Remembering Molly Ivins

Jonathan Poisner

MollyivinsNews just came that Molly Ivins has passed away. While I was shocked in seeing the headline, turns out she's had cancer for some time.

I will miss Ivins' incredible ability to distill complex evil into its most basic elements.

One of my favorite examples is this opening from an article lambasting the Bush-Cheney energy policies.

As a general rule about Bush & Co., the more closely a policy is associated with Dick Cheney, the worse it is. Which brings us to energy policy - remember his secret task force? In the long history of monumentally bad ideas, the Cheney policy is a standout for reasons of both omission and commission. Dumb, dumber and dumbest.

We will miss you Molly.

  • Chuck Butcher (unverified)

    My reading experience just got a little poorer.

  • Zak J. (unverified)

    True blue lady. Gonna miss her. At least she made it to see last November.

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    Let me recommend to everyone that you follow JP's link and read the L.A. Times obituary (and don't miss the link to page 2).

    It's a compendium of her greatest one-line hits that'll just make you splutter your drink all over your monitor.

  • Alan Locklear (unverified)

    I met Molly Ivins one time, around 1993, when she came through on a book tour and arrived, of course, at KBOO where I was volunteering.

    As a recovering Texan, I grabbed a chance to speak to her and actually taught her how to pronounce Oregon, saving her from mispronouncing it on the air.

    Raise your glasses to a great lady. The world is a duller place now.

  • tina (unverified)


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    I hated telling my wife that I'd heard this on the news while she was out.

    A major, major loss for all of us...

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    Let me recommend to everyone that you follow JP's link and read the L.A. Times obituary...

    Oh, man, Kari..."splutter my drink?" I woke my wife up I was laughing so loud. She made me read her the best lines...but they're all best lines.

  • BOHICA (unverified)

    "So keep fightin' for freedom and justice, beloveds, but don't you forget to have fun doin' it. Lord, let your laughter ring forth. Be outrageous, ridicule the fraidy-cats, rejoice in all the oddities that freedom can produce. And when you get through kickin' ass and celebratin' the sheer joy of a good fight, be sure to tell those who come after how much fun it was."


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    the world is full of bad news, but a loss like this somehow hurts so much more. she was the best, and we still need her -- just like we need Paul Wellstone, and we needed Bobby Kennedy in 1968. but the world ain't fair, and Molly wouldn't want us feeling sorry for ourselves. she'd want us to take our anger and pain -- and our bleeding, liberal hearts -- and use them to make the world a bit better.

    but it's heartbreaking, it truly is.

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    No one writing today can kick politico ass like Molly could, with such incredible insight and wit. The Righties hated her as a result. I'm going to miss her words. A lot.

  • spicey (unverified)

    very very sad. and it comforts me somehow to read the words here amongst friends. and, revives my belief that we're working for a better world, and it's up to us!

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    From Molly Ivans:

    Friday, January 20, 2006; Posted: 9:18 a.m. EST (14:18 GMT)

    AUSTIN, Texas (Creators Syndicate) -- I'd like to make it clear to the people who run the Democratic Party that I will not support Hillary Clinton for president.

    Enough. Enough triangulation, calculation and equivocation. Enough clever straddling, enough not offending anyone This is not a Dick Morris election. Sen. Clinton is apparently incapable of taking a clear stand on the war in Iraq, and that alone is enough to disqualify her. Her failure to speak out on Terri Schiavo, not to mention that gross pandering on flag-burning, are just contemptible little dodges.

    The recent death of Gene McCarthy reminded me of a lesson I spent a long, long time unlearning, so now I have to re-learn it. It's about political courage and heroes, and when a country is desperate for leadership. There are times when regular politics will not do, and this is one of those times. There are times a country is so tired of bull that only the truth can provide relief.

    If no one in conventional-wisdom politics has the courage to speak up and say what needs to be said, then you go out and find some obscure junior senator from Minnesota with the guts to do it. In 1968, Gene McCarthy was the little boy who said out loud, "Look, the emperor isn't wearing any clothes." Bobby Kennedy -- rough, tough Bobby Kennedy -- didn't do it. Just this quiet man trained by Benedictines who liked to quote poetry.

    What kind of courage does it take, for mercy's sake? The majority of the American people (55 percent) think the war in Iraq is a mistake and that we should get out. The majority (65 percent) of the American people want single-payer health care and are willing to pay more taxes to get it. The majority (86 percent) of the American people favor raising the minimum wage. The majority of the American people (60 percent) favor repealing Bush's tax cuts, or at least those that go only to the rich. The majority (66 percent) wants to reduce the deficit not by cutting domestic spending, but by reducing Pentagon spending or raising taxes.

    The majority (77 percent) thinks we should do "whatever it takes" to protect the environment. The majority (87 percent) thinks big oil companies are gouging consumers and would support a windfall profits tax. That is the center, you fools. WHO ARE YOU AFRAID OF?

    I listen to people like Rahm Emanuel superciliously explaining elementary politics to us clueless naifs outside the Beltway ("First, you have to win elections"). Can't you even read the damn polls?

    Here's a prize example by someone named Barry Casselman, who writes, "There is an invisible civil war in the Democratic Party, and it is between those who are attempting to satisfy the defeatist and pacifist left base of the party and those who are attempting to prepare the party for successful elections in 2006 and 2008."

    This supposedly pits Howard Dean, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, emboldened by "a string of bad news from the Middle East ... into calling for premature retreat from Iraq," versus those pragmatic folk like Steny Hoyer, Rahm Emmanuel, Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden and Joe Lieberman.

    Oh come on, people -- get a grip on the concept of leadership. Look at this war -- from the lies that led us into it, to the lies they continue to dump on us daily.

    You sit there in Washington so frightened of the big, bad Republican machine you have no idea what people are thinking. I'm telling you right now, Tom DeLay is going to lose in his district. If Democrats in Washington haven't got enough sense to OWN the issue of political reform, I give up on them entirely.

    Do it all, go long, go for public campaign financing for Congress. I'm serious as a stroke about this -- that is the only reform that will work, and you know it, as well as everyone else who's ever studied this. Do all the goo-goo stuff everybody has made fun of all these years: embrace redistricting reform, electoral reform, House rules changes, the whole package. Put up, or shut up. Own this issue, or let Jack Abramoff politics continue to run your town.

    Bush, Cheney and Co. will continue to play the patriotic bully card just as long as you let them. I've said it before: War brings out the patriotic bullies. In World War I, they went around kicking dachshunds on the grounds that dachshunds were "German dogs." They did not, however, go around kicking German shepherds. The MINUTE someone impugns your patriotism for opposing this war, turn on them like a snarling dog and explain what loving your country really means. That, or you could just piss on them elegantly, as Rep. John Murtha did. Or eviscerate them with wit (look up Mark Twain on the war in the Philippines). Or point out the latest in the endless "string of bad news."

    Do not sit there cowering and pretending the only way to win is as Republican-lite. If the Washington-based party can't get up and fight, we'll find someone who can.

  • OWHN (unverified)

    Hope some of you got to see the great Molly Ivin's tribute by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now this morning. Much of it was a repley of parts of an interivew she did with Molly in April '04. Great stuff in memory of a great woman. She will truly be missed.

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    One of the most fun nights of my life occurred, believe it or not, in the bar of the Days Inn on West 57th in NYC. During the 1992 Dem Convention, the Oregon delegation stayed at this hotel with the Texas delegation. I ended up in the bar on the night that Ross Perot dropped out (because the Bush I administration had disrupted his daughter's wedding, IIRC)at a table with Molly Ivins and Ann Richards. Oh the stories those two told. I didn't know many of the people from Texas politics that they were talking about, but the two of them could sure tell stories and make a table full of people laugh until we cried. I'll always cherish that memory and will miss them both. We've lost a couple of giants.

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    The Texas Observer has a bunch of interesting stuff about & from Molly Ivins on their website. It includes an obituary I found particularly meaningful, though at time of posting this it isn't accessible due to capacity overload (a friend e-mailed it to me). That says something in itself, I suppose.

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    Molly's writings were my introduction into real politics years ago, growing up in Texas. Over the years, whenever I've gotten frustrated, or wondered what the point was, I'd read something of Molly's, have a fantastic laugh, and be reminded once again, what the point of the fight is. It's comforting to think of Molly up there hanging out with Ann and Barbara now!

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    Texas Observer's obit also on truthout here.

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    It's bad enough that TruthOut actively steals from the Texas Observer, without us rewarding them with a link. If you want to read the Texas Observer obit, go to the Texas Observer. (And no, their disclaimer doesn't exempt them from the law.)

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