It struck me at the time of his announcement--but I forgot to note publicly--that Alberto Gonzales is resigning as Attorney General effective September 17.

So what?

September 17 is the official birthday of the Constitution, ceremoniously signed on that date in 1787 in Philadelphia.

So what?

Perhaps it is coincidence, or perhaps the Bushies enjoy subtle practical gags--but even as the chattering classes continue to denounce the Bush administration as the most tyrannical regime since James II, the personnel come and go, serving and fading away. And, finally, on January 20, 2009, the much-maligned current President of the United States will walk off the American political stage and retire to his ranch in Texas, performing the most important ritual in all of American government: the peaceful and voluntary renunciation of ultimate power.

Hat tip to George Washington.

So what?

While I am not unconcerned by claims of an imperial presidency and/or the stealthily encroaching "unitary executive" theory, one must keep in mind our deep-seated tradition of public service above individual power accumulation. A whole host of pundits, partisans and scholars are convinced that George Bush and Dick Cheney set out to permanently alter the balance of power in favor of the executive.

Check out this scary title: Takeover: The Return of the Imperial Presidency and the Subversion of American Democracy. More info on the plot from reporter Charlie Savage here via NPR.

But I wonder, how long can this cottage industry of calumnious drivel survive?

For all those who posit that Bush is Hitler, when are they going to contend with the notion that all this alleged power accumulation, if true, profits him nearly nothingóbut stands to offer his likely Democratic Party successor a tremendous boon?

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Previous thoughts on the signing statements controversy from 2006 here and here.