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American government, it turns out, is a lot more colorful than I was taught in High School Civics class. Take the stale, old, boring ‘The Separation of Powers Doctrine.’

It turns out it’s not boring at all. The real theory here seems to be that most politicians are pirates. So the Founding Fathers set up a government where one group of pirates keeps an eye on the other and vice versa.

It’s working that way right now in Congress.

Before the last election Democrats promised to end the corruption in Washington and to get us out of Iraq.

Forget about it. They’ve done neither.

But they have taken the government oversight meter – watching the other pirates – off the charts. Democratic Representative Henry Waxman describes the previous Republican Congress this way, “With Bush as President, there wasn’t any scandal too big to ignore.” And he’s set out to correct it almost single-handedly. Subpoenas are flying (including one to Condi Rice), Bush appointees are resigning left and right, and Waxman’s committee alone is orchestrating twenty investigations of the Bush Administration. Not because he has suddenly discovered a passion for good government. Because he’s looking for a rip-roaring partisan advantage.

Right now, Congress and the Bush administration are like two groups of pirates sitting in a room together, watching one another with hawks’ eyes.

For us Republicans – and for President Bush in particular – this seems more like the onslaught of a new kind of tyranny than democracy in action. But that’s how the Separation of Powers Doctrine is supposed to work. And it’s working with a vengeance.

The President’s job approval is at 26%.

And Congress is even worse. 23%.

Is there a silver lining in this cloud? Well, yes. The pirates – on both sides – have become wary. No one wants to be the next politician under the microscope. So we’re probably avoiding half a dozen new scandals every day.

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