That wonderful Chris Clarke sez it so well:
One of the messages I keep returning to on this blog: The outrageous, secretive, imperial Bush administration, while scandalously bereft of loyalty to the concept of democracy, is no anomaly in the last 60 years of US history. Presidents from Truman to Clinton have presided over what is, in effect, a shadow government that has interfered in the internal politics of other nations, spied on US citizens and legal residents, violated the separation of powers clauses in the Constitution, and generally arrogated to the office of the President many of the prerogatives of absolute monarchs. George W. Bush does all this more blatantly than any president in recent memory, to be sure. But he stands on the shoulders of giants. Nixon taught his successors always to destroy the evidence. We learned from Reagan that PR will cloak even worse deceptions that those for which Nixon was hounded out of the White House. Bush’s disregard for public opinion, and his consequent ineptitude at dressing up his policies in acceptable rhetoric, are the main differences between him and his predecessors.
[Read it all;
read all of Chris Clarke, too;
oh, and there's an hour and a half of Bill Moyers...]