Every morning for at least the past two weeks, the Post has published a couple of articles about the security preparations for W’s coronation inauguration next week. Huge amounts of money are being spent on the arrangements (although the feds are passing off a large chunk of their expenses to the District of Columbia), just about every law enforcement agent within 50 miles has been drafted into service, and 100 square blocks of the District will be sealed off for two days, all for a ceremony that takes less than a minute.

Then there are these preparations, which have the ring of an event occurring in a third-world dictatorship.

Combat-ready troops with the 3rd Infantry Regiment showed off M-4 assault rifles and night-vision goggles, joining troops with a Marine Corps rapid chemical and biological agent reaction force and the Military District of Washington engineering company specializing in rescues from collapsed buildings.

With all that, the government must have some pretty good intelligence indicating terrorists are ready to strike.

Ridge acknowledged that U.S. authorities have received no information for several weeks to even consider raising the national terror threat level. Last spring, authorities predicted a high "election-year threat" continuing through the inauguration. "There is no specific threat directed toward the inaugural or the inaugural activities," Ridge said. "But the fact that . . . the decibel level is down doesn’t really mean that we would ever be less vigilant. . . . This is the most visible manifestation of our democracy."

Combat-ready troops running around the nation’s capital – is this part of that "visible manifestation of our democracy"?

So, if there is a low threat of terrorism, what are the incredible layers of security protecting W from? Oh, right. Sorry. I forgot about the 48% of us who didn’t vote for him. We can’t have any dissent getting through to W on his big day. Or any other day, for that matter.