Book Review: Bizarre Politics

Bizarre Politics:  The Audacity, Stupidity, Incompetence, And General Idiocy Of Our Leaders…Unfortunately!, by Joe Rhatigan

There is no shortage of ridiculous things that a book can say about the politics of the United States [1]–which this book focuses on–even though this book doesn’t include anything on the 2016 campaign, which could likely require several volumes of its own.  I must admit, though, that I found this book a bit too cynical.  Being a fairly cynical person myself, I thought the author’s claim that our tax dollars should be considered as part of our entertainment budget and that it hardly matters who governs us was still more cynical than I wish to be, and that is saying something.  It appears as if the author is past any kind of belief that there could be good people in charge of the government, and he even appears a bit resigned to the decline of the United States with regards to the rest of the world as a result of our incompetent political leadership, which seems to be giving in at least a little bit too much to despair.  There is much to laugh at when it comes to our nation’s politics, but to give in to despair and cynicism is to make it impossible for anything to get better.

At least the book is pretty easy to read at 150 pages of square-sized paper.  After a short and immensely cynical introduction, the author discusses foolish things that politicians have said on the campaign trail.  After this the author finds clever and witty quotes from politicians with a certain bias for more contemporary ones.  The author then turns his attention to the innumerable sex scandals that politicians have found themselves ensnared by, often hypocritically.  After that fairly low hanging fruit is dealt with, the author then looks at lying, stealing, and other hobbies of corrupt politicians before looking at the daily grind of politics and an index.  One highlight of this book is that it largely consists of quotations and comments by politicians and not merely about them.  At times the author finds a politician he wants to keep talking about and does, as is the case with Govenor Evan Mecham of Arizona or longtime Senator Strom Thurmond, whose recorded words include some flirtatious comments directed at a young Chelsea Clinton telling her that if he had been seventy years younger he would have courted her, which may be among the most traumatizing things a teenager could hear.

The author is, in general, pretty evenhanded about making fun of politicians of both parties, not least because there is so much material when it comes to making fun of politicians.  In reading this book, though, although there was certainly a lot of material and it was written skillfully, my feeling was a feeling of sadness rather than laughter.  It is not enough merely to throw out the bums if there are simply going to be more bums in their place, as this book would imply.  What is of the utmost importance, though, is to encourage within ourselves the sort of character and nobility that would make high office something we could hold without embarrassing ourselves or others, as is clearly not the case.  We have little right to poke fun of others or to look down on our political leadership if we are not people of nobility and honor ourselves, and that is unfortunately something this author forgets.  Whenever I feel myself getting too cynical about our political system, which is often, I remember that our leadership is a reflection of our people, and that if I do not strive to set a good example in my own conduct then I have no right to look down on everyone else as this author does.

[1] See, for example:

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
This entry was posted in American History, Book Reviews, History and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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