PJ O'Rourke Sounds Off In Sarasota



Acclaimed journalist and political satirist PJ O’Rourke swung by Michael’s On East yesterday for a luncheon and presentation with the Sarasota Tiger Bay Club. Local dignitaries in attendance included Sarasota Mayor Willie Shaw, Vice-Mayor Susan Chapman and County Commissioners Carolyn Mason and Alan Maio.

It was near an hour of O’Rourke at the top of his game, simultaneously irreverent and thoughtful, weaving humor and blunt observation into a scathing look at American politics. Though largely focused on issues of economics and government dysfunction, O’Rourke had plenty to say on a variety of topics. Here are some of the highlights.

On the Sarasota Tiger Bay Club: “I’m very pleased to be speaking to a nonpartisan political group. I didn’t even know such a thing existed in this day and age.”

On 2016 Democratic Presidential Candidates: “[Hillary Clinton] retains her iron grip on 2nd place.”

Other potential nominees skewered by O’Rourke included Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, Vice President Joe Biden, former Vice President Al Gore and former US Secretary for Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius.

On 2016 Republican Presidential Candidates: O’Rourke pre-emptively credited New Jersey Governor Chris Christie with the best bumper sticker of the campaign reading “Sit Down and Shut Up.” Said O’Rourke, “It’s how all important family conversations begin in the rest of America.”

Other Republican candidates included Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush.

On Congressional gridlock: “The two most frightening words in Washington are ‘Bi-partisan Consensus.’ It’s like my doctor and my lawyer agreeing with my wife that I need help.”

On Democrats and Republicans: “All politicians, Democrat and Republican, want government to fix all of our problems, from curing cancer to getting the Kardashians off TV. I vote Republican because they have fewer ideas.”

On the uselessness of committees: “We have all been on a committee. We know what happens to a person when the become a committee member – Committee Brain. A camel is a seeing-eye dog designed by committee.”

On Gonzo journalist Dr. Hunter S. Thompson: “He was the last of the great beat poets. Maybe the first of the great beat poets.”

On his career: “I make fun of politics for a living, but after 44 years of covering politics I realize I’m enjoying myself about as much as a grizzly bear getting a bikini wax. I hate politics.”

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