Republicans made "Commander-in-Chief" into a talking point and legal wild card the same way they did with "the events of September 11th." This talking point engenders blind obediance. One's immediate reaction to hearing it is designed to be, "Well, he is the guy in charge."
Except that he's not.
The Constitution is in charge, and ultimately we are in charge.
The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States; ...
And that's it. The President is the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces ONLY. It is by definition a limited power. George Bush himself could stop you on the street and order you to drop and give him twenty, and you could merrily tell him to buzz off. He would have no actual power to make you do it.
The term "Commander-in-Chief" refers to ultimate civilian power over the military. If you're not in the military, whatever the Commander-in-Chief wishes should be of no direct consequence to you. (Indirect, sure, but that's a completely separate concept.) Keep in mind: the President is a civilian. When a Bush supporter uses the term "Commander-in-Chief" to justify any power outside of Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, or National Guard activity, or to justify any power not consonant with the legal constraints within which those entities operate, that person is lying. To the military Bush is the Commander-in-Chief. To everyone else he is a civilian.
This is one of those "state the obvious" topics that can help everyone better understand how our government is supposed to work. I implore Democrats everywhere to hammer away, every time the syllables "Commander-in-Chief" pass the lips of a Republican: The President is not the Commander-in-Chief of the country, only the military.