Humorous Quotes from
Parliament of Whores
By P. J. O'Rourke
- If you are a nonjournalistic American and don't want to read this book
because it's about government, just buy it and let it lie around your house like A Brief History of Time.
- Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.
- I have tried to present a factual - data-filled, at any rate - account of
how this government works. Which is complicated by the fact that it doesn't.
- Daniel Patrick Moynihan is the archetypal extremely smart person who went into politics anyway instead of doing something worthwhile for his country.
- A little government and a little luck are necessary in life, but only a fool
trusts either of them.
- Government is so tedious that sometimes you wonder if the government isn't being boring on purpose. Maybe they're trying to put us to sleep so we won't notice what they're doing.
- The Constitution is a forthright piece of work and quite succinct -
twenty-one pages (in the American Civics E-Z-reader large-type version) giving the complete operating instructions for a nation of 250 million people. The manual for a Toyota Camry, which only seats five, is four times as long.
- I flew to that oleo-high colonic, the Republican convention, an event with the intellectual content of a Guns n' Roses lyric.
- Democrats are the party of government activism, the party that says
government can make you richer, smarter, taller and get the chickweed out of your lawn. Republicans are the party that says government doesn't work, and they get elected and prove it.
- There were the political videos the Democrats kept showing on the convention hall's giant screen. Try to imagine something fully as stupid as MTV but without the sex or the violence or the music.
- The Democratic platform was pure whining brat: "Like, full employment is sooooo and I hate having a big navy and you promised a drug-free America and I want my free drugs now."
- The Democrats said, "We don't know what's wrong with America, but we can fix it." The Republicans said, "There's nothing wrong with America, and we can fix that."
- The Democrats planned to fiddle while Rome burned. The Republicans were going to burn Rome, then fiddle.
- It was all the same in the end. If you voted for Bush, you'd be robbed
blind. If you voted for Dukakis, you'd be too poor to be worth robbing.
- Bush and Dukakis told us exactly where they stood on only one issue - they were both in favor of getting elected.
- In Washington journalists can afford to live almost as well as people who work for a living.
- Washington is an early-rising, hardworking city. It is a popular delusion
that the government wastes vast amounts of money through inefficiency and sloth. Enormous effort and elaborate planning are required to waste this much money.
- Feeling good about government is like looking on the bright side of any
catastrophe. When you quit looking on the bright side, the catastrophe is still there.
- I never determined how many sections there really are to the federal system. It probably can't be done. Government is not a machine with parts: it's an organism. When does an intestine quit being an intestine and start becoming an asshole?
- There was a second breakfast meeting, in the Rayburn Building, this time for the executive committee of a private club on Capitol Hill where influence gets peddled, horses get traded, logs get rolled and metaphors get tired.
- A White House press release claimed that forty-three million Americans "have some form of disability." That is one out of five people, and it can't be true unless disability to balance checkbooks is being counted.
- The president gave a speech as sweet and silly and utterly affectless as any childhood bedtime prayer:
- 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 the else fails, we hold an election and assassinate
- Kenneth W Starr, the solicitor general of the United States (a title that
makes Mr. Starr sound like a military man intent on sleeping with everyone in the county)...
- Being specific is the essence of lawmaking and the whole difference between having a Congress and having a mom.
- Journalists are notoriously easy to kid. All you have to do is speak to a
journalist in a very serious tone of voice, and he will be certain that you
are either telling the truth or a big, important lie.
- It is not, however, doing the job of journalism to just make fun of the
Department of Transportation. A real reporter must go there, interview
people, collect facts, balance opinions, weigh allegations and then make fun of the Department of Transportation.
- There are about 32.5 million poor people in the U. S. Some 25.7 million of these poor people live in some 7.1 million poor families, and the remaining 6.8 million ask me for fifty cents every day on my way to work.
- Like that of most Americans of the present generation, my experience with agriculture is pretty much limited to one three-week experiment raising dead marijuana plants under a grow light in the closet of my off-campus apartment.
- Getting a cow in a family way is not accomplished, as I would have thought, with a bull and some Barry White tapes in a heart-shaped stall. It's like teenage pregnancy, only more so. The bull isn't even around to get the cow knocked -up.
- This country is so urbanized we think low-fat milk comes from cows on
Nutri/System weight-loss plans.
- Whatever it is that the government does, sensible Americans would prefer that the government do it to somebody else. This is the idea behind foreign policy.
- Ambassador Oakley invited the various journalists standing around to come to the Peshawar consulate for an "impromptu briefing," although we got there, maps and visual aids had been laid out in spontaneous readiness.
- Adding up the cash contributions we are receiving from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Germany, Japan and elsewhere, I see that, if we play our cards right in the Gulf War, we might even make a profit.
- I can understand how some people might want to retarget our Polaris missiles at the high-crime areas of America's cities - the mayors' offices, for instance.
- The night I arrived in Panama City, some political terrorist chucked a
grenade into a bar full of young women and off-duty GIs. The popularity of "low-intensity conflicts" can make it hard to tell war from peace in the
late twentieth century.
- 314 Panamanian Defense Force soldiers and 23 members of the U.S.military were killed. There are places on this earth where you can't hold a soccer match with so few casualties.
- We're still only spending about a quarter of our federal budget on guns, leaving three quarters for all that butter that isn't good for us.
- I suspect the soviets never did want to use those bombs. The most Stalinist of Soviet hard-liners - Stalin, for example - must have realized a nuclear war would be a hard thing to clean up after.
- Whenever I'm in the middle of conformity, surrounded by oneness of mine with people oozing concurrence on every side, I get scared. And when I find myself agreeing with everybody, too, I get terrified.
- Sometimes it's worse when everybody's right than when everybody's wrong. Everybody in fifteenth-century Spain was wrong about where China was and as a result, Columbus discovered Caribbean vacations.
- The environmental movement has, I'm afraid, discovered a unifying agent, a devil, a. . . (I can't say "scapegoat." Scapegoats are probably an endangered species).
- It's time we in the industrialized nations admitted what safe, comfortable
and fun-filled lives we lead. If we keep sniveling and whining, we may cause irreparable harm to the poor people of the world - they may laugh themselves to death listening to us.
- Five hundred billion dollars is enough money to pay for a New York City cab ride from Earth to the planet Uranus and back ten times, including tip (unless the driver spots you for a tourist and takes you via the Brooklyn Belt Parkway.)
- Savings-and-loan executives adhered to the "3-6-3 rule": Pay S&L depositors 3 percent interest; charge S&L mortgage borrowers 6 percent interest; play golf at 3:00.
- Money is dung to the flies who make their living in public service.
- Authority has always attracted the lowest elements in the human race. All through history mankind has been bullied by scum.
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