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Yet I don’t think we have seen the worst of the Bush years. Indeed, we are just getting warmed up. As senators lined up against his proposed escalation of the Iraq war in late January, Bush was adamant that he had the right to do whatever he wanted: send in as many troops as he wanted, threaten Iran if he wanted, and act against the wishes of Congress if he wanted.
My sense is that this is just a hint of the constitutional crisis to come, and Saddam’s death is an omen of precisely this. Bush came into office riding on a constitutional crisis, and he will most surely leave office on one. What is at stake is not this sorry person himself, but whatever integrity may remain of our system of governance, which was designed to be something better than monarchy and better than tyranny.
There is a famous story, told in 2000 by Rep. Ron Paul of Texas among many others, though I will quote from Rep. Paul’s speech, taken from the House of Representatives website.
“At the close of the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia on September 18, 1787, a Mrs. Powel anxiously awaited the results, and as Benjamin Franklin emerged from the long task now finished, asked him directly: ‘Well, Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?’ ‘A republic, if you can keep it,’ responded Franklin.”