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RebootedCorpse
07-03-2007, 05:15 AM
Put a fork in him...


July 2, 2007, 7:17 PM CDT

WASHINGTON—Sen. John McCain's once formidable presidential campaign is in deep trouble, as senior officials announced Monday that worsening financial problems have forced them to lay off staff in all departments and the campaign manager will work without pay.

Three months after promising to do a better job raising money for his campaign, McCain, an Arizona Republican, posted another disappointing tally. He brought in $11.2 million in the second quarter of this year, down from the $12.5 million raised during the first quarter.

Altogether, McCain has just $2 million in cash on hand and is considering applying for federal matching funds, a move that would severely constrict his ability to compete by limiting the amount of money he can spend in individual states.

Once considered the front-runner for the Republican nomination, McCain put together a classic front-runner's operation with a large and expensive staff, a plethora of paid consultants and a vast grass-roots network of local officials publicly backing him.

But McCain has suffered nationally as he repeatedly made the case for keeping American troops in Iraq, siding with an unpopular president. But most damaging has been the debate over immigration as McCain advocated for broad reforms that would beef up security at the borders and, more controversially, provide illegal immigrants with a path to citizenship.

"We took a pretty good pounding for the last few weeks on immigration and it had an effect," said Mark Salter, a senior adviser. "But McCain is not going to pander his way to the nomination."

Senior officials said Monday that they had seriously miscalculated their ability to raise money. In fact, they began the contest believing McCain could raise $100 million and they hired staff based on that assumption.

Now, as many as 50 staffers have been laid off, senior aides are taking pay cuts and campaign manager Terry Nelson said he will work on a volunteer basis.

"We confronted reality and we dealt with it in the best way that we could," Nelson said.

Nelson and senior strategist John Weaver said the campaign would put renewed emphasis on having McCain talk directly to voters in the early voting states of Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada.

"We believe good things happen when John is in front of the voters," Weaver said, adding that McCain still draws the largest crowds of all the Republican candidates.

Campaign officials tried to put the best possible face on the grim news, asserting that McCain's principled stands on issues had hurt his ability to raise money.

For example, his longstanding push for campaign finance regulations has angered many groups eager to sway voters with television advertisements late in a race. And his constant objections to pork barrel projects—or earmarks—has infuriated his colleagues, as well as special interest groups.

Still, McCain has been preparing to run for president again since he lost the 2000 nomination to then-Gov. George W. Bush of Texas. And the rockiness of his campaign this year has been a surprise, unsettling the GOP field and possibly opening the way for former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson to run.

"Everyone was excited about seeing McCain bring back some of that fire from 2000 and this campaign team has squandered it," said Scott Reed, who ran Bob Dole's presidential campaign in 1996. "McCain's campaign will be lucky if they can ever air a television commercial."

The news also prompted the Democratic National Committee to issue a statement mocking McCain for his transformation from the candidate known for straight talk who took on the religious right in 2000 to a candidate who tried to make peace with the religious right in advance of 2008.

"John McCain failed to win over right-wing conservative base voters even after pandering and compromising on his own principles," said DNC spokesman Luis Miranda. "But his do-anything-to-win campaign tactics showed moderates and independents that McCain would offer only the same brand of leadership they've tired of from the Bush White House. Retooling and restructuring can't change the fundamental problem for the campaign, McCain has made himself unelectable."

McCain is currently en route to Iraq, where he will spend the 4th of July with the troops. When he returns, the Senate will begin debating a defense authorization measure, which will lead to a new round of amendments calling for the withdrawal of American forces.

Once again, McCain is expected to be in the forefront, arguing against abandoning the fight and returning home defeated.

Meanwhile, McCain's competitors maintained their silence Monday as they allowed the news of McCain's woes to spread. Neither former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney nor former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani released figures for their second quarter fundraising haul.

Aides to McCain insist that they are not giving up hope, but simply retooling to fit the circumstances.

"He's still the best retail candidate in the race, in the Republican field," Salter said.

jzuckman@tribune.com
Copyright © 2007, Chicago Tribune

Bill Nolan
07-03-2007, 05:17 AM
The crazy old coot is still running? Didn't notice...

RickLM
07-03-2007, 05:18 AM
Geez. If you look at the credibility and goodwill he had in 2000, compared with where he's at today, its amazing. He pissed away every advantage he had over the other guys.

Ray G.
07-03-2007, 05:19 AM
Yep, this is quickly turning into Giuliani vs. Thompson.

Mister Mets
07-03-2007, 05:20 AM
Yep, this is quickly turning into Giuliani vs. Thompson.
pretty much.


Still some time to go though.

Marc Lombardi
07-03-2007, 05:21 AM
I think he began flatlining the moment he went on the Daily Show and went batshit crazy -- and Jon Stewart essentially called him on it.

The guy seemed to be a "lesser of two evils" Republican seven years ago (and certainly he was a decent guy in 2004), but now it seems that either his strings are being pulled by some of the more despised folks behind the scenes or his true colors are starting to show.

In either case, I think it's very unlikely that -- no matter who the candidate is in 2008 -- a Republican will win his way into the Oval Office.

KingMob
07-03-2007, 05:21 AM
The crazy old coot is still running? Didn't notice...

He is skipping a lot of shit here in Iowa, I wondered what was up.

RickLM
07-03-2007, 05:22 AM
Thompson and Rudy both released pro-Scooter-commuter statements yesterday. Nice to see the GOP candidates remain out of touch with reality.

Mr. E!
07-03-2007, 05:34 AM
Yep, this is quickly turning into Giuliani vs. Thompson.

Just keep telling yourself that the election is 16 months away, and the primaries have another 6 months. A lot can happen.

Mister Mets
07-03-2007, 05:39 AM
I think he began flatlining the moment he went on the Daily Show and went batshit crazy -- and Jon Stewart essentially called him on it.

The guy seemed to be a "lesser of two evils" Republican seven years ago (and certainly he was a decent guy in 2004), but now it seems that either his strings are being pulled by some of the more despised folks behind the scenes or his true colors are starting to show.

In either case, I think it's very unlikely that -- no matter who the candidate is in 2008 -- a Republican will win his way into the Oval Office.
The Republicans did win seven of the last ten presidential elections (and the only time the Democrats had a majority of the popular vote in any of them was Carter with 50.1% in 76.)

I don't think the Republicans are doing well, but its absurd to think that this is a guaranteed win for the Democrats.

Marc Lombardi
07-03-2007, 05:46 AM
The Republicans did win seven of the last ten presidential elections (and the only time the Democrats had a majority of the popular vote in any of them was Carter with 50.1% in 76.)

I don't think the Republicans are doing well, but its absurd to think that this is a guaranteed win for the Democrats.

We'll talk again next November when one of us is clearly right. I just think that the mid-term elections and the seeming cluelessness of many of the likely candidates on the GOP side in regards to the desires of the majority of the American public (Iraq, immigration, Scooter Libby-type stuff) tell me that things will be changing in '08.

Matt Jay
07-03-2007, 05:54 AM
http://i21.photobucket.com/albums/b289/PaulRosenberg/Politicians/mccain_bush-hug.jpg

:) :) :)

Ray G.
07-03-2007, 06:00 AM
We'll talk again next November when one of us is clearly right. I just think that the mid-term elections and the seeming cluelessness of many of the likely candidates on the GOP side in regards to the desires of the majority of the American public (Iraq, immigration, Scooter Libby-type stuff) tell me that things will be changing in '08.

Wait, immigration? Are you seriously trying to claim that the Democrats better represent America on immigration? Neither side is even close on that. Poll after poll shows that Americans want enforcement first. The GOP proposal offered amnesty mixed with weak enforcement. The Democrats' proposals seem to offer amnesty mixed with weaker enforcement. The closest anyone comes to representing America is Giuliani's security-heavy proposal focusing on documenting everyone in this country via tamper-proof IDs and an amnesty period.

Mister Mets
07-03-2007, 06:03 AM
We'll talk again next November when one of us is clearly right. I just think that the mid-term elections and the seeming cluelessness of many of the likely candidates on the GOP side in regards to the desires of the majority of the American public (Iraq, immigration, Scooter Libby-type stuff) tell me that things will be changing in '08.
I'm not arguing that the Republicans are guaranteed to win in '08, just that I still think they have a shot, and more than a "very unlikely" one.

I risk nothing with my statement.

Marc Lombardi
07-03-2007, 06:04 AM
Wait, immigration? Are you seriously trying to claim that the Democrats better represent America on immigration? Neither side is even close on that. Poll after poll shows that Americans want enforcement first. The GOP proposal offered amnesty mixed with weak enforcement. The Democrats' proposals seem to offer amnesty mixed with weaker enforcement. The closest anyone comes to representing America is Giuliani's security-heavy proposal focusing on documenting everyone in this country via tamper-proof IDs and an amnesty period.

In terms of immigration, there are dems and reps with good ideas and dems and reps with bad ideas. The democratic frontrunners appear to have better plans on immigration in my mind, even though their ideas differ from one to another.

Thomas Mauer
07-03-2007, 06:06 AM
We'll talk again next November when one of us is clearly right. I just think that the mid-term elections and the seeming cluelessness of many of the likely candidates on the GOP side in regards to the desires of the majority of the American public (Iraq, immigration, Scooter Libby-type stuff) tell me that things will be changing in '08.

It sucks but four years ago, we all thought the same as well. Don't cash in your winnings before the race is over.

Marc Lombardi
07-03-2007, 06:10 AM
It sucks but four years ago, we all thought the same as well. Don't cash in your winnings before the race is over.

If the Dems lose in '08, I'm moving to Germany dude! I can't take 4 more years.

Binx
07-03-2007, 06:27 AM
If the Dems lose in '08, I'm moving to Germany dude! I can't take 4 more years.

I'm sure you'll love the freedom of expression laws there.

Marc Lombardi
07-03-2007, 06:40 AM
I'm sure you'll love the freedom of expression laws there.

I've seen pictures from Oktoberfest from the co-workers I have who are stationed in Munich. That's all I really needed to see.

Thomas Mauer
07-03-2007, 07:08 AM
I'm sure you'll love the freedom of expression laws there.

Does that mean you begrudge Germany for not allowing you to spew hate speech and display WWII paraphernalia whenever you come over to visit? :confused:

Generic Poster
07-03-2007, 07:14 AM
Why do people think Fred Thompson is an appealing presidential candidate?

Matt Jay
07-03-2007, 07:38 AM
Why do people think Fred Thompson is an appealing presidential candidate?

I've only been a casual spectator of the race so far, but all I've heard is that he "sounds like a President". I presume this to mean he "doesn't sound like Bush".

Bill Nolan
07-03-2007, 07:40 AM
Gravitas. The whacko left said we needed it 8 years ago, so we're finally listening to them. Maybe they were right.

RickLM
07-03-2007, 07:40 AM
Why do people think Fred Thompson is an appealing presidential candidate?



-The other choices are deeply flawed, or just plain awful.
-He hasn't served long enough in any elected position to develop a bad track record (similar to Obama and Edwards).
-He's a TV and movie guy, and in America that counts for way too much.

Binx
07-03-2007, 07:41 AM
Does that mean you begrudge Germany for not allowing you to spew hate speech and display WWII paraphernalia whenever you come over to visit? :confused:

That's it!!!!! :roll:


More bothersome is their banning of videogames and censoring websites.

But banning any sort of expression is really frightening to me.

Binx
07-03-2007, 07:42 AM
I've seen pictures from Oktoberfest from the co-workers I have who are stationed in Munich. That's all I really needed to see.

Hey some people trade freedom for safety. Why not trade it for boobs and beer!

Marc Lombardi
07-03-2007, 07:45 AM
Hey some people trade freedom for safety. Why not trade it for boobs and beer!

:scared: It worked for Clinton. :cool:

Generic Poster
07-03-2007, 07:46 AM
Gravitas. The whacko left said we needed it 8 years ago, so we're finally listening to them. Maybe they were right.

To have Gravitas you just need to be old, bald, and sleepy looking?

Binx
07-03-2007, 07:47 AM
:scared: It worked for Clinton. :cool:

:lol: :lol: :lol:

RebootedCorpse
07-03-2007, 07:48 AM
The more Thompson talks the less support he'll have. The GOP is desperate and they can project all their views on him. But actions like supporting W's commuting of traitor Scooter Libby's jail term will shrink him down to size before long.
I'm not saying he can't win, but it isn't a rosy road.

Foolish Mortal
07-03-2007, 07:48 AM
Yep. Fred Thompson coming in pretty much sank McCain's ship.

Colby
07-03-2007, 08:02 AM
The Republicans did win seven of the last ten presidential elections (and the only time the Democrats had a majority of the popular vote in any of them was Carter with 50.1% in 76.)

I don't think the Republicans are doing well, but its absurd to think that this is a guaranteed win for the Democrats.

The same coulda been said about the Democrats from 1932-1964. I'm just sayin', each party has had their eras of dominance, and they all have to end some time.

...but really, I don't know what I'm arguing, because I'm not sure 2008 is going to be the end of the Republicans' hold on the WH, either. I do think this is the Democrats' best shot since 1996, but who knows? I never underestimate the Democrats' ability to lose.

Thomas Mauer
07-03-2007, 08:02 AM
That's it!!!!! :roll:


More bothersome is their banning of videogames and censoring websites.

But banning any sort of expression is really frightening to me.

:rofl:

Video games don't get banned, they can just get ratings that mean they can't be sold to anyone under 18 or advertised. However, retailers have started putting the games on display, just in plastic boxes that are opened at the register for the customer to ensure no minor just goes and buys it.

As for censoring websites, our equivalent to the US Constitution outlaws National Socialist hate speech and the possession of Nazi paraphernalia in any medium. Why? Because the Grundgesetz was written under the auspices of the Western Allies' de-Nazification program.

If you want to blame anyone for trying to make sure Germans "don't fall back into old patterns" by making Nazi propaganda taboo, blame the US, Britain, France, and to a lesser degree the USSR.

I for one thank them for it.

Binx
07-03-2007, 08:17 AM
:rofl:

Video games don't get banned, they can just get ratings that mean they can't be sold to anyone under 18 or advertised. However, retailers have started putting the games on display, just in plastic boxes that are opened at the register for the customer to ensure no minor just goes and buys it.

As for censoring websites, our equivalent to the US Constitution outlaws National Socialist hate speech and the possession of Nazi paraphernalia in any medium. Why? Because the Grundgesetz was written under the auspices of the Western Allies' de-Nazification program.

If you want to blame anyone for trying to make sure Germans "don't fall back into old patterns" by making Nazi propaganda taboo, blame the US, Britain, France, and to a lesser degree the USSR.

I for one thank them for it.


My understanding from news articles is that Gears of War failed to receive a rating. Since MS will not publish non-rated games, the German version of the game is unavailable. Using the ratings system like that is using it to censor games.

Re. websites, while I don't condone censorship of any kind, I wasn't even talking about websites with Nazi content. I'm talking about the recent Flickr debacle.

As for the rest of your post, you are putting a lot of words into my mouth.

Bill Nolan
07-03-2007, 08:27 AM
To have Gravitas you just need to be old, bald, and sleepy looking?

Yes, which is really helping Gore as he ages. He should definitely get back in the race.

Bill!
07-03-2007, 08:28 AM
Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't Thompson on the Roseanne show as her dick of a boss in one of the early seasons?

Ryan F
07-03-2007, 08:30 AM
:rofl:

Video games don't get banned, they can just get ratings that mean they can't be sold to anyone under 18 or advertised. However, retailers have started putting the games on display, just in plastic boxes that are opened at the register for the customer to ensure no minor just goes and buys it.

As for censoring websites, our equivalent to the US Constitution outlaws National Socialist hate speech and the possession of Nazi paraphernalia in any medium. Why? Because the Grundgesetz was written under the auspices of the Western Allies' de-Nazification program.

If you want to blame anyone for trying to make sure Germans "don't fall back into old patterns" by making Nazi propaganda taboo, blame the US, Britain, France, and to a lesser degree the USSR.

I for one thank them for it.

Maybe he's a Scientologist...

Bill Nolan
07-03-2007, 08:33 AM
Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't Thompson on the Roseanne show as her dick of a boss in one of the early seasons?

Yes, that was in between his role in helping to bring down Nixon during Watergate and the one where he helped John McCain kick some domestic terrorist ass at that airport.

Thomas Mauer
07-03-2007, 08:36 AM
My understanding from news articles is that Gears of War failed to receive a rating. Since MS will not publish non-rated games, the German version of the game is unavailable. Using the ratings system like that is using it to censor games.

Re. websites, while I don't condone censorship of any kind, I wasn't even talking about websites with Nazi content. I'm talking about the recent Flickr debacle.

As for the rest of your post, you are putting a lot of words into my mouth.
Sorry, I was poking fun, not inferring anything about you.

On a serious note, there are media that are outright banned (e.g. hate speech, bestiality, incest, pedophile material) and then there are media that can't be advertised for or sold to people below 18 years old.

Each game (and music album et al. for that matter) may be reviewed by the Federal Department for Media Harmful to Young Persons (http://www.bundespruefstelle.de/bpjm/information-in-english.html) (BPjM) if someone applies for the content to be checked. There's a Youth Protection Law here and my guess is it was also created after WWII to ensure demagogues can't influence the next generation of Germans toward extremism. The law evolved over the decades.

Not allowing to advertise a product can be seen as a virtual ban, sure, but in the age of the internet, that's a non-issue. Plus, it's not illegal for adults to import games, albums and DVDs that are on the BPjM Index.

What's that about Flickr, btw? I have an account and browse others' Flickr accounts regularly.

Dan McLellan
07-03-2007, 08:36 AM
I'm sure you'll love the freedom of expression laws there.

Nothing like some good old fashioned Xenophobia to start out the morning!

Binx
07-03-2007, 08:54 AM
Sorry, I was poking fun, not inferring anything about you.

On a serious note, there are media that are outright banned (e.g. hate speech, bestiality, incest, pedophile material) and then there are media that can't be advertised for or sold to people below 18 years old.

Each game (and music album et al. for that matter) may be reviewed by the Federal Department for Media Harmful to Young Persons (http://www.bundespruefstelle.de/bpjm/information-in-english.html) (BPjM) if someone applies for the content to be checked. There's a Youth Protection Law here and my guess is it was also created after WWII to ensure demagogues can't influence the next generation of Germans toward extremism. The law evolved over the decades.

Not allowing to advertise a product can be seen as a virtual ban, sure, but in the age of the internet, that's a non-issue. Plus, it's not illegal for adults to import games, albums and DVDs that are on the BPjM Index.

What's that about Flickr, btw? I have an account and browse others' Flickr accounts regularly.


No problem.

Perhaps my understanding of German law re. media content is not accurate, influenced by many news stories that have referenced Germany's "banning" of games and how Germany has the strictest "censorhip" laws in the West. Then there was this news story that Germany was indeed contemplating outright banning of some games and or content. (http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117957261.html?categoryid=1009&cs=1)


Developing or even playing videogames in Germany could lead to imprisonment if a bill before the parliament there is passed.

Coming in the wake of a public outcry in Germany about reported links between gaming and violence, the bill under debate would outlaw the depiction of violent acts committed against human characters. It would apply to any video title played or distributed on German soil. The legislation effectively would put a ban on most first-person shooter, action and real-time strategy titles.

While it is true that German gamers can import games, it still does not excuse the ratings board for abusing thier power. Wow, they call it "the index"?

Re. Flickr, apparently German users are getting a filtered experience (http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/06/18/outcry_against_flickr_censorship/) of the website. EDIT: looking into this more, it sounds like a mix of German law and Flickr's decision on how to work within that law.

Binx
07-03-2007, 08:58 AM
Nothing like some good old fashioned Xenophobia to start out the morning!

How does criticism of a country's rules and laws equate to xenophobia?

Besides, I loves me some wiener schnitzel!

Marc Lombardi
07-03-2007, 09:02 AM
Nothing like some good old fashioned Xenophobia to start out the morning!

Don't fear.....LOVE instead!
http://www.smh.com.au/ffximage/2006/08/16/xena_narrowweb__300x520,0.jpg

Thomas Mauer
07-03-2007, 09:06 AM
No problem.

Perhaps my understanding of German law re. media content is not accurate, influenced by many news stories that have referenced Germany's "banning" of games and how Germany has the strictest "censorhip" laws in the West. Then there was this news story that Germany was indeed contemplating outright banning of some games and or content. (http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117957261.html?categoryid=1009&cs=1)

While it is true that German gamers can import games, it still does not excuse the ratings board for abusing thier power. Wow, they call it "the index"?
Oh yeah, the "killer games" disaster. Gotta love the news media. They actually started using that term the last time a high school kid went amok here and politicians latched on to it to score points. It's just like in the US, really. Politicians and people of influence in the media who have no idea what the video game medium is all about are trying to "get something under control" they don't understand. video games are this generation's Rock and Roll, that's all. I highly doubt this law gets passed because we already have a voluntary ratings board much like in the US and other countries and the BPjM.

Bottom line is, if they outlaw development of 4/5 of the world's best selling game genres, Germany will lose lots of the little business it has in video game design. The country can't afford that. If it does go through, though, just wait 10 years till people who've grown up gaming get into positions of power and the law will be repealed. It's not just the financial losses in the industry, though: the migration of IT people to other European countries to develop games legally would deprive Germany of a workforce it can't lose because it would affect not just game designers but other parts of computer programming as well.

Btw, the German version of the first Half Life was put on the Index as well (I know, Orwellian title). To get it off, the enemies became robots that bled oil. It was a disaster and something similar wasn't repeated. Usually, fading bodies after a short while and no blood is now enough.


Re. Flickr, apparently German users are getting a filtered experience (http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/06/18/outcry_against_flickr_censorship/) of the website. EDIT: looking into this more, it sounds like a mix of German law and Flickr's decision on how to work within that law.

Gonna go read that now. Thanks for the link.

Mister Mets
07-03-2007, 09:22 AM
Why do people think Fred Thompson is an appealing presidential candidate?
Gravitas. Plus he's pretty conservative, which is appealing to some Republicans when some of their favorite Presidential hopefuls (especially George Allen) lost Senate races in 06.

Binx
07-03-2007, 09:33 AM
Bottom line is, if they outlaw development of 4/5 of the world's best selling game genres, Germany will lose lots of the little business it has in video game design. The country can't afford that. If it does go through, though, just wait 10 years till people who've grown up gaming get into positions of power and the law will be repealed. It's not just the financial losses in the industry, though: the migration of IT people to other European countries to develop games legally would deprive Germany of a workforce it can't lose because it would affect not just game designers but other parts of computer programming as well.

Btw, the German version of the first Half Life was put on the Index as well (I know, Orwellian title). To get it off, the enemies became robots that bled oil. It was a disaster and something similar wasn't repeated. Usually, fading bodies after a short while and no blood is now enough.



Gonna go read that now. Thanks for the link.

Wow, so it is still a possibility? If so, then that is exactly all I meant by my first post. And I am only picking on Germany because that is apparently Mr. Lombardi's next place of residence. ;) Seriously, though I am far more critical of the US than I am of the EU. Afterall I vote and pay taxes here. US politicians are equally as guilty of suggesting videogame censorship, and I'll go on the attack (and not vote for them) just as quickly.

I had not heard of the HL controversy. Reminds me of green blood in Nintendo's Mortal Kombat. UGH.


My biggest worry re. censorhsip, and any intrusion of government power, is that every little they take they will never give back, and every little we allow, seems to make it easier for us to allow more. My guess is that there would be no such bill as mentioned above even being discussed if the strict laws were not already in place. In the end, it is about a lot more than robot oil blood or a person's ability to see boobies on Flickr.

Ray G.
07-03-2007, 10:15 AM
Thompson will ride high in the polls until he actually has to take part in a debate.

Thomas Mauer
07-03-2007, 10:40 AM
Wow, so it is still a possibility?
No idea, really. I haven't watched/read national news in a long time. :lol:


My biggest worry re. censorhsip, and any intrusion of government power, is that every little they take they will never give back, and every little we allow, seems to make it easier for us to allow more. My guess is that there would be no such bill as mentioned above even being discussed if the strict laws were not already in place. In the end, it is about a lot more than robot oil blood or a person's ability to see boobies on Flickr.
I think it's British historian Eric Hobsbaum who explained the difference between Europeans' and Americans' ideas about government control like this:

Since the 19th century, European peoples have increasingly relied on (and welcomed) sharply defined legislature to safeguard against the abuses of princes that they were subjected to for centuries. Americans freed themselves from such control and started out more egalitarian than their European brothers in the late 18th/early 19th centuries. Since they got out form under the thumb, they've been less willing to submit to strict government control ever since.

The difference between the monopolization of power in Europe before and since the 19th and 20th centuries is that before, it was what you fear as an American: the arbitrary taking away of your rights. Since the 19th and 20th centuries and the increasing control of "the people" in European governments, laws are created to safeguard the rights of the individual against government.

There's still a big potential for abuse, though. You're absolutely right about that.