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

3.59  ·  Rating details ·  693 Ratings  ·  90 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 h
Hardcover, 275 pages
Published September 21st 2010 by Atlantic Monthly Press (first published January 1st 2010)
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Aug 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Nov 24, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: politics
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.
John Wiswell
May 29, 2011 rated it did not like it
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
Dec 25, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: politics
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
Terry Cornell
Jul 07, 2016 rated it liked it
Although this book was published in 2010, the title is very appropriate for today's political train wreck. I would give this book a three and a half star rating. O'Rourke's writing style is an interesting mix of humor, very serious analysis of political theory, and on occasion a vocabulary that forces me to reach for the dictionary. Perhaps my biggest observation is that over the last six years none of the political issues mentioned in 'Don't Vote' have been fixed. The economy is still on life s ...more
Nov 17, 2010 rated it it was ok
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
Aug 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It is very cleverly written and at times laugh-out-loud-on-public-transport funny. Couldn't disagree more with his views, but still an extremely enjoyable read. Although, twenty-three jabs at Bill Clinton's infidelity might be at least twenty-two too many.

Part three, which starts with the chapter "Why I'm right", is gruesome and makes me feel guilty for having laughed at his previous jokes. However, I did laugh, so the book still deserves a high rating. Unfortunately.
Sidharth Vardhan
The book is good as an introduction to American Political scene with great humor even if you don't agree with author and he seems to know that most issues are open to debate.The trouble is writer seems to get carried too far away with his jokes at times.If you want the beat of writer you must read his commentary on 'Wealth of Nations'
Melissa McShane
Sep 03, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, politics
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.
Nov 05, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: gave-up
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.
May 04, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Worth reading if you are "hall monitor" for TAKS testing week - otherwise PJ has a lot better books out there.
Sep 06, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
May 17, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: the-dark-side
Part two of my project of 'reading opinions I don't agree with'. All I can say is, at least it wasn't Ann Coulter ...
May 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Informative and soooo frigging funny!
May 19, 2017 rated it liked it
read on audiobook, great narrator. not as good as his 80s/90s stuff.
May 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A bit dated, but lots of fun and occasionally educational. If you are a conservative leaning libertarian like me, you'll like it.
Peter Skettos
Jul 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Witty, original and somewhat unbiased. O'Rourke never ceases to disappoint...
Mary Karpel-Jergic
Oct 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: politics
I often don't agree with PJ O'Rouke (e.g. "when I'm faced with political-economy conundrums, I fall back on a few works filled with common sense: The Road to Serfdom by Friedrich Hayek") so I have to give him a high score because normally I read things that are agreeable to me. It is his style that grabs me in his writing. He makes comments, funny comments, but with grains of truth (according to PJ) embedded in them. Great Quotes ("Science is deterministic and its special needs stepsister social ...more
Jennifer Townsend
Feb 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
(It took me ages to get through this because I only read it in pieces - in between required reading and other reading.)

I love P.J. O'Rourke. I don't think I've ever read a single thing that he's written that didn't make me laugh and yell "right on!" A fantastic selection of essays, linked together perfectly.
Feb 28, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: politics, non-fiction
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
Marina Fontaine
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
Apr 19, 2011 rated it liked it
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
Nov 28, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Richard Barnes
Mar 22, 2016 rated it liked it
A bit too full of ranting opinion without being pinned to harder reporting. O'Rourke's better books (such as "All the Trouble in the world" or "Eat the Rich") contain plenty of right-leaning rhetoric but it's backed up by real experience.

Too much of this book is less focused anti-liberal ranting - O'Rourke fails to skewer Obamacare or make any meaningful critique of climate warming (perhaps because there isn't a meaningful critique).

He hits his stride best though, where he turns his bile on the
Barry Parham
Oct 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Nov 17, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Andrew Fish
Mar 31, 2016 rated it liked it
What is wrong with American politics and why do Americans let people do it to them? In one of O'Rourke's less structured books, he rambles through the American political system, sometimes philosophically, sometimes simply mockingly. Here and there he even talks about his own journey across the political spectrum - a topic which he covers with amusing frankness. O'Rourke is, as ever, unapologetic about his Republican leanings, but for an outsider like myself this only occasionally jars. For the m ...more
Dec 08, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: library
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
Dec 06, 2010 rated it really liked it
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.
Nov 08, 2010 rated it it was ok
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.
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Patrick Jake "P. J." O'Rourke is an American political satirist, journalist, writer, and author. O'Rourke is the H. L. Mencken Research Fellow at the Cato Institute and is a regular correspondent for The Atlantic Monthly, The American Spectator, and The Weekly Standard, and frequent panelist on National Public Radio's game show Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!. Since 2011 O'Rourke has been a columnist ...more
More about P.J. O'Rourke...
“Sucking the fun out of life has always been an important component of politics.” 7 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.” 7 likes
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