Republicans used to be more honest and admit they were anti-democratic. They would insist that "the United States isn't a democracy, it's a republic". Now they mouth the word 'democracy' with every hypocritical breath. Just as David Vitter and Ted Haggard preach "family values" and homophobia right before they head for the nearest whorehouse or gay bar, Republican words and actions are severely disconnected.
I always had to laugh during the Cold War when Republicans talked about the 'dangers of appeasement' and 'the lessons of World War II'. Because the 'appeasers' in the years leading up to World War II were mainly right-wing Republicans, and the reason they were appeasing Germany is because they were pro-Nazi. Right up until we entered the war Hitler had strong support from the American right. Virtually all of America's billionaires at that time--Ford, Rockefeller, Mellon, Hunt--were Nazi sympathizers, and a great many of those Republicans touting the 'lessons of World War II' felt we were fighting on the wrong side in that war.
As soon as World War II ended the CIA recruited as many Nazi agents as they could get their hands on (as did the KGB, of course), and that influx continues to flavor CIA escapades to this day. During the entire 20th century it has been standard Republican policy to overthrow any liberal, democratically elected, Third World leader and install a brutal military dictator in his place. These coups--perpetrated by the CIA--have always been defined as 'saving democracy'.
The Bush administration has pretty much gutted our democratic Constitution. It has nullified the power of Congress by the use of 'signing statements', in which the President announces which parts of a given law he won't bother to obey. It has mutilated the Bill of Rights, and the law of habeas corpus--the foundation of human rights for centuries--has been jettisoned. Official secrecy has been expanded to the point where any government act can be completely shielded from public view.
The Bush administration today is in fact far more like the Kremlin than like the open-government democracies of Europe and Asia. It has lied blatantly and repeatedly to the American people at enormous cost in lives and taxpayers' money. It has handed out non-bid contracts to Bush and Cheney cronies. When caught in criminal acts it has used 'executive privilege' to avoid prosecution. It has evaded national and international law by establishing secret foreign torture chambers. It has replaced experienced, qualified civil servants with unqualified toadies.
In short, it has not only created the most corrupt government since Warren Harding, it has become a virtual dictatorship that has no precedent in this nation.
But in a democracy, the fault must lie with us. It has been said that people get the government they deserve. I grew up in a democracy, but today the US isn't even a republic, but a dictatorship with a term limit, and most Americans seem to be too politically blind to have noticed.
Michael Moore, trying to explain why the French live so well and have so many free government services, while Americans work their tails off and can't even afford to get sick, points out that the French take to the streets by the hundreds of thousands at the slightest provocation. In France, he says, the government is afraid of the people while in America the people are afraid of the government.
I think he's wrong. I don't think Americans are afraid. I think we're just too wrapped up in our own egos to care. Too busy filling our faces and shopping carts to notice. Too fascinated with brain-dead celebrities and phony reality shows to monitor our leaders. While waddling through the mall in search of future landfill we've given away our freedoms. Sold our birthright for a mess of Ipods.
Presidents are like two-year-olds: they need to have limits or they tend to go crazy and become destructive. They do foolish, impulsive things and get themselves into fixes they don't know how to get out of. Usually wars.
We Americans are like a family whose undisciplined, wastrel son has gambled away all the money we've given him for college, and is heavily in debt. Instead of being contrite and recognizing his foolishness, he tells us, "but you can't stop supporting me now, it will lead to disaster. The mob is after me. You have to give me more money--more even than before--so I can win it all back at the roulette table!"
All this comes from being too permissive in little Georgie's formative years.