America is headed for a soft dictatorship by the end of Bush's second term. Whether any American has civil rights will be decided by the discretionary power of federal officials. The public in general will tolerate the soft dictatorship as its discretionary powers will mainly be felt by those few who challenge it.
The congressional elections this coming November is the last chance for for Americans to reaffirm the separation of powers that is the basis of their civil liberties. Unless the voters correct their mistake of putting both the executive and legislative branches in the hands of the same party and deliver the House or the Senate to the Democrats, there is nothing on the domestic scene to stand in the way of more power, and less accountability, being accumulated in the executive.
The Democrats have been a totally ineffective opposition and might not inspire any voter response other than apathy. Rather than vote for a cowardly party that is afraid to defend the Constitution, voters might simply not vote at all.
In this unfortunate event, the only check on the Bush regime is its own hubris.
I guess Roberts is calling the dictatorship "soft" because most people aren't even noticing that it's happening. But it doesn't feel "soft" to me. It feels just horrible. And I wonder what's going to happen to those of us who have spoken out during this transition. I truly fear for our country if the Democrats don't take back either the House or the Senate later this year.