For starters, the old guys never made a flat prediction. They tempered with words like, “if this doesn’t happen… then …” That way, there was always an out. Then, they made predictions far into the future so that they wouldn’t be around to explain why they erred.
Today’s seers should really consider following that direction. Many of them are eating so much crow these days that the bird should be placed on the endangered species list.
Consider these predictions about what would happen if President Barack Obama won re-election in 2012.
For starters, his losing Republican opponent Mitt Romney assured the public that unemployment would stay above 8 percent. He promised to bring that number by 6 percent by 2017 if elected.
Unemployment now stands at 5.8 percent in 2015 and dropped below 6 percent in September 2014. Meanwhile, Obama’s economic policies have generated 5 million new jobs in the last two years alone.
Utah Senator Mike Lee was sure that with Obama in office, gas prices would be more than $5.45 a gallon by 2015. He was also convinced that gas would top $6 a gallon by 2017. Actually, it’s around $2.65 a gallon on average nationally and dropping.
Forbes columnist Charles Bilderman predicted a stock market crash if Obama continued in office. Bloomberg TV rep Marc Farber foresaw a 20 percent decline in stock value. “Republicans understand the problem of excessive debt better than Mr. Obama who basically doesn’t care about piling up debt,” he claimed.
In reality, the New York Stock Exchange has hit record highs and stands around 17,500 now, up 35 percent since 2012. Even the recent decline because of China's misfortune has not erased the gains.
Radio pundit Rush Limbaugh, whose repeated failed predictions could fill a tome, went far beyond a dip in the stock market. He foresaw a collapsing economy. “There’s no if about this. And it’s gonna be ugly. It’s gonna be gut wrenching, but it will happen,” he said. Limbaugh claimed California would declare bankruptcy, and Obama would force other states to bail out The Golden State.
As of the moment, California has a $4 billion budget surplus.
As for the economy, it grew 5 percent in the third quarter of 2014 and shows no signs of declining. As market analyst Myles Udland noted in August 2015: “Two things are true about the U.S. economy: It is adding jobs and growing.”
There are many other failed predictions if Obama won. The Supreme Court didn’t disband Boy Scouts or require Christian churches to close. Religious broadcasters haven’t been forced off the air nor are churches mandated to hire lesbian clergy. Gun laws haven’t changed; no one has confiscated a single gun.
Even predictions about Obama’s opponents were wrong. Newscaster Chris Matthew was sure former Rep. Michele Bachmann would carry the GOP banner in 2012. Washington Posts’ Jennifer Rubin argued that Romney wouldn’t get the nod because he instituted a healthcare law in Massachusetts, an anathema to Republicans.
Florida Gov. Rich Scott, who is spending these days trying to counter convincing evidence that he’s the worst governor in the state’s history, was positive that whoever won the Republican Florida primary would head the 2012 ticket. Herman Cain won the primary. Heard of him lately?
As for the election, political pro Dick Morris said Romney would win in a landslide. So did one-time party leader and presidential candidate Newt Gingrich. Republican adviser Karl Rove saw a tighter race, but a Romney victory nevertheless. Former Bush speechwriter Peggy Noonan said, “All vibrations were right for a Romney win.”
Long-time newsman Michael Barone was sure that all the “fundamentals” favored Romney.
All were wrong, and many more like them.
Obama won 61 percent of the popular vote and easily swept the Electoral College vote 336 to 206. Under him, the economy has continued to grow. This country has improved its standing in the world, made an unprecedented agreement with Iran to end that country’s production of nuclear weapons, resolved the 50-year battle with Cuba, withdrew troops from Iraq and expanded health benefits to an estimated 17 million Americans.
Of course the negative predictions have continued. Seer Glenda Jackson, who has her own prophetic ministry, predicted Obama would win two terms. Now, she says, “God showed me that if Christians don’t start praying more than they ever have and even the churches become the house of prayer this next presidential election is not going to take place … The president is not going to be removed. He is going to stay in.”
That’s nothing compared with what an on-line prophet insists will happen: “There are at least seventeen biblical reasons why Barack Obama may lead the United States to fulfill the predictions in the Apocalypse. There are many older writings that indicate that Barack Hussein Obama may set the United States up for utter destruction…”
Based on the correct number of similar predictions to date, none of that is going to happen either.
Long-time religious historian Bill Lazarus regularly writes about religion and religious history with an occasional foray into American history. He also speaks at various religious organizations throughout Florida. You can reach him at www.williamplazarus.com. He is the author of the famed Unauthorized Biography of Nostradamus; The Last Testament of Simon Peter; The Gospel Truth: Where Did the Gospel Writers Get Their Information; Noel: The Lore and Tradition of Christmas Carols; and Dummies Guide to Comparative Religion. His most recent book is Passover in Prison, which details abuse of Jewish inmates in American prisons. His books are available on Amazon.com, Kindle, bookstores and via various publishers. He can also be followed on Twitter.
You can enroll in his on-line class, Comparative Religion for Dummies, at http://www.udemy.com/comparative-religion-for-dummies/?promote=1