- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The year 2011 has drawn to an end, and as I look back, I see several of my predictions that appear pretty sound. President Obama is dead in the water and will be beaten in 2012. I have made that prediction over and again this year, and I think it will be borne out. Another observation that I have made is that liberalism is dead. By the coming election, it will be the rare psephologist who fails to notice. The occasional MSNBC political analyst may still think liberalism is full of brag and bounce after the Nov. 6 elections, as will the Sunday-morning news know-it-alls, but after those elections, with the Senate and the presidency added to the Republicans’ trophy chest, I think my observation will be commonly accepted.

The liberals of yesteryear are history. Those who call themselves liberals today are zombies, the living dead of the left. Their new taxonomic classification is crony capitalist, according to which winners are picked by the government and showered with government subsidies. Thus has gobbled up ever more of American commerce. Alas, Mr. Obama’s early crony capitalists have a dreadful record. Consider the electric automobile or the solar-power sector of the economy, companies like Solyndra - egad! The American people’s limits have been reached. Crony capitalism, too, is dead or at least moribund.

So was I always right in 2011? Unfortunately, not at all. Those who noticed the optimistic tone of my pronouncements regarding Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s chances for the presidency in late spring and early summer must know I was too optimistic by half. In fact, I was dead wrong. Let me be man enough to admit it.

Back then I saw Mr. Perry declaring his candidacy by the end of August, and so far so good. I said he would be very impressive, speaking authoritatively and sonorously on all the important issues of the day to us conservatives. By January 2012 he would have swept the field. Only a well-heeled Mitt Romney would be prepared to challenge him, and perhaps the indefatigable Rep. Ron Paul. It would be a pathetic sight, with a smiling, congenial Mr. Perry proceeding to the summer Republican National Convention and taking the nomination.

Well, Mr. Perry did not sweep into 2012. He tripped repeatedly in the fall after a promising declaration of candidacy. He faltered in debate and had those embarrassing brain seizures in front of the cameras where all could see. He was a solid conservative, but on some things, he was too solid, and he was rarely well-informed. Frankly, I came to the conclusion that sometime in the summer he awoke and thought he should be president, so why not make a run for it? His state was being promoted, rightly, as the economy that works in contrast to California the economy that failed, that hated business and wandered without a purpose. Mr. Perry had been good for Texas and could be good for America. The 2012 election was going to be about the economy, and the governor of Texas was the man to take on Mr. Obama.

Actually, he might well be a man to take on Mr. Obama, but he has shown himself not to be prepared for the race just yet. In Texas it is said he never won a debate and never lost a race. Yet he is beyond Texas now. Today he is campaigning for the presidency, and he entered the race as though it were a lark. He has shown the capacity to learn on the campaign trail, but I am not sure the trail is long enough. We will soon see.

R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. is founder and editor-in-chief of the American Spectator and an adjunct scholar at the Hudson Institute. His most recent book is “After the Hangover: The Conservatives’ Road to Recovery.”