Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: Talking Point
Front Page 
World 
UK 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
Forum 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 

Tuesday, 23 January, 2001, 14:56 GMT
President Bush: Where should his priorities lie?

George W Bush has been inaugurated as the 43rd President of the United States.

Amid signs of an economic slowdown, his start in office won't be easy. He is facing a divided nation to which he has to sell his concept of "compassionate conservatism".

He will also have to deal with the continuing violence in the Middle East and other crisis in the world. And he has to convince America's allies who have deep reservations about the national missile defence system.

With this multitude of issues to be tackled, where should he start? What should George W Bush's priorities be?

HAVE YOUR SAY

Mr Bush needs to concentrate on the areas he cares least about

Jasmine Guha, Austin, Texas, USA
Mr Bush needs to concentrate on the areas he cares least about: healthcare and the environment. Instead of silly tax cuts, it would be nice to see the money used to create a much fairer and more efficient healthcare system that is accessible by ALL. Also it would be nice for someone in his position to acknowledge that American consumption levels are absurdly high and it's not MORE oil etc that we need, but LESS consumption. The American standard of living comes at the expense of quality of life, and at the HUGE expense of the environment. If Mr Bush spent less time pandering to the oil industry and a bit more time pondering the environmental challenges this planet faces - that would be a start!
Jasmine Guha, Austin, Texas, USA

He should pray!
Mr Wilson, Great Britain

One of his first priorities should be to reform or abolish the Electoral College system, so that the farce of the last election is not repeated. The popular vote should be the deciding factor in a presidential election.
Nick Cooper, UK

President Bush should rethink tax cuts because if these are carried out it will greatly reduce US aid to Africa which we desperately need to help us build our economies. Visiting Africa as a Republican US President will be motivating because we need your support.
Shula Makoselo, Zambia

It is January 23, 2001 - only the third day since Bush was sworn in. Already he has blocked any federal funding for abortion while he had no problem lining them up to die on Texas death row. I hope the people of this country are ready for who they voted for...
Jennifer Elaina, USA

"It's the environment, stupid."
Graham, USA


It would be good to see the tax money used to create a fairer and efficient healthcare system

Jasmine Guha, Austin, Texas, USA
Mr Bush needs to concentrate on the areas he cares least about: healthcare and the environment, instead of silly tax cuts. It would be good to see the tax money used to create a much fairer and more efficient healthcare system which is accessible to all. Also it would be nice to someone in his position to acknowledge that American consumption levels are absurdly high and it's not more oil etc that we need, but less consumption. The American standard of living comes at the expense of quality of life, and at the huge expense of the environment. If Mr Bush spent less time pandering to the oil industry and a bit more time pondering the environmental challenges this planet faces - that would be a start!
Jasmine Guha, Austin, Texas, USA

The question is irrelevant - he's already decided that counselling a woman after an abortion is more immoral than restarting the arms race. He is beyond hope.
Guy Chapman, UK

I think Bush should pull American troops out of Europe. This represents a ridiculous and unneeded expenditure in the post-cold-war world. It is time for America to disengage from the world, to rebuild our cities and schools, take care of our poor, perhaps begin to dream again about the human adventure in space. The Europeans and Asians are old enough to take care of themselves.
Matthew F. Talbot, USA

George W. Bush may not appear to be the most educated man to hold the Presidency, but he is not a stupid man. Stupid men do not earn MBA degrees from Harvard University. He has chosen experienced and capable advisors. Bush needs to restore faith in the integrity of the office of the president, he needs to keep the economy strong, he needs to find a way for all Americans to get affordable health care, and he needs a credible foreign policy. Colin Powell is going to be a very strong Secretary of State, and will shape US foreign policy - with him at the helm, I have no doubt that the US will have a credible and proactive foreign policy.
Hunter Hutchinson, Herndon, Virginia, USA

Education is the way to go, however school vouchers are not the way to go. Most of the schools that have the worst academic reputations are also the schools in the poorest neighbourhoods, and often don't have adequate school supplies, generally get poorer quality teachers. Instead of attempting to take more money away from these schools, perhaps he could invest the money that he plans to spend on more weapons to educate our young people.
Emma, US

Mr. Bush should realise that there's something out there which is not called America, where he's not in power and that those few people have the right to live on this globe as well. So Mr. Bush and America, can you please stop acting like there's nothing but America in this world. Stop wasting fuels and resources like there is no tomorrow, because if you continue like that there will be no tomorrow.
Volker, England (ex Germany)


A constitutional amendment to abolish the Electoral College and directly elect the president

Edward Haworth, UK
Electoral reform - a constitutional amendment to abolish the Electoral College and directly elect the president. Statehood for Washington DC. Standardisation of ballots and voting machines across the entire USA. Sign the McCain campaign finance reform bill.
Edward Haworth, UK

Never be dishonest with the American people. When you make a mistake, openly admit it and move on, allowing no cover-up scandals. Use opinion polls as a tool to assess your effectiveness at communicating ideas, not as a means of determining your future positions. Be humble, giving credit where it is due. Be assertive, while remaining respectful of your opposition. In short, ask yourself what Clinton would do, then do the exact opposite.
Michael Katter, Dallas, Texas, USA

Why does Bush need to spend more on the military? Who exactly is going to attack them? The only country with enough firepower is China, and why would China attack it's biggest customer in cheaply made electronics and goods. Bush really needs to face the issues that the world has to deal with not just the privileged few - stop polluting our planet, we all need to breathe, not just oilmen.
Miles Cheverton, Great Britain

I'm not a patriotic person, and I am well aware that there are plenty of areas in which the US leads the world - but I feel I should respond to Nick Schutz when he states that Bush should not aspire to copy the UK - if only because the examples he used were so misplaced. As far as I am aware US unemployment levels aren't much different to those in the UK . Our healthcare system may be flawed, but at least all the population has access to it.
Tom Whipple, UK

Specific policy priorities: enact the conservative agenda that half the voters endorsed. Tax cuts, education reform (school vouchers), reinvestment in the armed forces, medicare and social security reform. Just as important: restore a sense of integrity and honour in the White House. George W. Bush is precisely the man who can accomplish all this and. That is why he won the election.
Peter C. Kohler, USA

What should George W Bush's priorities be? Education, education, education. Preferably starting with his own!
Merx England, UK


It would be a good idea to go on a state visit to both Russia and China as soon as possible

Alex Banks, Wales/Sweden
I think it would be a good idea to go on a state visit to both Russia and China as soon as possible and before he goes anywhere else. Putin could do with the support and China will respect him much more if he visits them before they have to visit him. This will show that he is capable of maintaining the current diplomatic ties that America enjoys and respects. He is weak in international affairs and he needs to rapidly prove that he can cut the mustard.
Alex Banks, Wales/Sweden

Mr. Bush will need a magic wand if he thinks he can cut taxes but increase the quality of U.S. education and health care. To Herr Schutz; Britain may have lines at their hospitals, at least no-one is turned away for not having insurance. How many western industrialised nations does Herr Schutz know that have the same percentage of uninsured (and undernourished) children as the USA? Not many I would say. But the most important thing that Bush should do is to tell the US electorate that the States is just one nation on this planet and that the current consumption of resources is beyond reason.
Jose Fernandez, Nertherlands

Despite the poverty, health and education problems on his doorstep, Bush will push ahead with massive military spending, oil and gas exploration and further "cutting back the state". His election is a key step in the continuing collapse of the sound social and economic systems built up over the last 100 years.
Neil Gall, Scotland


In Australia we are happy with Bush

Mosley, Australia
In Australia we are happy with Bush. He and some of the administration gave us more than a mention and have signalled that he is willing to improve trade and give us support in our region. There are growing problems in the islands above us Java, Aceh, West Papua, and the East Timor border, not to mention China showing off all the time. And we have a growing market in "people" and "drug" smuggling. We are happy to be a firm ally of the United States of America. If their military and aid money are not wanted elsewhere, we are happy to have them here in our region
Mosley, Australia

Bush's priorities should lie in having a successful democratic process for elections and making sure that everyone's vote is counted.
Brian Stevenson, England

Accept that self-defence using deadly force if necessary is a fundamental right and don't listen to the liberal hand wringers who say otherwise. Accept that there will always be rich and poor, but give everyone a fair chance to improve their own life. Try to keep hold of the Middle East situation but accept that bombs aren't always the answer. And finally, but most important (to me at least) is help us get rid of the bunch of clowns we call our Government.
John B, UK


Mingle with the underprivileged masses whom you were hired to serve

Paul Bryant, USA
As a homeless American, I would hope that Mr Bush has already defined his priorities during his inaugural address, particularly with regard to promoting opportunity and dignity for impoverished Americans. My only suggestion to him is this: Do not attempt to combat poverty by consulting arrogant academics, ignorant economists, media talking-heads, or cabinet officers whose closest brush with poverty was being forced to drive their own limousine when their chauffeur took ill. Instead, mingle with the underprivileged masses whom you were hired to serve and learn the reality of poverty, its causes and effects, from those who are actually qualified to speak on the subject. Do this, and you will have no doubt where your priorities as a worthy President must lie.
Paul Bryant, USA

Bush's first priority should be an English as a Second Language class so I don't have to cringe with embarrassment for myself and my fellow Americans as he struts around the world stage.
Amanda Bradley, Washington, USA

Bush owes a big debt to his supporters in the oil, motorcar, mineral and forestry business. It's payback time.
Dave, UK

Priorities should begin at home.
Agha Ata, USA


Bush needs to concentrate on repairing the damage done during the election

Peter Bolton, UK in US
I think that Bush needs to concentrate on repairing the damage done during the election. He needs to unite the people.
Peter Bolton, UK in US

From an Australian point of view, one of Mr Bush's achievements could be the bi-lateral trade agreement with the United States our Prime Minister John Howard is pushing for
Mathew Williams, Australia

Bush needs to know that the middle east problems are not going to go away and that he has inherited one of the most difficult tasks one being the arab-israel relationship that could rock his chair and the other Saddam Hussein, both intertwined could set the "bushes" on fire and be his downfall.
Colin Eric nelson, Kuwait

President Bush should focus more on rejuvenating the economy by tax cuts for the middle income group. Education should be also the one he needs to look after. Traditionally Republicans are more focussed on Defence and less on Public service, but as a proponent of compassionate conservatism, I think he should try to balance the two!
Srimal, USA

Er, to coin a phrase: It's the economy, stupid! Stuff that up, and the rest of the world suffers with the US (and I wouldn't then rate his chances for s second term).
Howard J. Rogers, Australia


Bush's first priority should be in reorganising the American military

Michael Russell, USA
I think Bush's first priority should be in reorganising the American military. It is in terrible shape and the previous administration never had a clearly defined strategy. Next, he should push for his tax cut and third start implementation on his education program. These are issues that he ran on and some of the things that the US must concentrate on as it continues to adapt to a Post-Cold War world.
Michael Russell, USA

Bush should continue the work of Clinton, and realise that we now live in a world where co-operation with others is more important than ever.
Mark, England

Bush needs to deal with the energy crisis which is having drastic repercussions on the whole US economy, not just California. The beloved of the left wing Clinton did absolutely nothing to deal with this. Perhaps Bush can allow for more exploration and drilling of oil and gas reserves, and the lessening of regulations on the building of new power plants. The left wing may not want to believe it but these things can be done without destroying the environment.
Liz, USA

Indeed, Britain's Health care system and economy are not comparable to the US. Despite taking in far more immigrants, the US continues to lead the world. In science, health care, and democracy there is no comparison. It is amusing to read about how we need to become more like Britain. Are you hoping we can increase unemployment? Perhaps we can reduce innovation and create longer waits for health care services? Are you afraid of an American leader with integrity? Perhaps Europe will have to take responsibility for its region and stop relying on its big brother.
Nick Schutz, USA

I think that Bush should keep the tax rates the same to spend more on public services. Each election a party always says we'll cut the taxes and every time the public services suffer. In the UK the high taxes have led to the biggest budget ever. That budget every year could solve everything.
Andrew Hopkins, UK


Whatever happens, Bush will need to tread carefully

John B. Fanning , UK
George W. Bush needs to review a lot of his policies. The health care system in the USA is no comparison to that of Britain, perhaps considering making it a more fair health service for the whole nation to enjoy, preferably without having to carry money around with them in case of accidents. I think President Bush needs to look into his relationships with other countries as well as his own, and decide where he stands with them. Defence may also be a key policy, making America more militarily able as well as diplomatic in terms of crisis. Whatever happens, Bush will need to tread carefully, he has quite a good team underneath him, but any moves that could disrupt the economy and unemployment levels of America could prove fatal. He may be a good President, but I still would have chosen Al Gore. Perhaps by 2004 my opinion may well have altered to favour the new president.
John B. Fanning , UK

Ignorance may be bliss for a private citizen; knowledge and mastery of detail is power for a political leader. Mr Bush knows not he knows not; if he learns to know he knows not, that will be achievement enough!
Mohansingh, India

Send us your comments:
Name:

Your E-mail Address:


Country:

Comments:

Disclaimer: The BBC will put up as many of your comments as possible but we cannot guarantee that all e-mails will be published. The BBC reserves the right to edit comments that are published.
Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
BBC RADIO NEWS
BBC ONE TV NEWS
WORLD NEWS SUMMARY
PROGRAMMES GUIDE

Inauguration:

Bush presidency:

PICTURE GALLERIES

Texts and transcripts:

AUDIO VIDEO

TALKING POINT
See also:

20 Jan 01 | Americas
Bush takes presidential oath
20 Jan 01 | Americas
Bush address extracts
20 Jan 01 | UK Politics
'No change' in US-UK relations
19 Jan 01 | Americas
Clinton escapes Lewinsky charges
20 Jan 01 | Americas
Doubts remain about Florida vote