The world will long wonder what took the American people so long to realise that George W Bush, the swaggering, macho, faux rancher from Texas, was an incompetent and dangerous man who threatened the democratic foundations and moral credibility of the United States.
The answer, I believe, can be summed up in one word: fear.
As long as they thought they had a strong masculine president who would protect them, Americans seemed willing to give up all kinds of constitutional liberties and rights. As long as they felt comforted by the illusion of safety, Americans also seemed willing to tolerate Bush's arrogant attitude toward the rest of the world.
But such hubris almost always ends in tragedy. Eventually, people began to notice that the emperor wore no clothes. When hurricane Katrina tore through New Orleans, Bush's incompetence and lack of compassion could no longer be hidden behind a strutting swagger. As people drowned, he dined. As people died, he ignored their plight. Widespread corruption and sexual scandals among conservative Republicans further undermined the illusion that Bush - the man who believed God wanted him to be president - had anyone righteous on his side.
As New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd put it: "This will be known as the year macho politics failed - mainly because it was macho politics by marshmallow men. Voters were sick of phony swaggering, blustering and bellicosity, absent competency and accountability."
And so they turned to the Mommy party. Victories by fifty Democratic women in the House of Representatives helped their party gain control of both houses of Congress and catapulted Nancy Pelosi, a feminist liberal from San Francisco, to assume leadership as the first female speaker of the House of Representatives, second in line to the presidency.
Let's just hope the people who are ruled by fear don't start valuing that swagger again. Personally, I don't see how anybody stomached it in the first place.