A year ago, we predicted that Texas Gov. Rick Perry would beat Bill White for re-election and that Congress would pass President Barack Obama’s health care bill. But we failed to see that a lagging economic recovery would mean Republicans would win back the U.S. House and make big Senate gains.
Undaunted, we tackle 2011:
January: Fox News announces that Sarah Palin’s son, Track, will participate in new reality series “Fishing with the Stars.” Gov. Rick Perry says he’s not interested in running for president. Borrowing a page from Bill Clinton, Obama tells Congress “the age of big government is over.” House Speaker John Boehner leans forward, adding “Amen.”
February: New Orleans Saints successfully defend Super Bowl championship. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison delays re-election plans to concentrate on seeking budget cuts. Obama budget adopts most of debt commission proposals, angering Democrats. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says he’ll filibuster any cuts to Social Security or Medicare. The House votes to repeal Obama health care act.
March: Ten Republicans create presidential exploratory committees; Palin delays candidacy, pending completion of second season of “Sarah Palin’s Alaska.” Perry, in Iowa to promote book, says he won’t run in 2012. Obama names Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, new defense secretary. Dallas Cowboys bypass Jason Garrett and name Norv Turner new coach.
April: MSNBC announces former Palin son-in-law-to-be Levi Johnston will participate in new version of “Family Feud” and invites former Alaska first dude Todd Palin to oppose him; he refuses. Arizona Sen. John McCain denounces Graham as “too liberal” and threatens filibuster. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott announces he’ll challenge Hutchison. Texas Rangers open season with 10 straight wins.
May: Perry’s book tour reaches New Hampshire, where he says he won’t run in 2012. Iraqi leaders announce tentative agreement on new government. Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich win first GOP presidential debate. House rejects raising federal debt ceiling, threatening government shutdown. Hutchison delays candidacy because of budget crisis.
June: After four-day federal shutdown, House approves debt-ceiling increase by one vote. Hutchison announces she’ll seek fourth term, saying fiscal crisis requires her to break two-term pledge. Redskins trade QB Donovan McNabb and lineman Albert Haynesworth to Cowboys for future draft choices. Democratic filibuster blocks Senate action on House bill repealing Obama health care act. Dallas Mavericks upset Miami Heat in NBA Finals, but Dallas Stars lose Stanley Cup to Pittsburgh Penguins.
July: Unemployment rate drops to 8.9 percent. Former DNC Chair Howard Dean calls that unacceptable and says he may challenge Obama. House votes to cut off funds to implement Obama health care act. Senate confirms Graham as defense secretary. Obama announces plans for August vacation in Iowa.
August: Willow Palin elected Miss Teen America. Obama announces that 1,000 U.S. troops will leave Afghanistan, leaving total at 97,000. Former Minnesota Sen. Tim Pawlenty edges South Dakota Sen. John Thune in Iowa GOP straw poll.
September: Howard Dean named new HHS secretary, as Kathleen Sebelius becomes Treasury secretary. Rep. Darrell Issa, R-California, announces investigation of circumstances surrounding nomination; Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell announces GOP will hold it up. Rangers clinch AL West title. Senate rejects House effort to cut off funds to implement health care act.
October: Former Wisconsin Sen. Russ Feingold says he is exploring challenge to Obama. House censures Rep. Michele Bachmann for leaking Intelligence Committee documents to Fox News commentator Sarah Palin. Boston Red Sox eliminate Texas Rangers in AL Championship Series, then knock out Cliff Lee in seventh game to beat Philadelphia Phillies in World Series.
November: Palin announces she won’t seek presidency, urges Perry to run. He accepts and joins GOP race, naming Karl Rove as chief strategist. Obama celebrates Thanksgiving in New Hampshire.
December: Feingold named ambassador to Canada; Issa launches investigation. Supreme Court rules individual mandate in health care bill unconstitutional by 5-4 vote. Iraqi leaders announce tentative agreement on new government.
By Carl Leubsdorf
Carl P. Leubsdorf is the former Washington bureau chief of the Dallas Morning News. Readers may write to him via e-mail at: email@example.com ― Ed.
(The Dallas Morning News)
(McClatchy-Tribune Information Services)