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No Joke. Renowned Political Satirist PJ O’Rourke Explains Why He’s Voting for Hillary

P.J. O’Rourke joined Dan & Amy to explain how he could in good conscience vote for Hillary Clinton for President. O’Rourke addressed both of Dan’s theories as to why he is voting Hillary: (1) a Trump Presidency will be impossible to satirize, or (2) he is hoping NPR’s Ira Glass will do a retrospective on his life.

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Dan Proft: Yo, yo, yo, Dan and Amy. Amy Jacobson: Excuse me? Dan Proft: You know why I did the yo, yo, yo? Because I was thinking of Christopher Buckley, the refined son of William F. Buckley; in 2008, Christopher Buckley pended an Op-Ed in support of Barrack Obama; he voted for him. Amy Jacobson: Are you still getting over that? Dan Proft: Christopher Buckley probably is. He did it because I think – it’s me reading into it – not like Christopher Buckley’s ‘Wry Martinis’, or some of his other work, but I think he did it because he wanted to stay within the acceptable parameters of the New York city cocktail set. Amy Jacobson: So the social pressures made him do it? Dan Proft: You know, thinking this was the in thing to do is a bit of a radical chic going on there during the hetty days of 2007-2008. But I don’t think that’s why PJ O’Rourke came out with his endorsement of Hillary Clinton last week. We talked about it. I have two theories on why he said he is supporting Hillary Clinton; he did it on NPR, that’s important; so one theory is that he’s afraid that if Donald Trump wins, it will be impossible to satirize the administration; so he’s concerned just from a personal work product perspective; the second theory is that he’s trying to get Ira Glass to do a retrospective on his life. I’m not sure which it is, so we’d better ask him. PJ O’Rourke, noted political satirist whom I’ve been reading since my safe space days at Northwestern. PJ, thanks so much for joining us, appreciate it. PJ O’Rourke: Oh, man, an Ira Glass retrospective, ah; sat still my heart. Amy Jacobson: See? Dan Proft: Yeah, exactly. See? Amy Jacobson: I’m thinking you nailed it, Dan. PJ O’Rourke: What was your other theory? Oh, the old, it’d be impossible to satirize. Well, there certainly is that. I loathe and detest Hillary, but I have to say that… I wanted to talk to you about… Chris Buckley and I are very close friends. Dan Proft: Okay. PJ O’Rourke: I gave Chris a lot of grief for endorsing Obama. The reason he did it was not the cocktail circuit parameters and stuff, in fact, he got in a bunch of trouble. He got thrown off the national review board. Dan Proft: Yeah, sure. PJ O’Rourke: A lot of people wouldn’t speak to him. He actually got all sorts of grief in his private life for that. It was Sarah Palin; he just thought she was nuts. He said, “My dad spent 50 years driving the crazy people out of the conservative movement; I’m not letting them back in”. Dan Proft: Since you’re good friends with him, what does he say 7 years later? PJ O’Rourke: Well, I wouldn’t say he’s pleased his punch over the experience that we’ve had here. And I told him at the time, you don’t have to, you can just not endorse Sarah. Dan Proft: But so, to that discussion you had with Buckley about… PJ O’Rourke: You know, I’m into Chris Buckley. Dan Proft: Exactly, explain yourself. PJ O’Rourke: Hillary operates within the known parameters of bad and we’ve had 8 years of experience with the known parameters of bad. We’ve kind of, in the financial world, we would say we’ve discounted Hillary. We know where the landmines are planted, we have a coping strategy; it’s not good, but it is the known bad. With Trump, the volatility index is too high; we don’t know what we’re going to get. The man is ignorant. I’m not even sure, he’s obviously possessed of peasant cunning; I’m not even sure he’s very smart. But there are way too many unknowns. He creeps me out, and I sort of feel like you’re letting a toddler in your trailer home, or you’ve got a loaded pistol and sooner or later he’s going to find the launch codes. Amy Jacobson: I agree that he’s dangerously unstable, and I don’t know what I’m going to do personally, because it’s a frightening thing, but what if you think toward the future about supreme court justices? Don’t you feel guilty about that a little bit? PJ O’Rourke: We’re going to pay a big, big price. When I endorsed Hillary I put it in stark terms. I said, “Dorothy’s house fell on her. I endorse her” Dorothy and Toto crushed her, I endorse her. She is wrong about everything, I endorse her. And the price, that is a steep price. She is going to appoint people so nutty to the Supreme Court, and if we have a worst case scenario in November, we may not have the senate to stop her from doing it. My only hope is that they will be so silly that they will spend all their time arguing about transgender bathrooms. Dan Proft: Correct, and I should mention PJ O’Rourke’s most recent offering, “Thrown under the omnibus”, a reader, so you’d want to pick that up. So let’s play this out a little bit further. The Supreme Court and Trump being the unknown, you don’t know what to fear the most about Trump because he’s taken every position under the sun on every issue. At least you have some upside potential with Trump, that he could actually take a name from the list of potential Supreme Court Justices the Heritage Foundation provides, or the Federalist Society provides, and actually nominate one and get through Senate confirmation hearing, whereas you just described what we know what we’re going to get with Hillary. PJ O’Rourke: Yeah, the upside there is that you never really know how Supreme Court Justices are going to turn out. Scalia and Thomas, yes, they’ve turned out as predicted, but there have been others that have not, and it seems like they only tact the left. Dan Proft: That’s right, but at least we have a puncher’s chance if it’s the Heritage and the Federal Society vetting them. PJ O’Rourke: It’s a strong argument, but I’m not sure that it outweighs who the guy is. Dan Proft: What about this, particularly since you’re a libertarian leaning type to begin with, why go all the way over to Hillary? Why not go to Garry Johnson as a protest form? PJ O’Rourke: I would love to, except I had a talk with Mike Bloomberg, Mayor Bloomberg, about this. Bloomberg was considering a third party run. I didn’t talk to him about that, I’d kidded him, I said, “Mike, I’ve got 5 dollars right here in my pocket to start dark money… cash” I will contribute right up to my personal financial limit, which is about $5 to your election, please run. But Mike did the math, and Mike’s good at math; he came to the conclusion that he would have run if it was Bernie versus Trump. He came to the conclusion that any third party effort basically makes it more likely that Hillary will win; that the outcome of voting for Hillary and voting for Gary Johnson turns out to be the same. Dan Proft: Yeah, but voting for Gary Johnson you can sleep at night. PJ O’Rourke: Well, there is that. If I were in a deep blue or a deep red state, if I weren’t in a swing state, I’d do that. Amy Jacobson: So, is there any change, PJ O’Rourke, that you might change your mind? Maybe you’d go back on wait until Tommy will take it back. PJ O’Rourke: Yeah, if a miracle happened and we had a Paul Ryan or something run, yeah, sure, I would switch on a dime, because I’m deeply unhappy. The thing is, I think Hillary is actually going to be better at doing bad things than Obama. Dan Proft: She’s had 25 years of practice, so that helps a lot. PJ O’Rourke: She is like if the Klingons had a Spock, you know? He is Spock, and there’s a reason why Spock was not captain of that starship. Amy Jacobson: Has Donald Trump reacted to your rejection? PJ O’Rourke: Not that I know of, but I’m not somebody that spends a lot of time strolling through twitter feeds. Dan Proft: That’s the only way you’d know, that’s right. PJ O’Rourke: I have a life. Dan Proft: So explain, from your perspective, why Trump? Why the revolts that has Trump as its Rorschach inkblot for what they’re upset about? PJ O’Rourke: I interviewed a lot of Trump supporters – we’ve got a lot of Trump supporters here in New Hampshire – and I was doing a piece on our primary for BBC; I’d have to explain this to foreigners, hard enough to explain it to… and I really liked the Trump supporters that I interviewed. They tend to be – not to generalize – but they tend to be skilled blue-collar, often small business people. They really feel the flat line of the Obama supposed recovery. They look around themselves, and government just isn’t working for them. The public schools are junk, the roads are full of potholes. God knows what’s coming out of your water tap; it’s not just flint. The national infrastructure is lousy, all of a sudden they’re faced with raising the minimum wage when they can’t even find workers that are worth $8/hour, let alone $15. All these regulations about healthcare are falling on small businesses, and they turn on the television and what’s the political elite talking about? Transgender bathrooms, and they’re going, “I run a logging operation, we don’t even got a bathroom on the woods”. Amy Jacobson: Yeah, priorities are messed up. PJ O’Rourke: The problem with these folks is that they’re not politically engaged, they’re not politically sophisticated. They overestimate what an outsider president would actually be able to do. They’re not paying as much attention as they should be to the downticket races, to the state legislature, the congressmen, the senators, who are really, in some ways, more important. They don’t love Trump. They know he’s a vulgar guy, and they don’t even trust him really, so it’s a kind of middle finger to the whole political establishment. Who can blame them for giving it? Dan Proft: Right, he’s a blunt instrument, and the Republican Party, in terms of what they’ve done and not done deserves to be hit repeatedly with a blunt instrument. PJ O’Rourke: Absolutely, because republicans, yeah, they’ve been successfully obstructionist about some things. I mean, we want them to obstruct, but where are they when you want the alternative? Okay, ObamaCare is a mess, it’s a disaster, it’s a horrible expensive ticking time-bomb, but on the other hand, we all agree in America that we don’t want anybody to lose their house because of medical expenses. The boat, maybe, but not the house… Dan Proft: He is PJ O’Rourke, he’s the man who famously said, “Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys”, among other witticism; his latest offering, “Thrown under the omnibus”, a reader. PJ O’Rourke, thanks so much for joining us, appreciate it. PJ O’Rourke: Hey, thanks for having me on, it’s always fun with you guys. Dan Proft: Thank you. Amy Jacobson: Thanks. Dan Proft: Let’s take a couple of calls here, John, on the Kennedy, you’re on Chicago’s Morning Answer. John: Hi, I was just calling in, once I stopped my eyes from bleeding. That guy’s a buffoon, and you played right into his hands. This was a desperate attempt for him to try to stay relevant. He’s not witty or clever. He contradicted himself every other sentence. And this idea that somehow Hillary Clinton would be better for the country knowing everything that she will do wrong, he talked the Supreme Court, he talked about how awful ObamaCare is, and yet he’s always going to vote for her and flush everything down the toilet because he doesn’t like Donald Trump. It doesn’t make any sense. Dan Proft: Thanks for the call, John. I love PJ O’Rourke, but I agree with John about the voting for Hillary. There just isn’t a moral or intellectual defense to voting for Hillary Clinton, I’m sorry. We’ll be back with more, including my fantasy presidential match-up that involves neither Trump, nor Hillary, but it does involve two millionaires straight after this.

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