To make it in these tough times, pundits can have a Special Hot Button (SHB) installed on their keyboards. When pressed, it will write only the truth. With the advent of the new year, let’s give this gadget a try.
What will be the big story of 1995?
SHB: Hey, buddy, I’m a truth-teller, not a fortune cookie. But, since you asked, I might as well tell you: The second O.J. Simpson trial.
The second? Why, the first one hasn’t even started yet.
SHB: Yup. But if you’re rich and famous and up against a heavy Murder One rap, then the drama has got to play out for awhile. Hung jury. Re-trial. Ya need a road map, fatty?
No, I get it now. But, look, I work the Washington beat. What’s the big story here? Newt Gingrich and the Republican takeover?
SHB: Get outta here. Newt is such a pussy cat that he couldn’t even hold on to his $4.5 mil book deal with that Rupert Murdoch bunch after Bob Dole went after him. Come Easter, his “Contract with America” will be so much cold toast. The next hot button item is gonna be the revolt of the govs.
You mean the nation’s governors? Just what will they be rising against?
SHB: You and your ilk, ya dumb cluck. Once Gingrich and his political bomb squad make it clear that we don’t need much of this old New Deal stuff anymore, then the state house crowd is gonna want to keep the people’s tax money parked nice and close to home. Just ‘cause we haven’t had a Constitutional Convention for 205 years doesn’t mean we can’t have one now.
Still, that would be amazing.
SHB: Naturally, they’ll cut a deal to head one off. If pundits knew any history, then you’d know that back in 1790 Alexander Hamilton got his banking plan on the books by agreeing to plunk the capital on the side of the Potomac - taking care of Tom Jefferson and the Virginia boys. Ever since, a bit of grease in the ol’ bearings has made this town twirl.
Well, where does that leave President Clinton?
SHB: Nowhere, sonny, unless you think high and dry is a place. After you guys finish pushing that “honeymoon” pap, you’ll thump on the “reverse gridlock” drum for bit. After that, you’ll be riding down the Whitewater rapids again, smack into the muck.
What with the first GOP-led Congress in 40 years, it had looked as if the Republicans wouldn’t try to pin a scandal on the Clintons; that they’d be more absorbed in trying to show they can govern from up on Capitol Hill.
SHB: Why is that wise guys like you who peer into the future always wind up with egg on your databases? This has got nothing to do with Congress. The probe’s a ticking time bomb, with the rules changing in the middle of the game. If you’re Bill Clinton, you’ve got to know that just about anything can happen.
So you’re saying that, Ronald Reagan aside, we’re back to a run of one-term presidents?
SHB: Ask me that question again next year, smarty pants, after you’ve fixed the Pentium chip in this gizmo so that it can divide right to the 15th decimal place. As they saying goes: “Trash in, trash out.”
That’s not the saying.
SHB: Sometimes, there’s more truth to be found in a grain of sand than in a $3,500 piece of faulty silicon and flawed punditry.