Certain New Year's predictions about our political noisemakers might require a crystal ball. Others are safe to make without one. Here are a few of the second type that look especially reliable for 2014:
-- Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton won't discourage the seemingly endless drumbeat of speculation about her plans for 2016. If the Democratic former first lady plans to run for president again, the suspense could prove useful in building and consolidating support. If she doesn't, it would still maintain her marketability for speeches, books, etc.
-- Pretty much the same logic should apply on the Republican side to former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. He has signaled that he'd decide next year whether to run. Whether American voters are ready or not, professional guessers, Washington-watchers, and party players seem to consider the Clinton and Bush families a bottomless barrel of ratings potential -- like a perpetual rivalry between the Addams Family and the Munsters, if less comical.
-- Democratic Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, seeking re-election next November, will brace for Republican statements about how the upstate economy remains dismal, how Albany's culture goes unreformed, how taxes remain high. Cuomo will hew to the narrative that he and the legislature brought the state out of crisis post-Sandy and post-recession, fought to control spending and cap or reduce tax burdens, and how continued progress demands his re-election.
If the GOP chooses Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino as their candidate, comparisons will inevitably be made to the late Andrew O'Rourke, the previous Republican Westchester executive, who faced the governor's father, Gov. Mario M. Cuomo, in the latter's first re-election race and lost.
-- Expect more noise to emanate from accustomed celebrity "news" sources, and expect none of it to affect public life. Examples: Donald Trump, Eliot Spitzer, Carl Paladino, Anthony Weiner, Roger Stone, Al Sharpton.
-- Libertarians of all stripes will manage to refrain from mourning the end of Michael Bloomberg's New York City mayoralty. Sticklers for Fourth Amendment restrictions against unreasonable searches have battled him in court over so-called stop-and-frisk practices. Second Amendment adherents, especially outside the city, have looked negatively upon his national gun-control efforts. Still others remember the administration's widely alleged abridgment of First Amendment free-assembly guarantees during the 2004 GOP presidential convention.