The crys­tal ball was blurry, but I’m not giv­ing up

The Washington Post Sunday - - METRO - ROBERT MCCART­NEY

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!

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