School are followed by disclosure of other
unflattering details about her record.
b) Marry her fiance, SacramentoMayorKevin Johnson, and settle down to a blissful, uncontroversial life as the city’s first lady.
c) Easily raise hundreds of millions of dollars in contributions to her new education foundation from rich philanthropists who ignore signs that some of her reforms didn’t actually work.
d) Host a reality television show about urban education on the Oprah WinfreyNetwork called “Putting Kids First.”
2. In Virginia, the most dramatic political story will be:
a) Conservative Attorney GeneralKenCuccinelli (R) hunting forways to keep hisnamein the spotlightwhennewly elected tea party favorites in Congress start hogging all the attention.
b) Former Democratic National Committee Chairman TerryMcAuliffe striving to prove he’s not a carpetbagger but a “real Virginian” qualified to run for governor in 2013.
c) U.S. Sen. JimWebb (D) wrestling with himself over whether to run for reelection or return to writing books about feisty Scot-Irish populists.
3. In Maryland, the campaign to legalize same-sex marriage will:
a) Fail when it’s blocked in the state Senate by a coalition led by rural legislators and African American church groups.
b) Win approval from the General Assembly andGov. Martin O’Malley (D), but still be subject to a statewide referendum set for 2012.
c) Triumph gloriously and trigger a real estate collapse in Rehoboth Beach, Del., as gays depart for Ocean City.
4. Traffic congestion will worsen in theWashington region because:
a) The shift of thousands of defense jobs to Fort Belvoir and Alexandria’sMark Center will pile still more commuters onto I-95 and I-395 inNorthern Virginia.
b) A stretch of the Intercounty Connector will finally open, but fewpeople will use it, owing to exorbitant tolls.
c) Metro ridership will fall because of rising fares and failure to address reliability issues. d) All of the above. 5. The most significant story out of Prince George’s County will be:
a) Former County Executive Jack Johnson appealing to racial solidarity in the hope of attracting popular support in his defense against federal corruption charges.
b) The gradual discovery that U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein was bluffing when he said Johnson’s arrest inNovember was just the “ tip of the iceberg,” as the prosecutor’s case isn’t nearly as broad or deep as he suggested.
c) The big push by Johnson’s successor, Rushern Baker, to force the county to get serious about reforming its public schools.
d) Jack and wife Leslie Johnson’s newreality television show, “Shakedown in the Suburbs,” sponsored by Leslie’s newline of lingerie, “for the woman with something to hide.”
6. After his first full year in office, newD.C. Mayor Gray will be viewed as:
a) A transformational leader who forged a historic consensus between longtime city residents and young newcomers.
b) A likable, cautious policy wonk doing a pretty good job keeping the city moving forward despite acute budget pressures.
c) A disaster who’s brought backMarion Barry-era mismanagement and financial crises just asWard 3 feared.
7. Having learned the lessons of Snowmaggedon in 2010, the region’s handling of 2011’s winter storms will be highlighted by:
a) Impressive cooperation among jurisdictions, which smoothly and efficiently share plows, trucks and other equipment.
b) Minimal power outages for customers of Pepco, whose aggressive attention to maintenance is matched only by the utility’s willingness to accept responsibility for any shortcomings rather than blame the region’s allegedly overabundant trees.
c) Widespread popular applause for local authorities’ decisions about when to shut schools. d) All of the above e) None of the above. (This one’s a gimme.)
8. Having dumped classy quarterback Donovan McNabb and infantile defensive end Albert Haynesworth, the Redskins will:
a) Stun the region by going 10-6 and making the playoffs, as CoachMike Shanahan proves the players just needed some time to learn his system.
b) Visibly improve but end up only 8-8 because they lack a franchise quarterback and the team overall is just too old.
c) Worsen to 4-12 as owner Dan Snyder can’t help himself and starts meddling again, recreating chaos at the top. The American Psychiatric Association formally lists “Redskins fan depression” as a chronic medical condition.
My choices: 1-c. 2-a. 3-b. 4-a. 5c. 6-b. 7-e. 8-b. HappyNewYear!