US ELECTION SPECIAL: YOU ASK THE QUESTIONS - So, PJ O'Rourke, Who Do You Think Is Winning in the Battle of the Candidates' Wives? and Is Tony Blair George W Bush's Puppet, Poodle or Fig Leaf?

The Independent (London, England), October 28, 2004 | Go to article overview
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US ELECTION SPECIAL: YOU ASK THE QUESTIONS - So, PJ O'Rourke, Who Do You Think Is Winning in the Battle of the Candidates' Wives? and Is Tony Blair George W Bush's Puppet, Poodle or Fig Leaf?


The right-wing satirist PJ (Patrick Jake) O'Rourke, 57, was born the son of a car salesman in Toledo, Ohio. He studied English at Miami University, before moving to New York in 1973 to join the satirical magazine National Lampoon. After leaving the Lampoon in 1981, he became a freelance writer, working for Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair and Playboy. In 1987, his collection of essays entitled Republican Party Reptile became a worldwide bestseller, and since then he has written 10 books, including Give War a Chance, Eat the Rich and Holidays in Hell. He lives in New Hampshire with his second wife and three young children.

Which country should the United States invade next, and why?

Ben Swain, by e-mail

Canada. It's close at hand. We're used to the weather. And, although we don't know much about internal Canadian politics, I think we're better informed about them than we were about the situation in Iraq. Plus, they have a nice ethnic conflict between the English- and French-speakers, which we could expect to erupt after an invasion.

Who has the greatest chance of one day becoming President of America: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Hillary Clinton, Michael Moore or Oprah Winfrey?

Bruce Clarke. Cambridge

Oprah Winfrey - she can afford it.

Is George W Bush stupid?

Anthea Holden, Birmingham

No. He went to Harvard Business School and that is a meritocracy. You cannot get through it with money and family connections. But there is very little to be gained from asking whether a politician is stupid. The question should be: "Are they wise?" Reagan was perhaps not too bright, but he was very wise. Time will tell how wise Bush is, but my gut instinct is, not particularly.

France is a great country, whose leaders are brave and principled, and whose culture and society are beacons to the world. Discuss.

Catherine Price, Northampton

Every moral compass needs a butt end. Whichever way the French are pointing, we can go in the opposite direction with a quiet conscience.

If elected, can John Kerry live up to the expectations of left- wing Europeans?

Elaine Sumner, London

If Stalin couldn't, I don't think Kerry's going to be able to. Certainly, expectations in Europe are far too high. Kerry is just an American politician. The likelihood that he'll do anything different from Bush is extremely small. Kerry would sign Kyoto, but that doesn't mean the air's going to get any cleaner: the treaty is full of empty promises. Maybe he would scold Israel a little more, but in the past, Republicans have been better at that, because, after all, the Jewish-American vote goes to the Democrats. And when it comes to Iraq, everyone's open to new ideas. I just haven't heard any - certainly not from Kerry.

Defend Ann Coulter.

Penelope Osborn, London

Oh, I don't think I have to do that. Ann seems fully capable of defending herself. I just want to reassure members of the left that she scares me, too.

Money can't buy you love, but can it buy you the Presidency of the United States?

Andy Howard, by e-mail

No. You can't buy the Presidency, but you can rent it for four years - sometimes eight.

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US ELECTION SPECIAL: YOU ASK THE QUESTIONS - So, PJ O'Rourke, Who Do You Think Is Winning in the Battle of the Candidates' Wives? and Is Tony Blair George W Bush's Puppet, Poodle or Fig Leaf?
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