Potent leading article in today's NYT detailing once again George Bush's out-of-control executive. It's hard to avoid the conclusion that the balance between the three branches of power that sustains the government of the United States is being driven out of whack. This is bad news for the country, but it will probably not be sustained.
Firstly, Congress, albeit currently populated with unthinking conservative yes-men, is not going to take well to losing its innate power even if there is no shake-up as is likely after the 2006 elections.
Secondly, at some point, the general population is going to wake up to an issue that it has generally ignored up to now. This is most likely to be triggered by some egregious abuse of personal liberties that even the most compliant of citizens will find hard to blame solely on a small band of anti-American fanatics. Such what form this abuse will take is open to conjecture, but the current administration seems to have no inbuilt restraint, so it will happen.
Thirdly, the judiciary, that is now being stacked with a conservative group that is broadly out of synchronization with current mainstream values, will issue a series of rulings that really will get the majority's backs up. We'll then see democracy in action, and a change of government. The current government's greatest ally is apathy, some of it born out of the extraordinarily paralysis that come over the population post the World Trade Tower attack. But that has largely dissipated, and change is in the air, aided enormously by the demographic shifts I describe below.
So, rough times ahead but calmer seas beyond.