Prepare to Be Blindsided in 2016

This handout picture dated 18 Nov. shows the French police special forces RAID (Research, Assistance, Intervention, Deterrence) and BRI (Research and Intervention Brigades) during a raid in an apartment in Saint Denis / AP

Target: Paris. More than 130 die in a terrorist attack on a Friday night in November. No one sees it coming. Global panic ensues.

Suddenly the nation debates the future of the Syrian refugee program. Terrorism jumps to the front of voters’ minds. National security becomes the defining issue of the 2016 election. No one sees that coming, either.

The Prisoner of Obama


They’re not kidding when they say it’s difficult to hold the White House for three terms in a row. So much depends on the incumbent: Is he deemed a success or a failure? Is he loved or derided? The candidate seeking to replace a president of his own party is betting the country doesn’t want to change. Bush 41 bet correctly—in 1988. Al Gore and John McCain did not.

The Ryan Revolution

Paul Ryan

Rumble in the Jungle this was not.

On one side: Paul Ryan, who said he’d only run for speaker of the House if Republicans were unified, open to reforms, and respectful of his family life. On the other: the House Freedom Caucus, which had influenced John Boehner’s decision to retire and Kevin McCarthy’s withdrawal from consideration. The Freedom Caucus had a reputation. Combative, aggrieved, empowered.

The Obama Intifada

Mideast Israel Palestinians

More than 30 dead in Israel as Palestinians armed with knives attack innocents. What’s responsible? A campaign of incitement, which slanderously accuses Jews of intruding on the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem and murdering Arab children in cold blood.

And who is legitimizing this campaign? None other than Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority, whom President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry have long held up as a peacemaker. “I think nobody would dispute that whatever disagreements you may have with him, he has proven himself to be somebody who has committed to nonviolence and diplomatic efforts to resolve this issue,” Obama told writer Jeffrey Goldberg in 2014.

The Coming Defeat of NATO

Vladimir Putin

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization, established in 1949, has 28 members devoted to the idea of collective security. Prediction: By the time President Obama leaves office in 2017, the NATO pledge of mutual defense in response to aggression will have been exposed as worthless. Objectively the alliance will have ceased to exist. The culprits? Vladimir Putin—and Barack Obama.

‘It’s a F—ing Bitch, Man’

Scott Walker

One day after Scott Walker dropped out of the presidential race, the Politico headline read: “Walker’s campaign manager unloads.” The same day, the Washington Post had an article, “Inside the collapse of Scott Walker’s presidential bid,” which also drew heavily from Walker’s campaign manager, GOP consultant Rick Wiley. It’s almost as if Wiley had an agenda.

Time to Wet the Bed

Hillary Rodham Clinton,

In early July, during another rough patch for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, Dan Pfeiffer took to CNN to reassure his party. Pfeiffer used to be President Obama’s top communications aide. The title of his op-ed was “Stop the bed-wetting: Hillary Clinton’s doing fine.” Bed-wetting, Pfeiffer explained, “is a term of art in Obamaland.” Ah, the president and his acolytes. Such sophisticates.