Let’s blame it on Molly Ivins

Betty BeanKnox Scene

Funny guy, Ross Perot. First time I wrote about him, I said he had a mind half-an-inch wide. He called the next day – he sounds just like a Chihuahua – and said, ‘Miss Ivins, you said in your column I have a mind a half-an-inch-wide.’

(Damn, I thought, here comes a zillion-dollar libel suit.)

“Well, all my friends say you’re wrong. They say it’s only quarter-of-an-inch. Har har har.

– Molly Ivins (Mother Jones Magazine, July/August 1992)

Today’s offering: In which I explain why it’s taking so long for me to move and blame it on Molly Ivins

Nobody ever accused me of suffering in silence, so if you’ve been within earshot of me during the last six months, you know I’m trying to move out of the house I’ve occupied since the year of the World’s Fair.

That was 1982, and I’ve spent the succeeding decades accumulating stuff intended for thoughtful study at a later time. I thought time was my friend back when I started squirreling these documents away. I understand the folly of that notion now. Culling is hard.

Here’s an example:

Molly Ivins

Anybody who knows me well enough to talk about stuff like politics and journalism and such is probably aware that Molly Ivins was my favorite political commentator. So of course, it’s going to take me more than a hot minute to re-read this article from September 1992 she wrote about Ross Perot (I can see them in my mind’s eye: long, tall, chain-smoking Molly and big-eared banty Ross firing off rapid-fire Texian at each other).

But he didn’t need to feel like the Lone Ranger when she zinged him. Molly was hell on George W. Bush, too. Remember when she nicknamed him “Shrub,” and said that calling him shallow was like calling a dwarf short?

In retrospect, guys like Bush and Perot seem almost quaint and comparatively harmless (if you don’t count the Bush family penchant for declaring war on countries in the Middle East), compared to today’s inventory.

I doubt she’d spare crackpot Robert Kennedy Jr. or Florida Man Ron DeSantis, much less the malaprop-prone Joe Biden. And the current billionaire candidate? She’d flatten him like road killed possum. But she really wouldn’t have to leave her beloved Lone Star State to find politicians worthy of picking on.

I’d pay good money to hear what she’d say about Ted Cruz and Greg Abbott and Ken Paxton, the secretary of state who’s such a creep that the rest of them are trying to throw him out of office. Texas is a satirist’s dream.

She’d have a lot to say about gun laws and the environment and, of course abortion, considering that her good friend Sarah Weddington was the lawyer who argued Roe v Wade in front of the United States Supreme Court in 1973. Texas Gov. Ann Richards and U.S. Rep. Barbara Jordan were pals of theirs, too. Who wouldn’t want to eavesdrop on that group conversation?

But they’re all gone now.

Molly died of breast cancer in 2007, and I don’t think there will come a time when I don’t feel her loss. There are lots of political journalists whose work I admire, but Molly Ivins was trenchant and funny and sometimes mean as a Texas rattler and will always be the one I love most.

And now I better get back to packing. You can enjoy some Molly Ivins.

Betty Bean writes a Thursday opinion column for KnoxTNToday.com.


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