scalzi is dismissive of the concept of a Republican coup prior to Bush leaving office
I pretty much agree with his reasoning, though it occurs to me wonder what the strength and disposition of private military forces — e.g., Blackwater — is, especially with the regular military and the reserves so overstretched overseas. If I were writing this as a plot element, that's a direction I'd take.
Unlike (some of) the conservatives of yore, these guys aren't long-term thinkers. The history of the Iraq War makes that perfectly clear with respect to the Executive Branch, but for an example in the legislative branch see also Trent Lott's "Nuclear Option", from back in 2005 when the Senate Republicans were all set to eliminate the filibuster as a minority tactic. I don't see the Senate Republicans eschewing their filibusters now on Constitutional principles, as they bullied the then-minority Democrats into doing. And how would it sit with the GOP base today if they'd managed to strip their own power?
More to the point, imagine President Hillary Clinton with the powers of the unitary executive and the sweeping definition of executive privilege so beloved of conservatives at the moment.
There's two obvious explanations for all of this, both of which are probably somewhat correct. One, that as recently as the spring of 2006, the Republicans still believed their own Permanent Majority bathwater hook, line and sinker. (Hell, I did too, for the most part.) So actions which harmed the minority simply didn't register as an issue for them. Two, as mentioned above, the lack of long-term thinking skills.
This is a party led by an ADHD president, which has compromised pretty much every principle it ever claimed to hold in the name of one short term expediency after another. (Fiscal responsibility? No foreign adventurism? Local control? Small government? Lack of government interference in private life? Name one core conservative principle that hasn't been shat on liberally during this administration.) I don't think they're capable of planning a coup, let alone pulling one off.
What they are capable of is the highly destructive, unpatriotic and profoundly anti-American incrementalism which has been the hallmark of the Bush administration for some time now: Destroying one right or principle after another, for reasons which are boiling down to nothing more than political ass covering at this point.
Coup? No. Creeping Constitutional rot? Already well in progress. I didn't vote for Bush, ever, but as a citizen I own this mess just as much as my conservative friends who bought into this crap. Or more to the point, this mess owns me.
I feel sorry for all of us.