P.J. O'Rourke Articles

To Kill a Franchise

By spoiling a Young Adult favorite.
Oct 12, 2015

I thought I’d wait for the furor to die down a bit before I said anything. It’s been more than two months since Go Set a Watchman was published. Presumably reviewers, pundits, liberal arts professors, people with heightened sensitivity to the role race plays in contemporary society, and the 200 million Americans between the ages of 18 and 65 who were frog-marched through To Kill a Mockingbird in high school are calmer now.

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She Said What?

Ann Coulter, twit.
Oct 05, 2015

Toward Ann Coulter I had always taken a “suffer little children to come unto me” attitude. Not that she ever came on to me or anything. It’s just that she’s a kid. She was born in 1961. I’ve got skinny Brooks Brothers neckties in the back of my closet older than that.

Ann Coulter grew up during the “I-was-conservative-after-conservatism-was-cool” era, helping found the Cornell Review in the early 1980s. She’s noisy and she gives me a headache. But kids are, and kids do. I have several.

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Bye Bye McKinley

A president who deserves to be remembered.
Sep 14, 2015

Mahomet made the people believe that he would call a hill to him, and from the top of it offer up his prayers, for the observers of his law. The people assembled; Mahomet called the hill to come to him, again and again; and when the hill stood still, he was never a whit abashed, but said, If the hill will not come to Mahomet, Mahomet will go to the hill.

—Francis Bacon, Essays, 1625

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Ten Is More Than Enough

Meditations, pensées, confessions, and apologia pro vita mea after having watched the Republican ­candidates debate.
Aug 24, 2015

If this was meant to be entertainment, all 10 Flying Wallendas refused to walk the high wire, none of the clowns got out of the tiny car, and the elephants just stood around relieving themselves.

If this was meant to be information, Savonarola was piling books on the bonfire of vanities in Florence, children were playing with matches in the Library of Alexandria, and Wikipedia crashed.

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Those Who Fail to Learn from History

Blah, blah, blah...
10:14 AM, May 27, 2015

Henry M. Paulson Jr. and Robert E. Rubin co-wrote an article for the June issue of The Atlantic titled (in the print edition), “The Blame Trap,” and subtitled, “Why the U.S. and China need to act on each other’s economic critiques.”

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Yoga Test

You got a license for that?
Mar 16, 2015

According to an article in the New York Times on Monday, March 2, “a debate . . . has roiled Colorado’s growing yoga world.” (And don’t start thinking about what kind of planet the “yoga world” is.) 

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But Seriously . . .

How the State of the Union address would have sounded if I’d been the president’s speechwriter.
Feb 02, 2015

Sorry I’m a little late. The National Association of Police Chiefs was being given a tour of the White House just when I was showing Joe Biden my new backswing—HANDS UP. They must have fired 600 rounds. The Blue Room—we’re renaming it the “Swiss Cheese Room.” Good thing they all made lousy shots.

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A Glimpse of Our Health Care Future

The pen is mightier than the Freud.
Jul 28, 2014

To what will Obamacare lead? If the administration’s health policies continue on their present trajectory, Obamacare will lead to some form of European-style single-payer national health system.

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Podcast: P.J. O'Rourke and the Fourth

Hosted by Michael Graham.
11:00 AM, Jul 04, 2014

The WEEKLY STANDARD podcast with satirist and contributing editor P.J. O'Rourke on his Daily Beast column on why the 4th of July should be... banned?

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I Came, I Saw, I Skedaddled

Decisive moments in Barack Obama history.
Sep 16, 2013

Chief Executive of Sparta,
Barack Leonidas Obama,
at the Battle of Thermopylae

Stand down, men. The chairman of the Greek City States Alliance Joint Chiefs of Staff has indicated to me that our capacity to execute this mission against Xerxes is not time-sensitive.  

Julius Barack Caesar Obama
Crosses the Rubicon

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Live Free or .  .  . Ouch!

P.J. O'Rourke referees a political dogfight.
Sep 09, 2013

Living in rural New England with four dogs teaches important political lessons—to the dogs.

Paraphrasing a thought from Michael Oakeshott (to the extent one ever could tell what Oakeshott was thinking), politics is “the activity of attending to the general arrangements of what-the-heck.” That is, everything’s a political system. Politics exists even in lonely fields and forests where the nearest neighbor is an exercise-of-a-Second-Amendment-right away.

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Obama’s Asteroid

The decline of NASA and the senseless priorities of our government
Jun 10, 2013

Recently I spent some time surrounded by people who are smarter than I am, who are braver and more committed to human progress, who know more about science and technology, more about business and industry, and more about budgets and expenditures.

This is an experience Congress and the White House should have. Except Congress and the White House have this experience every day. And me too, but at least I know when it’s happening.

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Podcast: P.J. O'Rourke on the Decline of NASA

Hosted by Michael Graham.
1:15 PM, Jun 04, 2013

THE WEEKLY STANDARD podcast with contributing editor P.J. O'Rourke on his recent cover story, Obama's Asteroid.

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8:01 AM, May 27, 2013

“You’re stupid,” is not something even his most severe critics usually say to President Barack Obama. But on Friday morning I picked up the Wall Street Journal and learned that the president had given a speech about the war on terror saying, “This war, like all wars, must end.”

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Big Wheels

The American and his/her car.
May 28, 2012


Paul Ingrassia, former Detroit bureau chief for the Wall Street Journal, is probably the best broadsheet reporter ever to cover the car business. He and Joseph B. White won a Pulitzer Prize for their articles about how General Motors got busted to corporal by its fool management and union. Ingrassia wrote the book on “The American Automobile Industry’s Road from Glory to Disaster,” that being the subtitle of his Crash Course (2010). Now he’s broached yet a larger subject, the car’s whole effect on our entire nation.

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Candidates in Orbit

The late, great U.S. space program.
Apr 09, 2012

We’ve had some fun with space policy in the 2012 presidential race. Saturday Night Live, the Daily Show, candidate debates, and other forms of low comedy had us all laughing at Newt Gingrich’s proposal for moon statehood. Ron Paul said, “I think we should send some politicians up there.” So it would be a blue state, and there goes Republican control of the Senate. Mitt Romney said, “If I had a business executive come to me and say they wanted to spend a few hundred billion dollars to put a colony on the moon, I’d say, ‘You’re fired.’ ” Ha, ha. A president, a Congress, and a number of wives have tried to fire

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Family Feud

In defense of the Cato Institute.
Mar 26, 2012

They Hate Poor People

The liberals’ dirty little secret.
Jan 30, 2012


On January 1, 2012, Maine became the first state to ban smoking in all low-income public housing. Twelve thousand poor people faced their New Year’s Day hangover without the solace of a Marlboro to accompany their aspirin and coffee.

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Much Ado About New Hampshire

What reporters say and do when there’s nothing to be said or done.
Jan 23, 2012


Manchester, N.H.

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Popular Culture and the Baby Boomers

One more thing we’ve ruined.
Jan 02, 2012

Did the baby boom wreck popular culture? “D’oh,” to borrow from the subject in question. On the other hand, consider the source. A generation ago was there anything with as much brains, sly cunning, human comedy, and broad public appeal as The Simpsons?

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The Mighty Dollar

A wealth of worthless observations about money.
Dec 12, 2011

Dr. James Roberts, professor of marketing at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, exhorts us to curtail our consumer spending. Here’s a place to start. Don’t buy this book.

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The Last Shuttle Launch

One giant leap backwards.
Jul 25, 2011

Merritt Island, Florida

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Our Kind of Class Warfare

Let’s have a tax on political power.
May 09, 2011

Wipe that smirk off your face, Mister President. “We cannot afford $1 trillion worth of tax cuts for every millionaire and billionaire in our society.” Is there some Sidwell Friends night school class liberal politicians take to perfect an expression of smug disdain? When Teddy Roosevelt was demagogue-in-chief he at least had the nerve to come right out and call the successful people he despised “malefactors of great wealth.” He didn’t simper and moue at his audience. Go ahead and say it, President Obama: Let’s steal from the rich and give to the poor. Never mind that we’re doing a pretty good job of it already.

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Spielberg’s Escort Service

From the Scrapbook.
Apr 11, 2011

Irish Setter Dad

Whose children will succeed in life, Amy Chua’s or mine?
Apr 04, 2011