TWTYTW 2019

The year having almost run out, it’s time again for That Was the Year That Was 2019, idea stolen from …

At the end of 2018 I wrote a predictions piece for Right Wisconsin. How accurate was I?

By the end of the year the incompetence of Tony Evers as an administrator will be revealed. The state Senate will reject Evers’ choice for tourism secretary and at least one other cabinet appointment.

Exit Brad Pfaff, briefly the secretary of agriculture, trade and consumer protection. Sara Meaney hasn’t been confirmed as secretary of tourism by the state Senate yet, and I predict she won’t be.

Conservative media will report numerous stories about turmoil in Evers’ administration as well as in the Department of Justice under the equally incompetent Attorney General Josh Kaul.

The Kaul stories haven’t come out, though he is as predictably left-wing as this state’s Democratic attorneys general have been. All Evers has is inability to get his appointees confirmed, violations of the Open Records Law, failure to deal with the news media as a public official should, and unconstitutional proposals. Other than that, Evers is doing a bang-up job.

Evers’ 2019–21 state budget will be declared “dead on arrival” by both Robin Vos and Scott Fitzgerald. Said dead budget will include a 50-cent-a-gallon gas tax increase, as well as merging all state law enforcement (State Patrol, Capitol Police, etc.) under the DOJ. Evers will veto the 2019–21 budget the legislature passes, and the state media will spend the last half of the year reporting about the state budget crisis (which means the state will continue spending at 2017–19 levels. By the end of the year, the legislature and Evers will “compromise” on a 25-cent-a-gallon tax increase.

I was wrong about this prediction because I failed to predict how much Evers would cave in. It makes you think there is only one party, the Incumbent Party.

Evers’ administration will not bother to report that the cash surplus under Gov. Scott Walker has disappeared by the end of 2019.

The surplus isn’t gone — yet — but it’s not where it was.

By the end of the year President Donald Trump will have an “establishment” opponent for the GOP nomination, and 17 declared Democratic opponents.

I was two off. There were 15 candidates as of Dec. 3. Is Republican governor-turned-Libertarian-vice-presidential-candidate Bill Weld (who wasn’t much of a Libertarian) an establishment Republican now?

The Packers will hire Josh McDaniels as their coach.

Neither the Packers nor anyone else hired McDaniels.

Madison and Milwaukee will continue to suck.

No more comment needed there.

Despite Democrats’ wishes and predictions, the economy will not go into recession in 2019, though economic growth will slow, for which Trump will be blamed.

Got that one right.

Most of the ruminations about 2019 you read or will read are negative, though none will be as amusing as Dave Barry:

It was an extremely eventful year.

We are using “eventful” in the sense of “bad.”

It was a year so eventful that every time another asteroid whizzed past the Earth, barely avoiding a collision that would have destroyed human civilization, we were not 100 percent certain it was good news.

We could not keep up with all the eventfulness. Every day, we’d wake up to learn that some new shocking alleged thing had allegedly happened, and before we had time to think about it, the political-media complex, always in Outrage Condition Red, would explode in righteous fury, with Side A and Side B hurling increasingly nasty accusations at each other and devoting immense energy to thinking up ways to totally DESTROY the other side on Twitter, a medium that has the magical power to transform everything it touches, no matter how stupid it is, into something even stupider.

Predictably, Donald Trump was impeached. Also predictably, Trump will not be convicted by the Senate next year. Less predictably, reports One America News Network:

According to Democrat presidential hopeful Tulsi Gabbard, her party’s vote on impeachment may backfire in 2020. While taking to Twitter on Monday, the Hawaii lawmaker posted a video suggesting that the House impeachment push has increased the probability Republicans will flip seats red in 2020.

Gabbard was the only Democrat to vote “present” on both articles of impeachment against President Trump after citing her concerns with the partisanship throughout the probe.

In her most recent video, she said she is concerned Democrat’s efforts to impeach President Trump will lead to a Republican controlled House, Senate and White House after next year’s elections.

Gabbard added that beating President Trump isn’t the only goal for Democrats in 2020. She said they also need to come together as a party to work toward peace and equality.

The stock market was so impressed with Impeacharama that it was at record levels on and off throughout 2019, reaching another record on the last day of the year. This is important only because everyone should be a long-term investor and not hyperventilate about occasional bad days. It also indicates, even though there are better ways than the stock market to measure the economy (economic growth and U6 unemployment, to name two), that money seems unconcerned about Trump’s political adventures.

Trump’s greatest accomplishment of 2019 was driving his opponents they’re-coming-to-take-me-away-ha-ha crazy.

Rural Wisconsin isn’t going crazy, but rural Wisconsin can’t be happy with the Trump-led trade war, which hammered farmers at the same time that continuously wet weather hammered farmers. And yet I don’t see erosion of Trump support in rural areas, in large part because Democrats are too stupid to grasp why rural areas supported Trump in 2016.

Meanwhile, Empower Wisconsin was so impressed with Evers’ first year it named him Tool of the Year:

Tony Evers finished his 2018 campaign for governor by insisting that he did not plan to raise taxes if elected. 

Well, he was elected, and it took but a few weeks before he shot that pledge to hell. Even the folks at Politifact, ever generous about Evers’ trouble with the truth, gave the governor a “Full Flop.” 

He proposed $1 billion-plus in tax hikes in his budget plan — from gas tax increases to a proposal to do away with a successful manufacturing tax credit. 

In Evers’ first year in office, the Democrat pitched a mind-boggling number of far-left initiatives. He jumped on board the climate change alarmist train, pushed a costly Medicaid expansion plan, and his agencies have attempted to ratchet up regulation on business and property owners. 

Meanwhile, even the most apolitical state agencies, like the Department of Tourism, have become centers of the liberal social justice movement. 

The administration’s meddling in Taiwan tech giant Foxconn’s business could cost Wisconsin the most transformative economic development deal in state history. 

Evers issued more executive orders this year — 61 as of last week — than any other governor in Wisconsin history, according to a review by WisPolitics.com. Many of them create some committee or another. The governor and his defenders will tell you he has done so because the Republican-controlled Legislature refuses to work with him. He has done so because he knows Republicans and the people in the scores of districts that sent them to Madison would never go along with such a liberal agenda. 

Which brings us to the biggest myth going in Wisconsin politics, that Tony Evers is a nice-guy moderate who simply wants to do the work of the people. The nice guy charade must have disappeared after the governor called his Republican opponents “amoral” and “stupid” and “bastards.” But the silly caricature continues thanks to the positive paint of a pliant mainstream media. 

More than anything, Gov. Tony Evers has proven what many suspected during the campaign, that he is an empty vessel into which his far left ministers have poured radical policy ideas. 

In other words, Tony is a tool.

The news media, meanwhile, had quite a bad year, and 2020 will probably be worse. Big newspapers are getting almost as bad as public broadcasting in begging for money — in this case, subscriptions based on their excellent-in-their-own-minds news coverage. Like Democrats who can’t fathom why people might support Trump, the national news media can’t grasp why people might look at their incessant attacks on Trump and Republicans and conservatives generally and conclude they can spend their money better elsewhere. Journalists, who increasingly are not like normal people (as in not married, no kids, non-homeowner, non-gun owner, non-churchgoer) should learn some humility.

Because some people can’t count, you have probably read reflections about the end of the 2010s, even though 2020 is actually the last year of the decade of the 2010s. (Confused? When was Year Zero?) Here is one in graphic form, from Matt Ridley:

An opposing view comes from Rick Wilson:

History‘s greatest trick is that our innate human bias toward normalcy always lures us into complacency. You wake up in the morning and the coffee still tastes largely the same, the water runs, the lights come on. It feels almost ordinary. You walk the dogs, check the news, and while on some rare days it’s a 9/11, even the biggest moments in history are hard to see up close.

The idea of change coming in sharp, traumatic, explosive moments is largely an illusion. The signs are always there before the moments that make the history books and the “where were you when?” times.

The water comes to a boil slowly and the frog, or in America’s case 330 million frogs, don’t notice until it’s too late. And no, this is not an allusion to climate change.

So we probably won’t be able to identify exactly when it happened, but sometime in this last decade, we lost the thread. Something actually broke. We fumbled away our continuity, our resilience, the uniquely American proposition that we’re bending the arc of history the right direction. We stopped believing in our almost magical national felicity for getting out of our own way and finally, stubbornly, doing the right thing.

The 2010s didn’t have a 9/11 moment. They didn’t have a Nixon resignation moment (all bets are off for the 2020s on that one, though). There was no hot global conflagration, no assassination attempt on a president, no Pearl Harbor, no Hurricane Katrina or Andrew.

Instead, we had a grinding series of more picayune, more insidious changes. Bit by bit, technology changed the culture. Bit by bit, the culture changed us.

As a result, this passing decade was marked by something darker, more divisive, more dangerous and ultimately more consequential. It was a time where all the small threads wove together into a kind of messy whole, and where a new era of bitterness and spite tore us apart in ways as surely as the 1960s cultural moment did.

Console yourself with this thought: As bad as 2019 was, 2020 will unquestionably be worse. It’s an election year.

As always, may your 2020 be better than your 2019. That’s a wish, not a prediction.

 

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