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Don't Vote It Just Encourages the Bastards Hardcover – Bargain Price, September 21, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
O'Rourke (On the Wealth of Nations) continues his libertarian attack of current politics. The author, an early editor at National Lampoon, takes on weighty topics like the Bill of Rights, climate change, health care reform, government bailouts, and foreign policy. When he wants to be serious, he quotes from John Locke and Thomas Hobbes; when he wants to be humorous, he brings up Joe Biden and Harry Reid. Republicans get a free ride mostly; if the subject is accumulation of power, Nancy Pelosi tops Dick Cheney. O'Rourke admits he's not a deep thinker, which is why when it comes to stem-cell research, he simply accepts that the dogma of his Catholicism clashes with scientific claims. But without further investigation, he embraces former president Bush's opposition to the research and lambastes president Obama ("damn wrong") for overturning the ban. When all else fails, use a dictionary definition, and O'Rourke breaks out his Webster's more than once. He works hard to lard his arguments with humor, but like much partisan work, these essays are best appreciated by those who already believe. (Sept.)
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Power, freedom, and responsibility are the most important elements of democracy, posits O’Rourke, author of Parliament of Whores (1991) and Driving like Crazy (2009). Americans like the freedom part, politicians like the power part, and hardly anyone wants to hear the responsibility part, he laments in this merciless but often humorous look at the shortcomings of American politics. American exceptionalism seems to extend to the fact that no other nation’s “covenants, treaties, conventions, protocols, compacts, and concordants” include the right to the pursuit of happiness. He criticizes liberal politics of universal health care and bailouts but also takes to task the conservatives for blowing a chance to “educate the electorate” and move more citizens into the Republican Party. O’Rourke charts the currents of his own ideological shift from raised Republican to youth as a Democrat for a decade and then a return to Republican as he matured. He dates his conservatism to the day his child was born: “Suddenly I was an opponent of change.” Whether readers agree with O’Rourke’s politics or not, his style is funny, cutting, and insightful. --Vanessa Bush
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Top Customer Reviews
There are no safe spaces or trigger warnings to be found in this book, particularly if your name starts with Hillary and ends with Clinton. This book is not just for grouchy right-wingers looking for a distraction from the nonsense of mainstream media, it's for anyone who agrees that politics is a load of b*** s***.
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 rehashes of previous columns altering the means to make his points. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t. It’s not his best work, but there were times when I truly appreciated his humor. He talks about becoming a father and how his anything goes political stances of the past have changed now that he has children.
“I have lost all my First Amendment principles about rap songs lyrics. I am infuriated by them. Because I cannot understand a word that hip-hop musicians say. For all I know what’s spewing out of their mouths is ‘We need a single-payer national health care system,’ or ‘Home mortgage interest tax deductions subsidize the urban sprawl, increase the burden on transportation infrastructure, and lead to greater production of greenhouse gases.’”
Thanks for the comic relief, P.J. We could all use a little of that while we’re dodging campaign telephone calls!
It is easy to see how fiscal conservatives would like and enjoy the book. It is undeniably aimed at them, notwithstanding the later chapters. Social conservatives ... not so much, unless they are the cheek pinching, "Oh that P.J., what a little scamp!" types.
Anyway, it's certainly smart enough and well written enough that most people should read it, regardless of their political orientation. As someone who has no use for Bill Clinton, the Clinton-as-Lecher-In-Chief punchlines still came across as very dated. But at the end of the day, there are smart, important, and at times funny books like Matt Taibbi's new book, Griftopia, and then there's Don't Vote ....