On Jan. 31, 2007, Molly Ivins died. The Texas political writer who championed liberal causes was nationally famed for acerbic wit. She was 62 when she died at her Austin home after battling breast cancer.
From the American-Statesman’s obituary, written by PolitiFact Texas reporter W. Gardner Selby:
In Texas, Ivins was celebrated as a fearless storyteller, whether it was in her recollection of late nights jawing with Democratic politicians or in her moving account of a woman (surely Ivins) visiting the Vietnam memorial in Washington and remembering a man (surely a boyfriend) who had died in that conflict; she did not reveal his name.
The humor that laced her work did not deter her from forceful opinion. In the last column, dated Jan. 11, that her syndicate posted from her, Ivins urged readers to act against President Bush’s plans to send more troops to Iraq.
“We are the people who run this country. We are the deciders,” Ivins wrote, employing one of the president’s self-descriptions. “And every single day, every single one of us needs to step outside and take some action to help stop this war. Raise hell. Think of something to make the ridiculous look ridiculous. Make our troops know we’re for them and trying to get them out of there. Hit the streets to protest Bush’s proposed surge. . . . We need people in the streets, banging pots and pans and demanding, ‘Stop it, now!’ ”
The obituary also contained parting sentiments from many of the figures Ivins wrote about:
- Rick Perry, then governor of Texas: Ivins’ “clever and colorful perspectives on people and politics gained her national acclaim and admiration that crossed party lines.”
- Democratic politician Boyd Richie: Ivins spoke “her mind about the complicated and sometimes humorous world of Texas and national politics. . . . Texas was a better place.”
- Former President and Texas Gov. George W. Bush: “ Molly Ivins was a Texas original. She was loved by her readers and by her many friends, particularly in Central Texas.”
And of course, it’s only right to end with a few quotables from Ivins:
- “I’m sorry to say (cancer) can kill you, but it doesn’t make you a better person.” — as quoted in the San Antonio Express-News in September 2006, the same month cancer claimed her friend Ann Richards
- “If you think his daddy had trouble with ‘the vision thing,’ wait’ll you meet this one.” — on George W. Bush in ‘The Progressive,’ June 1999
- “If left to my own devices, I’d spend all my time pointing out that he’s weaker than bus-station chili.” — on Bill Clinton, from the introduction to her book “You Got to Dance With Them What Brung You”
- “I love Texas, but it is a nasty old rawhide mother in the way it bears down on the people who have the fewest defenses.” — from a September 2002 Texas Observer article