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Digby nails it.....
Sadly, the Bush administration and the modern Republican movement have exposed a great gaping hole in our system, one which has previously been held together with respect for tradition, consensus on what was acceptable and a healthy belief in what goes around comes around. What we have learned is that an aggressive and power-mad president who has 34 Senators who can be counted upon to stick with him no matter what, can pretty much do anything he wants. If he has a supine, self-serving press that refuses to do its job, so much the better. But that's really all it takes for a president to become a dictator, at least temporarily -- the will to do it and 34 men and women willing to stand behind him. Link
I've mentioned before that the problem with Gerald Ford's pardoning of Richard Nixon before he was even charged with anything, led directly to the criminality rampant in today's Bush administration.
What Don Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney learned from the Nixon days was that if you wanted a president to be accountability free, Congress had to be cut completely out of the loop, neutralized. Information had to be 'managed', "stovepiped", as it were. Enter the devious Karl Rove. Rove was born (spawned) for just such a mission. The GOP held firm while in the majority, never giving in to any requests for executive branch accountability. Requests for information were stonewalled. Now when Republicans hold the minority position, they know, if they just stick together, they can still keep the president away from any threatening oversight. You know, the filibuster and all.
No question that the Democrats have been weak in opposing this criminal regime. But doesn't it unsettle you in the least that a rogue president and 34 senators can overthrow the United States government so easily?
Note: 34 senators because that's all it takes to protect a presidential veto.