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McCain’s selection of Sarah Palin as his running mate certainly demonstrates one thing: living through the decadent phase of the American empire is going to be REALLY EXCITING. It could only have been more surprising if McCain had chosen a polyp from his large intestine.

McCain-McCain’s Polyp ’08
Putting Country First!

A well-functioning empire would produce presidential and vice-presidential candidates for both parties who (1) are experienced in running the empire, and (2) operate predictably within a narrow framework. And indeed, the US empire used to be like that. Eisenhower-Nixon gave way to Kennedy-LBJ. When Goldwater captured the nomination in 1964 with some real psycho vibes, the liberal imperial mainstream could easily crush him—because the empire, then at its height, had the breathing room to offer lots of inducements to regular Americans. Then it was back to Nixon, a competent imperial manager.

The ascendancy of Reagan, who was just slightly less insane than Goldwater, indicated the system was under stress. Still, he was surrounded by people like George H.W. Bush and James Baker, who kept him from going off the deep end. Bush-Quayle and Clinton-Gore supervised a period of needed imperial retrenchment.

But over the past eight years, things have truly gone off the rails. In previous times, destructive nutjobs like Cheney might have been in the room when decisions were made, but they certainly never had the final word. Yet there he is, cackling with glee as he sets fire to one after another of the empire’s supporting columns. And the sane imperial managers haven’t been able to do anything about it.

The failure of the sane imperial managers—*cough* Kerry *cough* New York Times—isn’t due to their own personal faults. It’s because there’s much less slack in the system than there used to be. The empire no longer has the means to keep itself running in a rational way while simultaneously buying lots of people off.

Bush-Cheney have screwed up so badly there might be one last, small opening for sane managers like Obama-Biden. “Vote for us, and we’ll give you a better-run empire, and, and…gay marriage!” However, while there is a long-term constituency for this, it’s a pretty small one.

So before long, there will only be two options for the people who want to run things. First, they could organize a rational liquidation of much of the empire, which would free up enough resources to create a long-term winning coalition. Second, they could go completely bugfuck nuts, and try to maintain the empire while cutting back on all social benefits and counting on the thrills of military triumph and chialism to keep them in power. What won’t be possible is the Obama-Biden approach.

In other words, the days of a rational American empire are drawing to a close. We’ll be forced to discard either the empire part, or the rational part. And based on 10,000 years of human history, I’m guessing it’s the rational part that will go.

Whether McCain wins or not, Sarah Palin is a harbinger of the future. The fact there was no one able to prevent McCain from choosing such an obviously inadequate imperial manager, and choosing her in such a bizarre, panicked way, indicates that—as during the decline of Rome, or the last years of Saddam’s regime—everyone sane has already been eliminated from the power structure. And thus we’re left with nothing but the whim of whoever’s clambered to the top of the Crazy Pole.

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