Signature Quotes: Politics: P.J. O'Rourke

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"Who does Bill Clinton think got off the boat and stepped on Plymouth Rock? Peace Corps volunteers?" -- P.J. O'Rourke
"I believe that Western civilization, after some disgusting glitches, has become almost civilized. I believe it is our first duty to protect that civilization. I believe it is our second duty to improve it. I believe it is our third duty to extend it if we can." - P. J. O'Rourke
"...Daniel Patrick Moynihan is the archtypical extremely smart person who went into politics anyway instead so doing something worthwhile for his country. So maybe he owes all of us an apology..." -- Parliament of Whores by P. J. O'Rourke
"You'll note that politicians no longer spend money, they invest it. Don't worry about paying more to the [IRS]. You aren't being taxed; you're taking a plunge on a fly-by-night stock issue." -- P.J. O'Rourke
"The whole idea of our government is this: If enough people get together and act in concert, they can take something and not pay for it." -- P.J. O'Rourke - A Parliament of Whores
"At the core of liberalism is the spoiled child - miserable, as all spoiled children are, unsatisfied, demanding, ill-disciplined, despotic and useless. Liberalism is a philosphy of sniveling brats." -- P.J. O'Rourke
"Giving government money and power is like giving car keys and whiskey to a teenage boy" - P.J. O'Rourke
Sen. Ted Kennedy: "And when the Reagan administration was selling arms to Iran, WHERE WAS GEORGE?"
Answer: Dry, sober, and at home with his wife.
Paraphrased from "A Parliament of Whores" by P.J. O'Rourke
"The American political system is like a gigantic Mexican Christmas fiesta. Each political party is a huge pinata -- a papier-mache donkey, for example. The donkey is filled with full employment, low interest rates, affordable housing, comprehensive medical benefits, a balanced budge and other goodies. The American voter is blindfoled and given a stick. The voter then swings the stick wildly in every direction, trying to hit a political candidate on the head and knock some sense into the silly bastard." - P.J. O'Rourke,"Parliament of Whores"
"You can't get good chinese takeout in China and cuban cigars are rationed in Cuba. That's all you need to know about communism." - P.J. ORourke
"A little government and a little luck are necessary in life, but only a fool trusts either of them." -- P.J. O'ROURKE
"There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences." -- PJ O'Rourke
"[T]he Clinton administration launched an attack on people in Texas because those people were religious nuts with guns. Hell, this country was founded by religious nuts with guns. Who does Bill Clinton think stepped ashore on Plymouth Rock? Peace Corps volunteers? Or maybe the people in Texas were attacked because of child abuse. But, if child abuse was the issue, why didn't Janet Reno tear-gas Woody Allen? -- P.J. O'Rourke, speech at the Cato Institute, May 6, 1993
The Democrats are the party that says government will make you smarter, taller, richer, and remove the crabgrass on your lawn. The Republicans are the party that says government doesn't work and then they get elected and prove it. -- P.J. O'Rourke
"How did an allegedly free people spawn a vast, rampant cuttlefish of dominion with its tentacles in every orifice of the body politic?" - P.J. O'Rourke
Politics should be limited in scope to ware, protection of property, and the occasional precautionary beheading of a member of the ruling class." -- P.J. O'Rourke
"The free market is ugly and stupid, like going to the mall; the unfree market is just as ugly and just as stupid, except there is nothing in the mall and if you don't go there they shoot you." - P.J. O'Rourke
Some may decry the impeachment of William Jefferson Clinton as a national trauma, but not humorist P.J. O'Rourke, who thinks the proceedings are a win-win situation -- and grand entertainment to boot. Mr. O'Rourke, writing in the latest issue of the Weekly Standard, acknowledges that "some earnest souls have gone so far as to aver that impeachment has distracted President Clinton from ... raising taxes, destroying health care, appointing 1960s bakeheads to high political office, soliciting felonious campaign contributions, hanging friends out to dry for Arkansas real estate frauds, giving missile secrets to the Chinese, taking credit for the benefits of a free market about which he knows little and cares less, using U.S. military forces as fig leaves for domestic scandals and au pairs for the U.N., leading foreign policy back into the flea circus of Jimmy Carterism, having phone sex, groping patronage seekers, and snapping the elastic on the underpants of psychologically disturbed school-age White House interns entrusted with the task of delivering high-level government pizza."
Ouch. Tell us what you really think, P.J. "No matter what, Bill," Mr.O'Rourke concludes, "your girlfriend's ugly, your wife hates you, and your dog can't hunt."
"Anyway, no drug, not even alcohol, causes the fundamental ills of society. If we're looking for the source of our troubles, we shouldn't test people for drugs, we should test them for stupidity, ignorance, greed and love of power." -- P.J. O'Rourke
"There is no virtue in compulsory government charity, and there is no virtue in advocating it. A politician who portrays himself as "caring" and "sensitive" because he wants to expand the government's charitable programs is merely saying that he's willing to try to do good with other people's money. Well, who isn't? And a voter who takes pride in supporting such programs is telling us that he'll do good with his own money -- if a gun is held to his head." -- P.J. O'Rourke
Worshiping the earth is more fun than going to church. It's also closer. We can just step off the sidewalk. And sometimes we can get impressionable members of the opposite sex to perform sacramental rites with us. "Every drop of water wasted is a drop less of a wild and scenic river, Jennifer. We'd better double up in the shower." -- P.J. O'Rourke, All the trouble in the world. The lighter side of famine, pestilence, destruction and death.
"...and biotechnology is a worry. What if they take genetic material from wet noodles and blowfish and splice it into politician chromosomes and create a Clinton administration?" -- P.J. Rourke, All the trouble in the world. The lighter side of famine, pestilence, destruction and death.
"The people who believe that, as a result of industrial development, life is about to become a hell, or may be one already, are guilty, at least, of sloppy pronouncements. On page 8 of Earth in the Balance, Al Gore claims that his study of the arms race gave him "a deeper appreciation for the most horrifying fact in all our lives: civilization is now capable of destroying itself." In the first place, the most horrifying fact in many of our lives is that our ex-spouse has gotten ahold of our ATM card. And civilization has always been able to destroy itself. The Greeks of ancient Athens, who had a civilization remarkable for lack of technological progress during its period of greatest knowledge and power, managed to destroy them fine." -- P.J. O'Rourke, All the trouble in the world. The lighter side of famine, pestilence, destruction and death.
"Fretting about overpopulation, is a perfect guilt-free - indeed, sanctimonious - way for "progressives" to be racists." -- P.J. O'Rourke, All the trouble in the world. The lighter side of famine, pestilence, destruction and death.
"Malthus,", says [former] Vice President Al Gore in Earth in the Balance, "was right in predicting that the population would grow geometrically." Al, as the father of four children, should know. -- P.J. O'Rourke, All the trouble in the world. The lighter side of famine, pestilence, destruction and death.
"Coffee and cigarettes are much better if you want an instant breakfast." -- P.J. O'Rourke, The bachelor home companion. A practical guide to keeping house like a pig.
"...Harvard has been almost as important to the American Jewish community as the pork-sausage industry." -- P.J. O'Rourke, Holidays in hell
"When buying and selling are controlled by legislation, the first things to be bought and sold are legislators." -- P.J. O'ROURKE
The Dignified Way to Vomit: Remain standing. With right hand, hold cocktail to the side at arm's length. Bow deeply at the waist. Include all regurgitation in one retch. Resume upright position. Use left hand to wipe mouth with handkerchief (not toilet paper). Take another drink. -- P.J. O'Rourke
"It's better to spend money like there's no tomorrow than to spend tonight like there's no money." -- Modern Manners: An Etiquette Book for Rude People.
"Never Refuse Wine. It is an odd but universally held opinion that anyone who doesn't drink must be an alcoholic." -- Modern Manners: An Etiquette Book for Rude People.
"A woman should dress to attract attention. To attract the most attention, a woman should be either nude, or wearing something as expensive as getting her nude is going to be." -- Modern Manners: An Etiquette Book for Rude People.
"The founding fathers, in their wisdom, devised a method by which our republic can take one hundred of its most prominent numbskulls and keep them out of the private sector where they might do actual harm." -- P.J. O'Rourke
"Well the planet I've got a chance to visit is Earth, and Earth's principal features are chaos and war. I think I'd be a fool to spend years here and never have a look." -- P.J. O'Rourke
"The college idealists who fill the ranks of the environmental movement seem willing to do absolutely anything to save the biosphere, except take science courses and learn something about it." -- P.J. O'Rourke
"There is no virtue in compulsory government charity, and there is no virtue in advocating it. A politician who portrays himself as 'caring' and 'sensitive' because he wants to expand the government's charitable programs is merely saying that he's willing to try to do good with other people's money. Well, who isn't? And a voter who takes pride in supporting such programs is telling us that he'll do good with his own money -- if a gun is held to his head." -- P.J. O'Rourke
"Armenians and Azerbaijanis in Stepanakert, capital of the Nagorno-Karabakh autonomous region, rioted over much needed spelling reform in the Soviet Union." -- P.J. O'Rourke
"After all, what is your hosts' purpose in having a party? Surely not for you to enjoy yourself; if that were their sole purpose, they'd have simply sent champagne and women over to your place by taxi." -- P.J. O'Rourke
"It's the squares who know how to fly the fighter planes and operate the missiles and the bombs and work the M-16s. Liberals would still be fumbling with the federally mandated trigger locks." -- P.J. O'Rourke
"The French are a smallish, monkey-looking bunch and not dressed any better, on average, than the citizens of Baltimore. True, you can sit outside in Paris and drink little cups of coffee, but why this is more stylish than sitting inside and drinking large glasses of whiskey I don't know." -- P.J O'Rourke (1989)
"However, it says something unflattering about our era that prominent political figures--who used to write declarations of independence, preambles to constitutions, Gettysburg addresses, and such--now use the alphabet only to make primitive artifacts, like the letter-inscribed tablet that Charlemagne is said to have put under his pillow each night, in the hope he'd wake up literate. Conservatives, including most of the Founding Fathers, have always worried that the price of a democratic system would be a mediocre nation. But George Washington and William F. Buckley Jr. put together could not have foreseen, in their gloomiest moments, the rise of Clinton-style über-mediocrity--with its soaring commonplaces, its pumped trifling, its platinum-grade triviality. The Alpha-dork husband, the super-twerp wife, and the hyper-wonk vice president--together with all their mega-weenie water carriers, such as vicious pit gerbil George Stephanopoulos and Eastern diamondback rattleworm Sidney Blumenthal--spent eight years trying to make America nothing to brag about." -- P.J O'Rourke on HRC's book
"Boring others is a form of aggression, and Hillary attacks her public with the weapon of brutal dullness." -- P.J O'Rourke on HRC's book
"Drugs have taught an entire generation of American kids the metric system." -- P. J. O'Rourke
"Say what you want about the Nazis, no woman has ever had a fantasy about being tied up and beaten by a man dressed as a liberal." -- P.J. O'Rourke
"You know your children are growing up when they stop asking you where they came from and refuse to tell you where they're going." -- P. J. O'Rourke
"It is easy to understand why the cat has eclipsed the dog as modern America's favorite pet. People like pets to possess the same qualities they do. Cats are irresponsible and recognize no authority, yet are completely dependent on others for their material needs. Cats cannot be made to do anything useful. Cats are mean for the fun of it." -- P. J. O'Rourke
"One of the annoying things about believing in free will and individual responsibility is the difficulty of finding somebody to blame your problems on. And when you do find somebody, it's remarkable how often his picture turns up on your driver's license." -- P. J. O'Rourke
"The weirder you're going to behave, the more normal you should look. It works in reverse, too. When I see a kid with green hair and three or four rings in his nose, I know there is absolutely nothing extraordinary about that person." -- P. J. O'Rourke
"The main reason to be opposed to political control of smoking is to keep power --even the smallest and silliest kind of power -- out of the hands of ... members of a dangerous class --the class that knows what´s good for us better than we do." -- P.J. O'Rourke
"When a government controls both the economic power of individuals and the coercive power of the state ... this violates a fundamental rule of happy living: Never let the people with all the money and the people with all the guns be the same people." -- P.J. O'Rourke
"The principle feature of American liberalism is sanctimoniousness. By loudly denouncing all bad things--war and hunger and date rape--liberals testify to their own terrific goodness. More important, they promote themselves to membership in a self-selecting elite of those who care deeply about such things. . . . It´s a kind of natural aristocracy, and the wonderful thing about this aristocracy is that you don´t have to be brave, smart, strong or even lucky to join it, you just have to be liberal." -- P.J. O'Rourke
"The Tenth Commandment sends a message to socialists, to egalitarians, to people obsessed with fairness, to American presidential candidates in the year 2000 -- to everyone who believes that wealth should be redistributed. And that message is clear and concise: Go to Hell." -- P.J. O'Rourke, Eat the Rich
"America wasn't founded so that we could all be better. America was founded so we could all be anything we damn well please." -- P.J. O'Rourke
"A politician is anyone who asks individuals to surrender part of their liberty - their power and privilege - to State, Masses, Mankind, Planet Earth, or whatever. This state, those masses, that mankind, and the planet will then be run by ... politicians." -- from All the Trouble in the World
"Mass transit helps preserve nature in places like Yellowstone Park, the Everglades and the Arctic wilderness, because mass transit doesn't go there." -- P.J. O'Rourke
"If government were a product, selling it would be illegal." -- P.J. O'Rourke
"Even a band of angels can turn ugly and start looting if enough angels are unemployed and hanging around the Pearly Gates convinced that all the succubi own all the liquor stores in Heaven." -- P.J. O'Rourke
"In our brief national history we have shot four of our presidents, worried five of them to death, impeached one and hounded another out of office. And when all else fails, we hold an election and assassinate their character.." -- P. J. O'Rourke
"Marijuana is self-punishing. It makes you acutely sensitive, and in this world, what worse punishment could there be?" -- P. J. O'Rourke
"There are a number of mechanical devices which increase sexual arousal, particularly in women. Chief among these is the Mercedes-Benz 380SL convertible." -- P. J. O'Rourke
"Never wear anything that panics the cat." -- P. J. O'Rourke
"I am a journalist and, under the modern journalist's code of Olympian objectivity (and total purity of motive), I am absolved of responsibility." -- P. J. O'Rourke
"The mystery of government is not how Washington works but how to make it stop." -- PJ O'Rourke
You say we [reporters] are distracting from the business of government. Well, I hope so. Distracting a politician from governing is like distracting a bear from eating your baby. -- P. J. O'Rourke
"These were people who believed everything about the Soviet Union was perfect, but they were bringing their own toilet paper." -- P.J. O'Rourke
"Health care is too expensive, so the Clinton administration is putting a high-powered coporate lawyer -- Hillary -- in charge of making it cheaper. (This is what I always do when I want to spend less money -- hire a lawyer from Yale.) If you think health care is expensive now, wait until you see what it costs when it's free." -- P.J. O'Rourke
"The second item in the liberal creed, after self-righteousness, is unaccountability. Liberals have invented whole college majors--psychology, sociology, women's studies--to prove that nothing is anybody's fault. No one is fond of taking responsibility for his actions, but consider how much you'd have to hate free will to come up with a political platform that advocates killing unborn babies but not convicted murderers. A callous pragmatist might favor abortion and capital punishment. A devout Christian would sanction neither. But it takes years of therapy to arrive at the liberal view." -- P.J. O'Rourke
"I'm a registered Republican and consider socialism a violation of the American principle that you shouldn't stick your nose in other people's business except to make a buck." -- P.J. O'Rourke
"Freedom is not empowerment. Empowerment is what the Serbs have in Bosnia. Anybody can grab a gun and be empowered. It's not entitlement. An entitlement is what people on welfare get, and how free are they? It's not an endlessly expanding list of rights -- the "right" to education, the "right" to food and housing. That's not freedom, that's dependency. Those aren't rights, those are the rations of slavery -- hay and a barn for human cattle. There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences." -- P.J. O'Rourke
"In comparative terms, there's no poverty in America by a long shot. Heritage Foundation political scientist Robert Rector has worked up figures showing that when the official U.S. measure of poverty was developed in 1963, a poor American family had an income twenty-nine times greater than the average per capita income in the rest of the world. An individual American could make more money than 93 percent of the other people on the planet and still be considered poor." -- P.J. O'Rourke
"Some earnest souls have gone so far as to aver that impeachment has distracted President Clinton from ... raising taxes, destroying health care, appointing 1960s bakeheads to high political office, soliciting felonious campaign contributions, hanging friends out to dry for Arkansas real estate frauds, giving missile secrets to the Chinese, taking credit for the benefits of a free market about which he knows little and cares less, using U.S. military forces as fig leaves for domestic scandals and au pairs for the U.N., leading foreign policy back into the flea circus of Jimmy Carterism, having phone sex, groping patronage seekers, and snapping the elastic on the underpants of psychologically disturbed school-age White House interns entrusted with the task of delivering high-level government pizza." -- P.J. O'Rourke
"Schneider has made a career of telling the public that the climate is going to change drastically any time now, and indeed every spring and fall he's been right." -- P.J. O'Rourke
"It takes a lot of weapons to do good works (as Richard the Lionhearted could have told us). And this is not just a Somali problem. We have poverty and deprivation in our own country. Try standing unarmed on a street corner in Compton handing out twenty-dollar bills and see how long you last." -- P.J. O'Rourke
"The free market is ugly and stupid, like going to the mall; the unfree market is just as ugly and just as stupid, except there is nothing in the mall and if you don't go there they shoot you." - P.J. O'Rourke
"Cleanliness becomes more important when godliness is unlikely." -- P.J. O'Rourke
"Ann Coulter to me is someone who says things that I say all the time, but I say them at three in the morning when I’m drunk as a monkey. She says them at three in the afternoon stone sober in bright daylight." -- P. J. O’Rourke
"You can’t get rid of poverty by giving people money." -- P. J. O’Rourke
"Bringing the government in to run Wall Street is like saying, “Dad burned the dinner, let’s get the dog to cook." -- P.J. O’Rourke
"Fish is the only food that is considered spoiled once it smells like what it is." -- P. J. O'Rourke
"Liberalism is just Communism sold by the drink." -- P.J. O’Rourke
"When government does, occasionally, work, it works in an elitist fashion. That is, government is most easily manipulated by people who have money and power already. This is why government benefits usually go to people who don’t need benefits from government. Government may make some environmental improvements, but these will be improvements for rich bird-watchers. And no one in government will remember that when poor people go bird-watching they do it at Kentucky Fried Chicken." -- P.J. O’Rourke
"The idea of capitalism is not just success but also the failure that allows success to happen." -- P. J. O'Rourke
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