From the brutal race for the white house to massive revampment for homeland security, as we say adieu to 2004 and its political firestorms, FNC political correspondent Brian Wilson wraps up the year, and forecasts what's brewing ahead for 2005.
Your pick for the most fascinating political figure of 2004.
Fascinating means "extremely interesting," so I have to say that Howard Dean and Arnold Schwarzenegger are my picks for the most fascinating individuals to appear on the political stage this year. Howard Dean wowed a lot of people with his ability to raise money and connect with those who had never been politically active. The "Dean Scream" alone is enough to put him in this category. “Ah-nold” shocked and stunned many detractors by overcoming his action hero image. He has continued to impress many by mastering the details of governing after his election.
The 2004 race for the White House — Aside from the obvious, who were the winners and losers?
No matter how you feel about the outcome of the election, I think everyone won to some degree. Voters were passionate and engaged -- something that doesn't happen every election cycle. The losers? Those people who still refused to invest in the Constitutionally-granted gift of voting.
From abortion to stem cell research, how will President Bush's judicial appointments shape policy on 2005’s hot button issues?
I predict that the most important story of 2005 will be the battle over judicial appointments. There may be as many as three Supreme Court vacancies to fill in the near future. The US Senate if poised to fight tooth and nail before granting its advice or consent. The Judicial branch touches people --- judges rulings on the laws that impact us. Virtually everything they do has direct relevance to how we live our lives.
President Bush’s second term — any policy surprises in store?
Watch his two most important speeches, the Inaugural address and the State of the Union. This is where you learn everything you need to know about a president's agenda. President Bush has a history of burying a little surprise in his State of the Union speech.
What's the word inside the Beltway — Is the Intelligence Reform Bill substance or sham?
Great question. I think it has a lot of substance. The folks at the Justice Department are thrilled because buried in the bill are many of the reforms they had hoped to get added to the Patriot Act. Some of it was just moving boxes on the organization chart, but sometimes that does have a real impact on how the government operates.
What's next on the Bush administration's agenda for the war on terror?
Iran. Something has to be done about Iran. There is a real opportunity here because rank and file Iranians are actually more pro-western than the cleric leaders. North Korea, for all its bluster, can be brought into line. Don't look at what they say, but what they do. But we really don't know how far Iran has gotten in its efforts to build a nuclear weapon. The idea of a bomb in the hands of Iranian hardliners is scary. Syria will also get a fair amount of attention, but will fold like a cheap suit when pressured.
Brian Wilson is the Washington D.C. correspondent for FOX News Channel (FNC). He also hosts Weekend Live Sunday, noon - 2pm.