President George W. Bush "is volatile but passive, firm but malleable, presiding but absent."
That brilliant series of contradictory truths is Sidney Blumenthal's summation of El Presidente's strange character traits ... by way of explaining how come Vice President Dick Cheney is REALLY in charge of this administration. (Salon requires you to watch an ad before reading its articles.)
Blumenthal, who knows a thing or two about the backstairs at the White House, follows Cheney's whole history in government, which goes back to Nixon and Gerald Ford. A key paragraph:
"The making of the Iraq war, torture policy and an industry-friendly energy plan has required secrecy, deception and subordination of government as it previously existed. But these, too, are means to an end. Even projecting a 'war on terror' as total war, trying to envelop the whole American society within its fog, is a device to invest absolute power in the executive [the office of the president]."
As threats to our Constitution go, this is nothing to sneeze at.