The always entertaining Mr. O’Rourke talked about politicians, politics, and the 2008 election at a recent Cato Institute Benefactors’ shindig.
The problem is not really politicians. The problem is politics. Politicians are chefsâ€” some good, some badâ€”but politics is road kill. The problem isnâ€™t the cook. The problem is the cookbook. The key ingredient of politics is the idea that all of societyâ€™s ills can be cured politically. Itâ€™s like a cookbook where the recipe for everything is to fry it. The fruit cocktail is fried. The soup is fried. The salad is fried. So is the ice cream and cake. And your pinot noir is rolled in breadcrumbs and dunked in the deep fat fryer. It is just no way to cook up public policy. Politics is greasy. Politics is slippery. Politics canâ€™t tell the truth. …
There is only one number that matters in politics. And you may think that thatâ€™s the number of votes, but thatâ€™s not the number. The number that matters in politics is the lowest common denominator. It is the avowed purpose of politics to bring the policies of our nation down to a level where they are good for everyone. No matter how foolish, irresponsible, selfish, grasping, or vile everyone may be, politics seeks fairness for them all. I do not. I am here to speak in favor of unfairness.
I have a 10 year old at home, and she is always saying, â€œThatâ€™s not fair.â€ When she says that, I say, â€œHoney, youâ€™re cute; thatâ€™s not fair. Your family is pretty well off; thatâ€™s not fair. You were born in America; thatâ€™s not fair. Honey, you had better pray to God that things donâ€™t start getting fair for you.â€