A year ago, we predicted President Barack Obama would edge Mitt Romney 48-47 with 286 electoral votes, plus we’d get a Democratic Senate and Republican House; the numbers were a bit off, but who’s counting?
So plunging past the fiscal cliff, let’s look ahead:
January: House Speaker John Boehner casts deciding vote as House narrowly approves Democratic bill blocking most tax increases. Then, Boehner barely keeps speakership after 31 conservative Republicans abstain. Senate Democrats force rules changes to curb filibusters. Obama names retiring GOP Sens. Kay Bailey Hutchison and Olympia Snowe as ambassadors to Mexico and Canada. Senate Republicans launch filibusters blocking both.
February: Denver Broncos beat Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl. In State of the Union speech, Obama calls for reinstating assault weapons ban and national weapons registration. In GOP response, Boehner rejects it, saying the real problem is government spending. Texas Gov. Rick Perry proposes consolidating six state agencies.
March: Bipartisan agreement delaying massive spending cuts and raising debt ceiling ends two-month standoff. Boehner casts decisive vote in one-vote House approval after many Republicans say it allows too much spending. Mitt Romney moves to Salt Lake City amid rumors he hopes to head Mormon Church. Hillary Clinton accepts guest lectureship at University of Iowa but denies political motivation.
April: House-Senate deadlock on extending federal spending authority forces four-day shutdown. It ends after Obama Oval Office speech boosts his job approval to 59 percent. Freshman Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas criticizes GOP colleague John Cornyn for helping pass compromise spending measure. Jerry Jones trades Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo to Tennessee for Jake Locker and top draft choice.
May: Mark Sanford’s ex-wife edges Sanford in South Carolina special congressional election. Touting his reorganization plan to Austin Chamber of Commerce, Perry forgets names of agencies involved, prompting newspaper headlines: OOPS AGAIN! Senate approves renewal of assault weapons ban, rejects registration. Ex-Texas Ranger Josh Hamilton spurs Angels to 10-game lead in American League West.
June: Jon Huntsman edges Romney for Mormon post. Supreme Court rules, 5-4, Voting Rights Act no longer needed to combat voter discrimination. North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi promptly pass measures adopting strict Texas voter ID requirements. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy retires. Oklahoma City Thunder wins NBA.
July: Obama nominates Montana Appeals Judge Sidney Thomas to succeed Kennedy, noting the white Presbyterian University of Montana School of Law graduate would provide diversity on the all Eastern, Catholic and Jewish court. Senate Republicans question his credentials, noting he attended neither Harvard nor Yale. House Judiciary Committee Republicans kill Obama gun control measures, saying the real problem is spending.
August: Hillary Clinton accepts guest professorship at University of New Hampshire, denies political motivation. Attorney General Greg Abbott says he may seek Texas governorship. South Carolina plaintiffs petition Supreme Court to re-hear Voting Rights Act case.
September: Tagg Romney says father had “no desire” for Mormon post. Senate Judiciary Committee approves bipartisan immigration bill, but conservative GOP foes threaten filibuster. Stalemated hockey negotiations pass one-year mark. Senate narrowly approves Thomas.
October: Federal government shuts down after Congress deadlocks on annual funding bills. Washington Nationals beat Los Angeles Angels in World Series. Despite low job rating, Perry raises $20 million for re-election campaign. Supreme Court votes to re-hear Voting Rights case. Hockey players, still locked out, vote to form their own league.
November: Ending 31-day shutdown, Congress approves funding. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie re-elected, and ex-Democratic Chairman Terry McAuliffe wins Virginia. Senate passes immigration bill, but House Republicans say it would admit too many potential Democratic voters. Hillary Clinton says she has “no plans” to run for president. With Cowboys 2-9, Jones fires coach Jason Garrett.
December: Abbott says he’ll run for lieutenant governor. Democrats force immigration bill onto House floor, where it passes by three votes. Hockey owners offer settlement on all players’ terms except participation in Winter Olympics. Players reject offer. Hillary Clinton revives political action committee “to help fellow Democrats.” Congress adjourns with Boehner casting deciding vote after many House Republicans try to prolong session to cut spending.
Carl P. Leubsdorf is the former Washington bureau chief of the Dallas Morning News. Readers may write to him via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.