Whereas a soft totalitarian state will employ direct suppression of offending books, imprisonment of authors, state control of Internet servers, and dismissal or imprisonment of dissidents, soft authoritarianism achieves its ends through peer pressure, bullying, fear of ostracism, giving priority to group norms, and eliciting conformity through social sanctions of various kinds. Under both types of regimes, elections are usually to one degree or another only formalities, behind which permanent state officialdoms actually govern. - Chalmers Johnson, Blowback, p. 151.
Does the latter not apply to this country? Never presume for a moment that because one's ancestors were free, one must necessarily possess that selfsame freedom.
We have the ostensible right to free speech, but if we wander outside the realm of acceptable thought, we will be punished for exercising it. Just ask Larry Summers or James Watson.
Meanwhile, the field has been whittled down to three remarkably similar presidential candidates. The media is convinced that Obama has the nomination wrapped up, but if Johnson's comments truly apply, we'll either see him quietly exit the campaign or he'll learn to leave the non-interventionist rhetoric aside and stump for the MIC.
Of course the book gets my hearty recommendation.