Phil Harriman (left) and Ethan Strimling, BDN Agree to Disagree bloggers. Credit: Gabor Degre | BDN

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Ethan: With the year coming to a close, it’s time to determine who did better in our 21 predictions for 2021. Might I suggest we bring in outside help?

Phil: Whom do you suggest?

Ethan: How about our editor, Susan Young? She’s pretty tough.

Phil: That works for me. Susan, any chance?

Susan: As long as you two agree to my rules, which is just one rule: My rulings are final.

Ethan: As I said, tough.

Susan: For Phil’s first three predictions on federal issues, he got zero correct.

Phil: Ouch.

Susan: Phil predicted that proof would show Dominion Software manipulated the presidential race, that Joe Biden would be implicated in his son Hunter’s troubles and that a foreign cyber-attack would disable state services. None of that happened. That said, I’ll give Phil one point for his commitment to conspiracy theories.

Phil: History just hasn’t spoken yet!

Susan: As for Ethan, he didn’t do much better on his federal predictions. Although Biden did pass a stimulus, your prediction of $750 billion was way too low. While Nancy Pelosi has hinted she might not run for re-election, reports are conflicting. And while we did, sadly, surpass 500,000 dead from COVID, as predicted, you were fortunately way short of the 800,000-plus we will bury by year end. I’ll give you one point.

Ethan: I can’t believe I lost points for predictions that were too conservative!

Susan: As for your state predictions, Ethan, you did a little better. Craig Hickman did win his state Senate race, Mainers voted down the CMP corridor and Gov. Janet Mills did not raise taxes to balance the budget.

Phil: He only got that last one because the federal government bailed her out.

Susan: Three points for Strim. Phil, you did not fare as well on your State House predictions. The Legislature didn’t add a tax to the seafood industry or reduce subsidies to wind and solar power. Nor did Mills propose tax relief for small businesses that was blocked by Democrats. So, zero points.

Ethan: Phil has never understood Democrats.

Susan: That puts the mayor at four points. The senator at one. Moving to municipal predictions, while I will give Phil a point for creativity, predicting teacher strikes, the closing of Wyman Station and municipalities dropping mil rates as if an economic depression was about to occur was a bit too dystopian.

Phil: To hear Democrats describe the last administration, I felt I was being downright optimistic.

Susan: As for Portland predictions for Strimling, you were correct that the Portland city council failed to repeal rent control, the court upheld hazard pay (mostly), and a majority of the elected Charter Commissioners did say they support eliminating the city manager; 2.5 points.

Ethan: I just hope the charter commissioners live up to their campaign promises.

Susan: Finally, while you both were correct that Tom Brady would win more games than Bill Belichick and the Giants wouldn’t make the playoffs, based on current standings, you were wrong on your wild-card predictions of a 10 percent increase in babies and that Janet Mills, Chellie Pingree or Jared Golden would announce they were not running for re-election. In fact, I’m taking that half point away from Ethan for that last one. Silly.

Phil: If I am correct, that leaves Ethan as the winner with a score of 7 to my 3. Shall I resign?

Susan: No, but a combined 10 points out of possible 21 leaves me wondering, aren’t you two supposed to be professionals?

Ethan: Hey, the best baseball hitters fail 70 percent of the time!

Phil: Besides, next week’s column will be our chance for redemption with 22 predictions for 2022!

Susan: Thanks guys. I’m going to go do some real work.