Top of the Ticket

Political commentary from the LA Times

« Previous Post | Top of the Ticket Home | Next Post »

09-09-09: What Chinese numerology portends for Obama's speech tonight

September 9, 2009 |  9:10 am


Last year, the Chinese opened the gates to the Beijing Olympics on 8 p.m. of 08/08/08. According to Chinese numerology,  the  word for eight (bā) sounds similar to the word for wealth (fā), so it seemed like a prudent thing to do. Eager for a prosperous Olympics that would showcase a modern and vibrant China, the government took heed and programmed the opening ceremonies around the magic of 8.

This year is in some ways even more auspicious. Historically, the number 9 was the good luck charm of the Emperor of China, whose robes had nine dragons. The reason: the number 9 sounds like the word long-lasting. Cue the wedding music.

In Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, this morning, 500 couples participated in a mass wedding ceremony (above). In Shanghai, 5,000 couples registered to marry. In Beijing, 3,500 couples made online bookings  Even in Vegas, the Stratosphere was offering quickie weddings, hoping to marry off 99 couples at 9:09 p.m. for a fee of $99.09 each. (The Bellagio was offering a package too, but for $5,000, subject to availability.)

So we wondered what it means that President Obama plans to address Congress on 09-09-09, in hopes of bolstering support -- amid angry town hall meetings and politicians nervous about fading public support -- for health care reform.

Jerome Carter, an international numerologist and spiritual adviser who says he has predicted 18 of the last 19 World Series winners, argues that despite the magic of the date, 2009 will be a tough year for Obama. "It's not an easy year for anything he proposes," he said in a phone interview, adding that Obama will ultimately succeed. The reason? The 44th president was born on Aug. 4, under the sign of the four, a magical number in U.S. history.

Consider, says Carter: our first president was born on the 22nd, (2 plus 2 equals 4), we elect our presidents every four years, we pay taxes in the fourth month of every year, and there were 13 original colonies (1 plus 3 equals 4). So Obama's tussles with Congress over health care and other issues would overwhelm him, in the eyes of this numerologist, if not for the protection of the number 4.

As for 09/09/09, Carter said it's a reversal of 9/11, a powerful date for negotiation and diplomacy, but also of yin and yang, of right and left. "Today he could get crushed," Carter said. "He's saved by having that 4. It gives him an extra ace. If wasn't for that, he might as well pack it up. If he were a football team, I'd bet on him. That number gives him the edge."

Which may sound a bit far-fetched, but heck, it may be as prescient as any other political prediction. And anyway, Carter's views are shared by another star numerologist.

Tania Gabrielle, who calls herself the celebrity numerologist, just e-mailed that the universal number for 2009 is 11 (2 plus 9). "No. 11 literally looks like and symbolizes a gateway and signifies mastery, fearlessness -- or deep division," she wrote. "Thus the President Obama is risking greater division and unexpected events as a result of his big speech."

In short, she said, Obama's speech is "a major gamble" on a personal level, but on a global level "he has the potential to cement his leadership by exhibiting mastery and/or to create deep division."

Who knew?

-- Johanna Neuman

Photo: Couples in Malaysia getting married. Credit: Vincent Thian / Associated Press

No matter what number you were born under, click here for Twitter alerts of each new Ticket item. Or follow us @latimestot