In December 2000, after being named president by the Supreme Court, George Bush told a group of congressional leaders: “If this were a dictatorship, it’d be a heck of a lot easier ... Just so long as I’m the dictator.”

They thought he was kidding, but apparently not.

As first reported on the conservative website WorldNetDaily, Bush signed a presidential directive on May 9, 2007, allowing him to assume near-dictatorial powers in the event of a national emergency. Only the president could declare such an emergency, and only the president could say when it was over. Meanwhile, he would take over control of all government and business activity in the country.

The size of that power-grab, called the “National Security and Homeland Security Presidential Directive,” is stunning — especially since it would apparently supersede the existing National Emergency Act, which already gives the president extraordinary emergency powers, but reserves a checks-and-balances role for Congress. Congress plays no role in Bush’s new plan.

Bush signed the document with no fanfare, but it is featured on the official White House website.

So George Bush has finally found a way to be the dictator he’s always wanted to be. And nobody in Congress has raised a peep.

Ah, democracy! It was great while it lasted.