The legal red-tape that people like Bush & Cheney worked to eliminate wasn't, necessarily, meant to stop them it was meant to stop the true monster that will, inevitably, get into office someday.
The fact that they were able to eliminate the red tape shows that we(americans) have a false sense of freedom.
My theory is the american people just seem like unintelligent pushovers. If you piss them off enough, you will get more than you bargained for by removing that red tape.
I've never been canoeing before, but I imagine there must be just a few simple heuristics you have to remember... Yes, don't fall out, and don't hit rocks.