Now that a majority of Americans have given President Bush a
second term, it may be useful to know what he says he plans for the
next four years.

Bush has said he will continue with his five-point plan to help
“Iraq achieve democracy and freedom” by trying to
ensure Iraqi elections this January. But violence in Iraq threatens
the election, as some provinces may be too violent to establish
polling places.

To help pave the way for these elections, 142,000 U.S. soldiers
— the highest number since the end of major combat in May
2003 — continue to fight the insurgency and are preparing to
mount offensives in insurgent sanctuaries like Fallujah and Ramadi,
military leaders in Iraq report, according to the AP.

Bush said in his address to the Republican National Convention
in September that the goal of elections goes beyond simply creating
a government in Iraq.

“Free governments in the Middle East will fight terrorists
instead of harboring them, and that helps us keep the peace. So our
mission in Afghanistan and Iraq is clear: We will help new leaders
to train their armies, and move toward elections and get on the
path of stability and democracy as quickly as possible,” he
said.

Bush says he plans to use the U.S. army and NATO forces to train
about 260,000 Iraqi security personnel who will eventually be able
to fight alongside coalition forces and later protect the Iraqi
government after American forces leave. Americans and Iraqis have
already fought alongside each other, as two battalions of Iraqi
soldiers went into Samarra with U.S. troops in October.

In neighboring Iran, the Bush administration says it will try to
stop the Iranian nuclear program, which it and the United Nations
claim is being used to build nuclear weapons. The Iranians deny
they are working on a nuclear bomb, but they have entered into
talks with Britain, Germany and France to freeze uranium
enrichment.

“The international community must come together to make it
very clear to Iran that we will not tolerate the construction of a
nuclear weapon. Iran would be dangerous if they have a nuclear
weapon,” Bush said to a meeting of senators with both parties
in June of last year.

The threat of nuclear weapons will also remain an issue with
North Korea, as the president says he intends on pushing the
communist nation to rejoin disarmament talks with regional
leaders.

Closer to home, the White House says the next four years will
see an ambitious domestic policy agenda, with Bush’s
“ownership society” as its legislative centerpiece.

The plan aims to increase personal control of health care,
education and saving interests. It would use tax incentives and
structural changes to some programs. An example of the program
would be the so-called “privatization of Social
Security,” the establishment of personal accounts that would
allow younger Americans to invest a portion of their payroll tax,
which usually goes toward Social Security and Medicare payments
into private accounts like the stock market. Bush claims this would
allow them to yield a greater return on Social Security
payments.

The president may have an easier time achieving his goals as
Republicans managed to win four seats in the U.S. House of
Representatives last night and gained four seats in the Senate,
which they also control. The GOP now holds two of the three
branches of the federal government aand is likely to increase its
influence over the third with Bush nominations to the Supreme
Court. LSA junior Mike King says he thinks Republican control of
Congress will be influential for making Supreme Court
appointments.

“If the House, Senate and presidency are Republican, Bush
could appoint more conservative judges to the Supreme Court,”
he said.

The court of Chief Justice William Rehnquist is the longest
unchanged court in 190 years and one of the oldest, with an average
age of 70 for the justices. The next four years will likely see
anywhere from two to four justices stepping down — giving the
president the opportunity to replace them with more conservative
judges and shape U.S. constitutional interpretation for decades to
come.

If more conservative justices are nominated and confirmed by the
Senate, some say it may mean the end of abortion as a
constitutional right, a principle established by the court in 1973
landmark Roe v. Wade case. Similar social issues, such as same-sex
marriage and affirmative action, could be revisited if a more
conservative court remained relatively unchanged well into the
future.

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