In the run up to the 2004 American presidential election we asked a panel of voters to share their views and predictions ahead of the outcome. Here, on Inauguration Day, they look ahead to President George W Bush's second term.
Bush has seemed quieter in the days since his re-election.
MEET THE PANEL
Name: Rhonda Buie
Lives: Arlington, Washington
In 10 words or less:
"Wife, student, amateur artist, imperfect and independent observer"
The reshuffling of so many cabinet members, along with his party's power in the House and Senate, make me even more sceptical of him.
He won't have to talk much anymore to get what he wants it seems. Checks and balances are a thing of the past apparently.
People are talking here about the ethnic and gender diversity of the cabinet members Bush has chosen.
That is all well and good. However, I am more concerned about what they will or won't do while in office. I find that a much more important matter than what they look like.
I can't say that I expect anything in particular from Bush's second term.
I find myself merely hoping that whatever he has planned won't cause too much damage.
Since he seems to be talking about domestic issues a bit more, I'm expecting any major changes to occur at home.
I currently have a dim view of where the US is heading between now and 2008. In foreign policy, things can't get much worse.
Domestically, I'm hoping that things don't turn into the kind of mess that was made out of foreign policy in Bush's previous term.
Amen, Rhonda! I couldn't have said it better myself. The only thing you forgot was Bush's fostering of exclusiveness and the labelling of those who disagree with him as disloyal to the country and unpatriotic. He has successfully turned the world against the United States and unified extremists around the world in their hatred of us. Ironically, a huge tragedy on the scale of the Asian tsunami has helped show how different the U.S. people's actions are from those of its governments.
David Nihsen, Omaha, USA
If checks and balances are a thing of the past, then Rhonda should blame a little thing called democracy. The people elected the President, the Congress and the Senate. No wonder Democrats of the moonbat variety like Rhonda hate the people so much.
Craig Gerrard, Liverpool, UK
I completely agree with Rhonda. I look at what he has done during the first four years and I pray that we can get through the next four. I also have to comment on spending 40 million dollars for the inauguration. He's fond of calling himself a 'wartime president'. For this reason alone, I feel that such an ostentatious display is in very poor taste. I wonder if he thinks of how many troops died today, or how many tomorrow, when he's doing the Texas two-step at all the balls.
Margie Wheeler, Gahanna, Ohio, USA.
As a US citizen, I can tell you Rhonda's comments are a typical response from Democrats who are still mired between disbelief and mourning that Bush has indeed won re-election. I am confident in Bush's leadership, his experienced cabinet, and expect to see continued progress in domestic issues as well as some day (many years from now) to say the upheaval in Iraq - though messy and less than ideal - will be looked upon as a victory in the battle to establish democracy throughout the world.
Tom, Milwaukee, WI. USA
Rhonda is right to be worried. The irresponsibility and lack of accountability that are the defining characteristics of the Bush administration are now being turned inward. The pillaging of Social Security by Wall Street campaign contributors, the inevitable military draft due to the illegal war waged on Iraq, and the final assault on our environmental laws will be the George W. Bush legacy.
Tom Atkinson, Seattle, USA
There is dismay that Bush and his henchmen are going to drag us into another boondoggle in Iran. Last year I noted to friends that Iran was then basically surrounded by US forces between Iraq and Afghanistan. I then started to fear what is (now) becoming more of a reality: soon war with Iran? Who will stop the Pretender Bush? Will it take other countries and former allies declaring war on the USA? Our country appears to be continuing on an extremely reckless course. Remember many (including myself) didn't vote for the pretender Bush. The voice of reason is not in Washington. The only way (I feel) Bush could have won was in stealing the election. Remember world - Bush represents the power of the US - not the majority of its citizens. Sorrowfully- an ex-pat in his own country.
Thomas, Chicago, IL USA
I agree with Rhonda. I used to be a Republican - until it became a religion. I can't believe the fiscal, diplomatic and bloody mess this administration has brought upon us. This is a very dark day in the history of the USA and it will be a miracle if we recover from it. God help us all!
Steve Mcfarland, Groton Ma.,USA
The USA is once again leading timid allies in a just cause. Britain has stood by us, but Germany, France, Spain, Italy etc. all "talk a good game for a perfect world", but never want to shoulder any expense or effort. Spain thinks the terrorists won't bother them again-ah, right you are! All the PollyAnnas should go start a "constructive dialog" with North Korea.
Rick Frysinger, Austin, Texas
I think that President Bush will go down in history as one of the best American presidents. He has been a forceful leader against terrorism. The opposition to the President is very hard for me to comprehend.
Norman Teigen, Hopkins MN USA
The election now was 2-1/2 months ago, but Ms. Buie's comments are mired in the muck of morning of November 2, before a vote had been counted and Democrats still believed they had a chance. In the cold light of day, however, George W. Bush did indeed win the election, by more than three million votes. Those on the other side of the aisle just can't reconcile themselves to this fact ... and the hoped-for ramifications, namely Chief Justice Scalia, Secretary of State Rice and a more conservative Supreme Court. For those of us who suffered through eight years of William Jefferson Clinton, however, I do have one encouraging insight: In just four years, we get to do it all over again. Cheers!
Logan Anderson, Lynchburg, Virginia
"In this time of war against Osama bin Laden and the oppressive Taliban regime, we are thankful that our leader isn't the spoiled son of a powerful politician from a wealthy oil family who is supported by religious fundamentalists, operates through clandestine organizations, has no respect for the democratic electoral process, bombs innocents, and uses war to deny people their civil liberties. Amen." - Aaron McGruder says it all
Theo Bruening, Boston
I do not like being called a moonbat. What is that? We have a democracy in USA, at least that's what it said the last time I looked. And now you can see what we are up against here. We have a president who thinks God speaks to him and him alone, and if we disagree...we are moonbats? Sorry world, I guess we just have to wait for the rest of the world to come and rescue us & our Democracy...love to you all...Mary, one of the moonbats
Mary Antonelli, San Francsico USA
No offence Craig Gerrard, but what are you suggesting? We overturn and revolt against our democratic government? Besides, We don't have direct elections, we have an electoral collage. We don't live in a pure democracy, we live in a republic. For more information on that, read the Federalist Papers 10 and 11. I definitely don't agree with it, but it's what we've got for now. Rhonda doesn't hate people, she's just disappointed with the system.
Sekou, Seattle, US
Democrats have not emerged out of the shock of Mr. Bush's re-election. So, naturally it is all unrelieved gloom and doom for them. They are also trying to find ways to sustain vicious hatred of Mr. Bush throughout his second term. They still believe that he has stolen the election once again. Only God can help these people.
Rajeswari Nanduri, Hyderabad, India
I am worried about where we are headed. Still in shock over the election, I can't understand where the 51% of the population has been. We are the cause of much pain and suffering in the world. It's time to start thinking globally instead of the typical isolated American view. The only good thing about Mr. Bush being elected again is that our constitution will boot him out after four more years. Time to start writing to our congressmen and women to oppose anything this man does. Write, call, and write and call some more.
Anna Mae Erickson, Williamsburg, VA
I am certainly sympathetic to Rhonda's angle but I have to disagree on one point: checks and balances are far from dead. True, the Republican agenda may not face much opposition at the moment, but what are a few years in the life of a nation? The American people still have the vote and if they don't like what happens in the next four years then surely the political makeup of government will start leaning leftward again. The truth is that, despite the screeching on both sides of the political spectrum, the left no more "hates America" than the right hates the rest of the world. Over-inflated talk of mandates aside, Bush was re-elected by the skin of his teeth and the next election could easily swing in the other direction.
Alexander Wille, American living in Kakamigahara, Japan