December 29, 2003 | National Review Online

NRO’s Crystal Ball

Clifford D. May
Some exceedingly unlikely predictions for 2004:

Just prior to the Iowa caucuses, Howard Dean speculates that “the most interesting theory” he has heard lately is that Osama bin Laden is hiding in “the tribal territories of Texas” where, he tells Maureen Dowd, “this phony war was manufactured in the first place.”

Asked to comment, Madeleine Albright tells Morton Kondracke: “We’ve seen no evidence that would rule that out.”

Senator Fred Thompson moves from Law & Order to a new program, Chesapeake Baywatch, playing a lawyer-turned-actor-turned-politician-turned-actor-turned lifeguard.

NBC launches a new crime show, Law & Order: SUV. In each episode, Republicans driving Sports Utility Vehicles are arrested and sent to the slammer where they belong. The series is Michael Moore’s television producing debut.

Chris Matthews enters the Guinness Book of World Records by conducting the first interview in history comprised entirely of questions, no answers.

Barbara Walters conducts first postwar interview with Saddam Hussein. Asks: “Mr. President, if I may still call you that, if you were a Weapon of Mass Destruction, what kind of Weapon of Mass Destruction would you be?”

Dan Rather conducts second postwar interview with Saddam Hussein. Asks: “Mr. President, you’re being very patient with your time, and I want you to know I consider this a solemn moment in history, and, if I may, take time to have you speak to the American people about questions that I know are on their minds. I want you to know that I appreciate your patience here, and what I think we all want to know is: How are you doing really? Are you being treated well? Do you feel victimized by this process? What would you like to say to the American people? I apologize to the president for the candid and direct nature of my questions but I think it’s necessary to get right to the heart of the matter.”

Shocking photos of Howard Dean and Ann Coulter appear on the Internet. The Dean campaign calls it “a dirty trick.”

Bill Clinton endorses Dean.

Dean wins early caucuses and primaries in a landslide.

Dean chooses Wesley Clark as running mate. Floats trial balloons of Dean Cabinet-in-waiting: Al Gore at State, George Soros at Treasury, Rob Reiner at Defense.

Still stuck in third place behind CNN and Fox, MSNBC re-brands itself for 212th time, trotting out the slogan: “America’s Fashion News Channel.” Paris Hilton gets prime-time show: “Paris, Washington.”

MSNBC bumps Hardball to 3 in the afternoon.

Dean fires DNC Chairman Terry McAuliffe, taps Barbra Streisand who causes a controversy by insisting key staff move to DNC’s Beverly Hills office. “A party running against Washington,” she says, “should not be based in Washington.”

Alan Colmes admits he’s a conservative. “Getting beaten by Sean every night has been my way of contributing to the movement,” he says. Adds that he’s hoping Ann Coulter finds him attractive. “Did you see those Internet photos of her with Howard Dean?” he asks. “Wowie zowie.”

In an attempt to soften his image, John Ashcroft makes a surprise appearance on Saturday Night Live. He announces: “We have a great show for you tonight–with special musical guest–Al Sharpton! Give it up for Al!

In an attempt to broaden President Bush’s support, Karl Rove books him for a special edition of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. Bush declares: “Marriage should be only between a man and a woman. But good grooming is for everyone.”

In an attempt to demonstrate that Saudi Arabia is genuinely on the path to reform, Abdel al-Jubeir tells Tina Brown: “Actually, my name used to spelled al-Jewbear. But I honestly didn’t know that till I was 19. Hey, I’m proud of my heritage. In fact I’ve had long talks about this with Madeleine Albright, Hillary Clinton, Wesley Clark, and John Kerry. And I’ve been invited to spend Passover with Joe and Hadassah.”

French Prime Minister Jacques Chirac, having banned Muslim headscarves and Jewish skullcaps, proves he is evenhanded by also banning a secular French symbol: Hermes scarves

Dean is defeated in a landslide.

Alec Baldwin moves to Brussels.

Dean threatens to emigrate, too. “Frankly,” he says, “I’m seriously thinking of moving to the Soviet Union.”

Al Gore becomes late-night radio-talk-show host. Stock price of Ambien sinks.

MSNBC bumps Hardball to 3 in the morning.

John Kerry joins the cast of Chesapeake Baywatch. Tells Rolling Stone: “Polls, shmolls. We’ll let the American people judge who looks better in a f***ing Speedo, Fred or me.”

Hillary Clinton becomes de facto Democratic-party leader. In a surprise move, asks Streisand to stay on at DNC. Photos of their kiss make a big slash on the front page of the New York Post.

John Hinckley attempts to impress Paris Hilton.

Jayson Blair gets exclusive interview with bin Laden. Dateline: Crawford, Texas.

Clifford D. May is president of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies and an NRO contributor.