How is it possible for a President of the United States to get away with this? The unprecedented level of secrecy under Bush rule just isn't supposed to exist in a country like ours. Upon leaving the Constitutional Convention in 1787, a Mrs. Powel asked Benjamin Franklin what the framers had just created: "a republic or a monarchy"? He replied, "A Republic, if you can keep it." Today we're perilously close to losing our grip on that republic.