Some conservatives made some wildly foolish predictions four years ago.
To be involved in politics is to look ahead and consider what's going to happen. Will a bill pass? Will a candidate win? Will a policy work?
With this in mind, looking back over the last several years, Republicans have come up short in the prognostication category. On economics, for example, It was GOP policymakers who were certain that Clinton's policies would be disastrous, Bush's agenda would work wonders, and Obama's Recovery Act would make the Great Recession worse. Their uninterrupted track record of failed predictions is rather startling.
But as my colleague Kent Jones reminds me, the right's forecasts on social issues aren't much better.
You've probably heard by now that if Obama wins a second term we will become a socialist nation, gun ownership will be made illegal, our country will be unrecognizable by the end of his term, and on and on. If you listen to leaders on the Right it sounds like this election is the most important election of all time and that all of America's freedoms are staked Romney defeating Obama. There's just one problem. I remember 2008.
In 2008 prominent Christian Right group Focus on the Family put out a sixteen page document called "Letter from 2012 in Obama's America." The document was in the form of a letter, a (fictional) letter from a Christian in 2012 writing back from the future about all the changes that had happened since Obama took office.
Focus on the Family was surprisingly specific in terms of its expectations for American life in October 2012. Democrats would disband the Boy Scouts; 1st graders would receive "compulsory training in varieties of gender identity"; after-school Bible studies would be banned in high schools; the Hyde Amendment would be repealed and abortion rates would soar; all FCC restrictions on obscenities would be nullified; private gun ownership would be banned in several states; home schooling would be made illegal; and the "Fairness Doctrine" would be imposed.
On health care, Democrats would pass single-payer health care and the elderly would have their access to care cut off. All of this would happen in the midst of an oppressive society in which "hardly any brave citizen dares to resist the new government policies any more [sic]."
I can appreciate the desire to scare the bejesus out like-minded voters, but given that none of these things actually happened, hasn't Focus implicitly argued that evangelicals should be pleasantly surprised by Obama's presidency?
Regardless, before anyone takes conservatives' new predictions for the next four years seriously, perhaps folks should consider how close they were the last time around.
Postscript: I should mention that Focus on the Family also predicted that Obama would eliminate the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. And this one actually came true -- though the right's warnings about the consequences of DADT repeal were completely wrong.