The author ends by posing the following scenario:
As the nation focused on whether Congress would exercise its constitutional duty to cut funding for the war, Bush quietly issued an unconstitutional bombshell that went virtually unnoticed by the corporate media.
The National Security and Homeland Security Presidential Directive, signed on May 9, 2007, would place all governmental power in the hands of the President and effectively abolish the checks and balances in the Constitution.
If a "catastrophic emergency" -- which could include a terrorist attack or a natural disaster -- occurs, Bush's new directive says: "The President shall lead the activities of the Federal Government for ensuring constitutional government."
What about the other two co-equal branches of government? The directive throws them a bone by speaking of a "cooperative effort" among the three branches, "coordinated by the President, as a matter of comity with respect to the legislative and judicial branches and with proper respect for the constitutional separation of powers." The Vice-President would help to implement the plans.
"Comity," however, means courtesy, and the President would decide what kind of respect for the other two branches of government would be "proper." This Presidential Directive is a blatant power grab by Bush to institutionalize "the unitary executive."
A seemingly innocuous phrase, the unitary executive theory actually represents a radical, ultra rightwing interpretation of the powers of the presidency. Championed by the conservative Federalist Society, the unitary executive doctrine gathers all power in the hands of the President and insulates him from any oversight by the congressional or judicial branches.
In a November 2000 speech to the Federalist Society, then Judge Samuel Alito said the Constitution "makes the president the head of the executive branch, but it does more than that. The president has not just some executive powers, but the executive power -- the whole thing."
Don't say you weren't warned.
One wonders what Bush & Co. are setting up with the new Presidential Directive. What if, heaven forbid, some sort of catastrophic event were to occur just before the 2008 election? Bush could use this directive to suspend the election. This administration has gone to great lengths to remain in Iraq. It has built huge permanent military bases and pushed to privatize Iraq's oil. Bush and Cheney may be unwilling to relinquish power to a successor administration.