Thursday, November 06, 2008

Answers to the 18-Month Quiz

On April 26, I asked readers (okay, friends mostly) to try out their prognosticative ability on the 18-Month Quiz. We finally have the answers. Answers in bold. Appeals available in comments.

Foreign Policy

1. Iran.
A) Iranians comply with international pressure, submit to inspections and dismantle their enrichment program; US stands pat.

B) Iranians continue to play coy about enrichment, bringing some international support against the US and manage to hold off inspections through the election; Bush rattles his tin sabre but the US stands pat.

C) Tensions escalate, the US pushes a UN sanction, and Iran refuses to comply. Embargoes ensue and the international community slowly progresses toward a confrontation, led by Bush. Congressional hearings conclude before any declarations and the US stands ready to invade.

D) Scenario C progresses more rapidly, without UN support, and Bush begins selective bombing of suspected enrichment sites. Congress neither approves nor opposes the action.

E) Bush is opposed by the international community, Congress (including key GOP leaders), and the joint chiefs, and launches a covert nuclear attack.

F) Other _____________________
2. Iraq
A) The surge improves things marginally in Baghdad; Bush and McCain declare victory, begin withdrawing troops while ignoring the continued violence.

B) The status quo continues; violence and unrest and the steady decline to a hot civil war. The Dems can't convince Bush to withdraw and the death toll mounts.

C) After the surge fails and the elections approach, the GOP breaks rank with the White House and joins the Dems in a call for troop withdrawal. Nothing is binding, but Bush, without admitting defeat, begins a slow withdrawal.

D) The GOP join Dems to cut off funding, forcing Bush to pull out the troops in advance of the election.

E) Other ______________________
Editor's note: technically, "E" is the correct answer. A number of measures along with the troop surge have improved the security situation, but the political situation is unstable. Although Bush has set out a timeline for withdrawal, it hasn't begun. I'd accept "A" as well.

3. War on Terror

A) There are no attacks against Americans and the half-assed policies of the President lumber forward.

B) Dems force substantial changes in security issues (ports, funds for cities, etc.) and win favor for "engagement" diplomacy; no attack on US soil.

C) An attack hits the US, strengthens Bush's hand for first-term-style politics.

D) An attack hits the US; Bush's approval plummets and precipitates Congressional intervention (including, possibly, impeachment).

E. Other _____________________
4. Foreign Policy Surprise (Open ended)

Answer: I'd accept worsening trouble in Afghanistan, Russian invasion of a neighbor, or destabilization of Pakistan.

5. Identify the unlikely doomsday scenario that might emerge before the election.

: None.


6. The Democratic Nominee
A. Hillary Clinton
B. John Edwards
C. Al Gore
D. Barack Obama
E. Other ________________
7. The Republican Nominee
A. John McCain
B. Newt Gingrich
C. Rudy Guiliani
D. Mitt Romney
E. Fred Thompson
F. Other ________________
8. Dem Vice Presidential Nominee (open-ended)

Answer: Joe Biden

9. GOP Vice Presidential Nominee (open-ended)

Answer: Sarah Palin [Ed note: anyone claiming a Palin pick must provide authenticated evidence.]

10. The Next President
A. John McCain
B. Newt Gingrich
C. Rudy Guiliani
D. Mitt Romney
E. Fred Thompson
F. Hillary Clinton
G. John Edwards
H. Al Gore
I. Barack Obama
J. Other __________________
11. Prescient piece of information you see about the electorate that people are overlooking. (open ended)

: I would accept a number of answers here, but anything to do with overlooking race would be an obvious winner. Appeal in comments.

12. The House

A) Dems gain seats
B) Dems lose seats, hold the House
C) Dems lose seats, lose the House
D) Very little or no change.
13. Senate
A) Dems gain enough seats to have a fillibuster-proof majority
B) Dems gain some seats
C) Dems lose seats (and therefore the majority)
D) Senate stands pat at 50-49-1.
13a. (Oregonian subquestion) Who will be the next Senator from Oregon?
A) Steve Novick
B) Earl Blumenauer
C) Ben Westlund
D) Gordon Smith
E) Other _______________
Answer: "E," Jeff Merkley


14. The Bush Presidency
A) Scandals continue to plague the President, who slides further into isolation and disapproval. Congressional hearings and investigations reveal gross malfeasance and the suggestion of crime.

B) Either because of White House foreign policy bellicosity or because of scandal, Bush is impeached.

C) Bush, isolated and embattled, provokes an encounter with Iran.

D) Bush, isolated and embattled, declares martial law and suspends the election.

E) Congress loses interest in Bush, gets caught up in the '08 election, and the Bush presidency plays out with few successes and few failures, doomed to be remembered as a cautionary tale of incompetence and corruption.
15. The previously important issue that fails to excite interest in the coming year is:
A) tax cuts
B) abortion
C) terrorism
D) Iraq
E) gay rights/marriage
Answer: According to exit polls, "the economy" blotted the light out for all other issues. However, since "Iraq" and "Terrorism" were the next two most-cited issues, and since several ballot measures excited interest about gay marriage, I will accept A or B (ballot measures about abortion failed).

16. The emergent issue in the coming year is:

A) health care
B) global warming
C) gas prices
D) Iran
E) gun control
Explanation: Since the economy blotted out all thought of other issues (see 17, below), this one's a little hard to judge, but I will accept either A or C.

17. The unexpected development(s) in the next 18 months will be?
(open ended)

Answer: The collapse of housing prices and the subsequent failure of Wall Street get you a gold star on this one.

See you again in 30 months....

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