Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Molly Ivins 1944-2007

Molly Ivins was one of my favourite writers of any stripe and in writing for decades out of Texas, she's likely forgotten more about the Bush family than most other political writers remember. Her books are required reading for political junkies and years before Jon Stewart, Al Franken and Michael Moore, she set the standard for combining unapologetic poplulism with hilarity.

She's passed away after a long battle with breast cancer, and died at age 62.

I've said for years that if more Americans read her instead of Michael Moore in 2002 George W Bush never gets a second term. It was a long while ago, but if more Americans read Molly Ivins in 1990, George W Bush surely never becomes governor of Texas either.

She was tenacious, driven and paid attention to detail. She did the reading and the legwork and because of that her columns never sounded like screeds. They were simply the facts laced with incredible turns of phrase and unbelievable diction.

That's not to say she didn't delight in the art of the takedown.

For my money she owns the single best line in all of American political discourse.

After Patrick Buchanan, as a conservative candidate for president, declared at the 1992 Republican National Convention that America was engaged in a cultural war, she said his speech “probably sounded better in the original German.”

I don't remember him having too many good days after that.

I hesitate to generalize, but lefties are given to being a bit dour and when especially engaged, can get a bit long winded. (I find Michael Moore in full throat especially hard to take).

Molly Irvin's was the antithesis of all that.

Only someone with her fire breathing populist Texas background could get fired from the New York Times for writing about a "community chicken killing festival" and describing it as a "gang pluck."

For my money, she was the best political commentator and columnist of her age.

Her columns are wonderful, and she gets love from all the right places.

I will miss her a lot.

Posted by Dave

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