This question has been raised a vast number of times since LBJ.
It misses the crucial reality of power at the top of the U.S.
The “Presidents” have long been front men for the vast military, secret police, government bureaucracies, big corps…..Reagan was the beginning of the obvious Actor-Lip-Synching-Presidents. [JFK and Nixon were probably eliminated by the CIA et al. because they insisted on pursuing Detente with the Soviets in reality, rather than as mere rhetoric for the Mass-Mediated Dunces. That enraged the CIA and other Brass. Ford went along. Carter was kind of out of it and irrelevant.] Since Reagan, all have been acting their parts, Clinton and Obama brilliantly, except Bush 1 who was the Director of the CIA and all the Secret Government in the White House. Iran-Contra was a tip of the iceberg of the Secret Coup In The White House, in that case obviously run by admirals and colonels under Bush 1.
Obama or Romney would probably love to become America’s Augustus, maybe even the First American Hitler, but the decision is not theirs to make. [Gen. Petraeus, former head of the Black Ops in Iraq, was the head of ground forces in Afpak when he and his top staff men told Rolling Stone the truth about how ignorant and absurd Obama was – and is – about foreign affairs and the military and almost everything else – and laughed it up. The constitutional bottle demanded that he be "sent to the woodshed" for insubordination by stepping down and going into Media Seclusion for a while. Do you know where he is now? Living in the glory and secret power, very quietly, as The Director of the CIA. I suspect he is our Augustus, a very quiet dictator among quasi-equals at the top of a vast Secret Government.
The party still needs Americans to believe that the old bottle of the Constitution – the external forms – they have preserved are the reality, that America is still a land of the free and a democracy in which the people can choose who is president, even if they only get a choice of alpha and beta, a black republicrat or a white republicrat.
The party will not break the old constitutional forms – the bottle now filled with the new wine of totalitarian tyranny, as seen blatantly in the fed – until the coming implosion frightens the masses into submission to martial law. In the grip of terror over the chaos and dread of starvation, the masses will go beyond their present "President" Worship and embrace a Savior Dictator, as the Russians, Italians, Germans, Chinese and so many other terrified people have done before in this Modernist Age of Chaos, Implosions and Dread caused by cutting away the roots of human nature and ancient cultural traditions and replacing them with bureaucratic central plans for paper money, the economy, health and everything else.
Jack D. Douglas [send him mail] is a retired professor of sociology from the University of California at San Diego. He has published widely on all major aspects of human beings, most notably The Myth of the Welfare State.