Don't Vote, it Just Encourages the Bastards
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Don't Vote, it Just Encourages the Bastards

3.41 of 5 stars 3.41  ·  rating details  ·  403 ratings  ·  77 reviews
Put the country's big, fat political ass on a diet. Lose that drooping deficit. Slim those spreading entitlement programs. Firm up that flabby pair of butt cheeks which are the Senate and the House.

Having had a lot of fun with what politicians do, P.J. O'Rourke now has a lot of fun with what we should think about those politicians. Nothing good, to be sure. Best-selling hu...more
Hardcover, 275 pages
Published September 21st 2010 by Atlantic Monthly Press (first published January 1st 2010)
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John Wiswell
This was my first exposure to O’Rourke in longer form than a column or talk show appearance. In the future, I’ll stick to newspapers and TV. There you receive a few hundred words targeted on a subject of the day, and in the televised case, delivered to you by someone with personable charisma to help moderate the dreary outlook. In a full book it clots up into cynical monotony.

You could argue that it's two-tone rather than monotone. There's the fake sincerity of the setup, then the half-sober sar...more
Jim
There is no political essayist that makes me laugh more than P.J. O'Rourke. In the most recent collection of pieces culled from columns and speeches, O'Rourke beats the conservative drum over the head of liberals in general, Obama in particular and Republicans for screwing up the opportunities leading up to the sub-prime fiasco and the current economic and governmental travesty. I cannot recall any book I've read where the footnotes made me howl-out-loud laugh. This one does.
Douglas Wilson
He has moments here of glorious lucidity, and I enjoyed the whole thing enough to read all the way through. But O'Rourke is missing a step or two these days.
Emma
Reading political things is either just making yourself feel good about what you already believe or an exercise in increasing blood pressure. So I've decided.

"...terrorism is not... just a product of left-wing politics and its offshoot fascism." (p 181)

"Gun ownership is crucial to the preservation of American freedoms. We may have to shoot Democrats. It happened in 1861 and it could happen again." (p 165) (Note that this book was published slightly before the political shooting of Congresswoman...more
Andrea
Occasionally funny, frequently lame. Full of boring ad-hominem nonsense (which may be satisfying if you really hate, say, Joe Biden) and straw men. I can't imagine this speaking to anyone who actually analyzes arguments rather than just automatically nodding bobble-heads.
Donald
O'Rourke is funny and intelligent and this is usually enough for me to listen to one whose politics I don't agree with. But there is only so much cynicism I can take, and this amount equates to about a quarter of this book. That is where I put it down.
Melissa Proffitt
I like his travel writing better, and a lot of this is recycled from other books. Most interesting to me was his account of his journey from one end of the political spectrum to another; I find stories of how people change their lives fascinating.
Martin
O’Rourke is a conservative with a brain, readable across the political spectrum and the integrity and quality of this book is far better than the Beck and Palin types
Brian
Worth reading if you are "hall monitor" for TAKS testing week - otherwise PJ has a lot better books out there.
Richard
As has been noted in other places, this rant of P.J. O'Rourke's is not as entertaining as Parliament of Whores, but I think it is indicative of a change in his reporting position: When he wrote Parliament of Whores, he was still working in Washington and had regular contact with politicians and policy wonks of all types - you'll never find a better (or more infuriating) look at federal bureaucracy than his chapter on the Department of Transportation. In Don't Vote, a lot of it is just P.J. rumin...more
Suzanne
As we are in the midst of a Presidential election and the campaign mud-slinging is in full force, I was in the mood for some humor injected into the political realm. I was first introduced to P.J. O’Rourke while working for his lecture agency, and for years I have enjoyed reading his books and columns.

Don’t Vote is a collection of chapters dealing with the issues of the 2010 election and O’Rourke’s leanings have changed slightly from libertarian to leaning Republican. Some of the chapters are re...more
Doug Vanderweide
Nov 14, 2010 Doug Vanderweide rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Conservatives, libertarians, and Tea Party members who can read
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Masha K.
P.J. O'Rourke is my favorite humor/satire writer, and I absolutely loved his earlier works, so I suppose my expectations were too high going in. My hopes rose high in the beginning of the book (kill/f--k/marry is just as sharp and hilarious as I remember P.J. being). There is also a lot of very interesting and useful information, from history of this county's founding to a great explanation of why US infant mortality rates are higher than in Europe (the answer will break your heart). Towards the...more
R.
I've been a fan of P.J.'s work, whether or not I agreed with what he was saying, since, well, since a long time, okay? And I have to admit it: he's not the writer he once was. This may not be entirely a bad thing, but...

Don't Vote... has some thought put into it, no question. Indeed, as he admits himself, a lot of that thought went into previous works, making this one in many places a sort of culmination of where he's been these few decades. And in several places, this has taken him somewhere im...more
Brian
I had to think long and hard about putting up a review, even a silly one, of P.J. O'Rourke's latest, Don't Vote, It Just Encourages the Bastards. For one thing, I hate people who bring politics where it doesn't belong. For another, political books by their nature preach mainly to the converted. It seems peculiarly pointless to read, let alone review, one.

Which is a shame, because O'Rourke actually makes some trenchant points. For instance, he notes --and makes fun of-- the myriad problems that c...more
Laura
I enjoy P.J. O'Rourke although I often don't agree with things he says. He's intelligent and usually quite funny. I didn't think this book was as good as some of the others. I liked Parliament of Whores better. When P.J. is on a roll he's very funny, mostly entertaining but sometimes just flat and redundant. Worth the read but this one left me feeling that it should have been better. The biggest problem is that I like his shorter writings (Rolling Stone, National Lampoon, Vanity Fair, etc.) much...more
Jeremy
I LOVES me some P.J. O'Rourke! When I was wading through the bog that is, essentially, the retarded worldview of academia, P.J saved me with great books like Parliament of Whores, All the Trouble in the World, Eat the Rich, Peace Kills, etc. Sick of the whole political mess we are going through? Listen to this bit of wisdom: "If there's something we want, politics shouldn't be our first resort. Politics is all taking, no making. Whatever politics provides for us will be obtained from other peopl...more
Barry Parham
Brilliant. And, as with everything by Mr. O'Rourke, such fun to read. Every page offers something to quote or, better yet, to steal. For example:

[Concerning the federal bailout]
"The message that the U.S. government sent to the broke banks and beggared financial institutions was this: 'Don't you ever do this again or we'll give you more money.'"

[on taxes]
"The government makes off with [an increasing chunk] of our goods and services. Then the government gives those goods and services back to us...more
Valissa
No one can be as wrong and as right, and hysterically funny, as right-wing P.J. O'Rourke.

One of my favorite quotes:
"What's important about morality in politics is us. We own the chicken farm. We must give our bird-brained, feather-headed politicians morals. Politicians love to think of themselves as "free-range" but they do not have the capacity to hunt or gather morals in the wild. If we fail to supply them with morality, politicians begin to act very scary in the barnyard. These are enormous...more
Roderick Potts
I've been a fan of PJ O'Rourke for some time. I have to agree with many of the other reviews here that this book doesn't possess the same laugh out loud qualities that some of his earlier works did. But that's not to say it's not funny. There are plenty of great, witty and hilarious observations in this book. Well worth a look for any PJ fan. If you've never read anything by him and want someplace to start, Parliament of Whores may be a better bet.
Anthony
From what I've read I would probably like to read more P.J. O'Rourke. Although I agree with most of his politics in this book, I do differ on some of his views on the current candidates/current crop of politicians. Although I'm not such a sycophant that I can't see the validity of said arguments I think it is worth mentioning. Not much else to add from my perspective, and is one of the few books I would recommend for people of all political stripes.
Robert
P.J. O'Rourke is hilarious when given something to react against. His Driving Like Crazy anthology last year was superb. Sadly this latest tome is closer to the dire CEO of the Sofa... It's just conservative talking points and cheap shots at the lefties. Not even funny cheap shots or it would be worth reading. Ironically in one chapter O'Rourke reviews recent left and right wing books and chides them for the same mindless behavior. Disappointing.
James M.
Because I like to hear both sides of a story, I read Matt Taibbi's Griftopia and P.J. O'Rourke's Don't Vote, It Just Encourages the Bastards. O'Rourke, who describes himself as, "just to the right of Rush Limbaugh," gives a wonderfully funny look at conservatism and where it went wrong as well as a look at the financial crisis and who was to blame. I only wish that he would do more travel journalism like his "Holidays in Hell."
Kerry
The author has a way of making really serious issues seem really trivial by bringing them all 'down to his level'. He can't seem to identify problems without making a snide remark (apparently humour, but none of it really funny), and offers few serious solutions to any of them. This kind of cynical carping is tolerable from a drunk and cantankerous uncle around the lunch table for an afternoon, but I can't make it through a whole book.
Kelley
I am an O'Rourke fan, no doubt about it. But "Don't Vote..." is not great O'Rourke. It is not nearly as focused as his classics "Parliament of Whores", "All the Trouble in the World", and "Eat the Rich". And being not nearly as focused, it is not nearly as funny or biting. It is better than "CEO of the Sofa", but not by much. Though, for die hard fans, such as me, that need a "PJ Fix" every couple of years, it will do.
Anthony
PJ O'Rourke is one of my favorite authors, and while this book isn't as good as some of his previous works - he does better when he's describing experiences than when he's discussing political theory - it has enough insight and laugh-out-loud sections to make it worth a read. It's also interesting to see how his views on politics have changed as he's gotten older, gotten married, and had children.
Andrew
I haven't read any of his other books, but based on a few essays of his and some interviews I've heard, I figured I'd enjoy this book. But I didn't.

This book wasn't as funny as I expected. It was clever in parts, but midway through I found myself racing to the end. I might still try reading another book of his - but I was definitely disappointed in this one.
Upom
Another humorous piece by O'Rourke. Not as funny as his past works, but still has a few chuckles. One of the sad things is this the first book I read where O'Rourke somewhat denounces his libretarian views. His humor is still sharp, but weakens with some careful thought. Still an intelligible read that gives pause when considering liberal vs. conservative ideas.
Toni Daugherty
I've always thought PJ was so funny - even though I don't agree with most of his politics. I enjoy how he attacks both parties when they clearly deserve it, but to take him seriously is just silly. His ideas are reactive and he is clearly more glib than truly thoughtful. He just isn't that intelligent. He's an entertainer. And, he is quite funny on occassion.
Bryan457
Random snippets of political theory written in a manner that is supposed to be funny.

Occasionally amusing.
Frequently vulgar.
Occasionally interesting.
Frequently incomprehensible (mostly just me, since I don't follow the news much, and so missed many of the references).
Occasionally stupid.

At least it wasn't deadly dry boring.
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P. J. O’Rourke was born and raised in Toledo, Ohio, and attended Miami University and Johns Hopkins. He began writing funny things in 1960s “underground” newspapers, became editor-in-chief of National Lampoon, then spent 20 years reporting for Rolling Stone and The Atlantic Monthly as the world’s only trouble-spot humorist, going to wars, riots, rebellions, and other “Holidays in Hell” in more tha...more
More about P.J. O'Rourke...
Parliament of Whores: A Lone Humorist Attempts to Explain the Entire U.S. Government Holidays in Hell: In Which Our Intrepid Reporter Travels to the World's Worst Places and Asks, "What's Funny About This" Eat the Rich: A Treatise on Economics All the Trouble in the World Give War a Chance: Eyewitness Accounts of Mankind's Struggle Against Tyranny, Injustice, and Alcohol-Free Beer

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“What's important about morality in politics is us. We own the chicken farm. We must give our bird-brained, feather-headed politicians morals. Politicians love to think of themselves as "free-range" but they do not have the capacity to hunt or gather morals in the wild. If we fail to supply them with morality, politicians begin to act very scary in the barnyard. These are enormous headless chickens and they have nukes.” 4 likes
“The Affordable Health Care for Americans Act, passed by the House of Representatives on November 7, 2009, was 1,990 pages long. You could stand on it to paint the ceiling. The entire U.S. Constitution can be printed on eight pages. That's eight pages to run a whole country for 221 years versus four reams of government pig latin if you slam your thumb in a car door.” 3 likes
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