|Publisher:||Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 1.25(h) x 9.00(d)|
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Parliament of WhoresA Lone Humorist Attempts to Explain the Entire U.S. Government
By P. J. O'Rourke
Grove Atlantic, Inc.Copyright © 1991 P. J. O'Rourke
All right reserved.
Chapter OneI have only one firm belief about the American political system, and that is this: God is a Republican and Santa Claus is a Democrat.
God is an elderly or, at any rate, middle-aged male, a stern fellow, patriarchal rather than paternal and a great believer in rules and regulations. He holds men strictly accountable for their actions. He has little apparent concern for the material well-being of the disadvantaged. He is politically connected, socially powerful and holds the mortgage on literally everything in the world. God is difficult. God is unsentimental. It is very hard to get into God's heavenly country club.
Santa Claus is another matter. He's cute. He's non-threatening. He's always cheerful. And he loves animals. He may know who's been naughty and who's bee nice, but he never does anything about it. He gives everyone everything they want without thought of a quid pro quo. He works hard for charities, and he's famously generous to the poor. Santa Claus is preferable to God in every way but one: There is no such thing as Santa Claus.
The American political system is like a gigantic Mexican Christmas fiesta. Each political party is a huge pinata-a papier-machedonkey, for example. The donkey is filled with full employment, low interest rates, affordable housing, comprehensive medical benefits, a balanced budget, and other goodies. The American voter is blindfolded 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.
When you looked at the Republicans you saw the scum off the top of business. When you looked at the Democrats you saw the scum off the top of politics. Personally, I prefer business. A businessman will steal from you directly instead of getting the IRS to do it for him. And when Republicans ruin the environment, destroy the supply of affordable housing, and wreck the industrial infrastructure, at least they make a buck off it. The Democrats just do these things for fun.
Democrats are also 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 then they get elected and prove it. One philosophy is not necessarily an improvement on the other, but if you want the tooth fairy to come, you've got to have some teeth under your pillow.
Excerpted from Parliament of Whores by P. J. O'Rourke Copyright © 1991 by P. J. O'Rourke. Excerpted by permission.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Worth a glance. Frightening, really, how little has changed in the 20 years since publication. But then, not much has changed since the days of Mencken or of Mark Twain, of whose styles O'Rourke is a creditable emulator.
Wide topics like this are great for P.J.O'Rourke because he has a great range of things ot be funny about. He takes good opportunity to explain how the U.S. government works (or doesn't), and it even bears re-reading.