It's a new year, and the David Pakman Show inbox and voicemail line are packed with questions about politics, elections, the future, and more. Here is a sampling of questions, with my predictions. Unlike a recent guest of mine said about herself, my background is NOT in prophecy -- consider it a disclaimer!
Will unemployment decline?
If you believe Mitt Romney, unemployment will go away completely if you elect him. Romney recently told a student "when you get out of college, if I'm President, you'll have a job. If President Obama is re-elected, you will not be able to get a job." Combine this incredible promise with Michele Bachmann's claim that gas would drop to $2 per gallon under her Presidency, and you can see why a Romney/Bachmann 2012 ticket would be incredibly appealing, if you live in a fantasy world.
Will there be a viable third party candidate in the 2012 Presidential election?
Unfortunately, no. Those currently in power got there under the current system, so there's absolutely no reason lawmakers would jeopardize the system they used to get elected in the first place. Can the Occupy movement effect change when it comes to financing of elections?
Will the Republican House of Representatives get anything done?
As Tina Dupuy, Managing Editor of Crooks and Liars, recently wrote, one quarter into the 112th Congress' two-year term, only 14 pieces of legislation originating in the Republican-controlled House had become law, compared with 254 laws at the same time in the 111th Congress, and 308 in the 110th. After campaigning on actually "doing stuff," the current Republican House has spent time passing bills meant to "send a message" (to who?), for example declaring the much-discussed healthcare reform bill unconstitutional, or voting on failed proposals to defund National Public Radio and Planned Parenthood. It's unlikely this will be any different in 2012.
Will Hillary Clinton replace Joe Biden as Barack Obama's running mate for the 2012 election?
Joe Biden is not a viable Presidential candidate for 2016, regardless of whether Barack Obama is re-elected. He's also has his fair share of gaffes which, while not nearly resignation-worthy, certainly haven't helped his reputation. A recent Gallup study finds that Barack Obama was the most admired man of 2011, and Hillary Clinton was the most admired woman for the 16th time since 1993. As Robert Reich recently wrote, replacing the current Vice President with Hillary Clinton for the 2012 campaign would make sense for several reasons, including the recruitment of disappointed Hillary supporters from 2008, and the positioning of Hillary Clinton to run for President in 2016. This could lead to 12 or even 16 straight years of Democratic Presidents.
Where will the religious right focus their energy once marriage equality becomes the law in more states?
Preventing pairs of consenting adults from getting married has been a priority for the religious right for years. Unfortunately, that's one battle they're going to lose as states continue to use logic, reason, and common sense to legalize marriage equality. Expect attention to shift back to women's right to reproductive choice, another right-wing standby, but also to refocus on preventing stem-cell research and other biotech research that will likely lead to countless new cures and useful technologies, continuing to stand in the way of progress.
What will happen with TSA patdowns and porno scanners?
I recently talked on The David Pakman Show about the TSA's confiscation of a red velvet cupcake because the frosting on it was substantial enough to be considered a potential threat. While cakes and cupcakes are typically allowed on planes, I haven't yet read the TSA's specific stance on strudels, poundcake, croissants, and corn breads. We recently saw the addition of "porno scanners," the see-through-clothes devices of still-unknown safety which former Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff's consulting client, Rapiscan, manufactures. As a result of opting out of these scanners, I received a number of hilariously invasive and not particularly effective patdowns during 2011, one of which I filmed and is currently available on YouTube.
Expect the patdowns and scanners to continue, but keep in mind that if even one out of ten airport passengers opts for a patdown instead of the scanner, airports would essentially be shut down given the lack of resources to conduct these patdowns, often taking 10 or 15 minutes each until an available agent comes to "take care of business."
Is the world really going to end on December 21, 2012?
Only in the sense that it will be the shortest day of the year, which to people with winter depression might "feel" like the end of the world.