From “The Battle for a Country’s Soul” by Jane Mayer, New York Review of Books, Volume 55, Number 13 · August 14, 2008
[After 9/11] President Bush, Vice President Cheney, and a small handful of trusted advisers sought and obtained dubious legal opinions enabling them to circumvent American laws and traditions. […] They turned the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel into a political instrument, which they used to expand their own executive power at the expense of long-standing checks and balances.
From ” Obama inheriting broad covert ops policies“, Associated Press, November 11, 2008
A top aide to Obama said Sunday the new president will use his executive powers to make an immediate impact when he takes office […] “There’s a lot that the president can do using his executive authority without waiting for congressional action, and I think we’ll see the president do that,” said John Podesta, Obama’s transition chief. “I think that he feels like he has a real mandate for change. We need to get off the course that the Bush administration has set.”
Benjamin Franklin’s words outside the Federal Convention of 1787 in Philadelphia, cited by Jane Mayer, are very topical indeed
A lady asked Dr. [Benjamin] Franklin, “Well Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?” “A republic,” replied the Doctor, “if you can keep it.”