What will 2002 hold? These conservative leaders and political strategists gave WORLD their predictions. RUSH LIMBAUGH, radio talk show host-
- The U.S. economy will recover and roar back faster than anyone imagined, without a meaningful stimulus package, leaving John Ashcroft as the only issue the Democrats have to run on/against in 2002.
- Ashcroft's approval numbers will remain in the mid-to-upper 70s.
- Disney, he jokes, ends the pretense and buys the Democratic National Committee, naming ABC News President David Westin Chairman and CEO. "Synergy dictated this long overdue move," said Disney Chairman Michael Eisner.
STEVE MOORE, president, Club For Growth-
- Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill will be gone, and replaced by Phil Gramm, Bill Archer, or Dick Armey.
- College football will move to a 16-team playoff system.
- Chris Cox will be the next majority leader.
FRANK LUNTZ, pollster-
- Republicans will gain a net of one Senate seat in the 2002 elections, giving them back control but at 50-50.
- Al Gore will announce that he is not going to seek the Democrat nomination for president in 2004.
- Tom Daschle will emerge as the top choice among Democrats to challenge George Bush in 2004.
JOHN McLAUGHLIN, pollster-
- Republican Rep. John Thune beats Democrat Sen. Tim Johnson in the race for the U.S. Senate seat from South Dakota.
- Sen. Bob Smith beats Rep. John Sununu in the New Hampshire GOP primaries, then beats Gov. Jeanne Shaheen.
- House Republicans will expand their majority.
PEGGY NOONAN, author of When Character Was King-
- Hollywood will attempt to produce some movies that are reflective of respect and affection for America. But they'll get it wrong, because they don't really know how to do that. So they'll wind up doing kind of macho-aggressive war stuff with things exploding and Americans being brave in a kind of cartoon-y way, and it will be sort of OK for children.
- Then Hollywood will give up on trying to get screenwriters and actors and directors to come up with stories that show real affection and respect for America, and will solve the problem by re-making some classics. Look for a new production of Betty Smith's A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, for instance.
- There will be a day, and it will come sooner than later, when we are all walking along the street on a pretty pre-dusk afternoon … and suddenly someone will rush from a PJ Richards or The Wiz and announce to a street full of strangers, "They found Osama! They captured Osama!" And we will all stop stock still. Then we'll go into The Wiz and watch it on 213 monitors. And then we will cheer, and strangers will talk to strangers, and a number of us will find to our surprise that tears come to our eyes, and some people who haven't wept since 9/11 will weep at that moment. It will be some great moment, and we will never forget it.
- Then I'll go on Fox and say, "But it can't stop here…"
KARL ROVE, chief political strategist for President Bush-
- "I'm not in the predicting business."
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