"But let’s just say, in 10 years or a few years, a president is elected who doesn’t want to do those things, but you’ve given him this kind of power. What happens then?"
"Well," Cheney replied, "it will be up to him whether or not he uses it."
Quoting Above the VP to CNN’s Dana Bash on Air Force Two
Cheney’s idea of the head of state invested with absolute power is a venerable one. Bush’s presidency is the latest experiment to achieve it. Yoo’s memos are the founding documents. But the idea lacks an American pedigree.
The original commentary on it appeared in a pamphlet published in 1776, "Common Sense," written by Tom Paine: Blumenthal
"But where says some is the King of America? I’ll tell you Friend, he reigns above, and doth not make havoc of mankind like the Royal Brute of Britain. Yet that we may not appear to be defective even in earthly honors, let a day be solemnly set apart for proclaiming the charter; let it be brought forth placed on the divine law, the word of God; let a crown be placed thereon, by which the world may know, that so far as we approve as monarchy, that in America THE LAW IS KING. For as in absolute governments the King is law, so in free countries the law ought to be King; and there ought to be no other. But lest any ill use should afterwards arise, let the crown at the conclusion of the ceremony be demolished, and scattered among the people whose right it is." Paine