Texas, you’ve lost the better part of your state

Molly Ivins has died.

I’m surprised at how this affects me. She was a wonderful woman, wise and funny, and this is a great loss to the nation. Whenever I’m tempted to just write off the whole state of Texas (thanks to a few of its rather prominent representatives), I just remind myself, “Molly Ivins,” and know that I’m being unfair.

Kevin Hayden has put together a sweet tribute to Molly Ivins. We’re all going to miss her.


  1. Jen says

    I see she was once banned from my alma mater, Texas A&M. Even though I’ve never read any of her books, that alone lets me know that she was probably guilty of being sane and rational….

    Stupid Aggies. (shaking head)

  2. afterthought says

    I’m very sad about this news. I will greatly miss reading Molly. She was the first one who gave me a clue about the clueless “Shrub” in the WH.

  3. says

    I’m heartbroken. I loved her essays and sought them out. She was always dead on, but to be fair, she did see what they wrought in Texas, so she had a preview.

    And speaking of liberal commentators ow do you feel about Al Franken running in Minnesota PZ?

  4. fyreflye says

    I’d heard she was fighting cancer again. A great loss for the cause of simple wisdom and basic sanity. Wise women who are funny too are irreplaceable treasures.

  5. goshou says

    Ann Richards and Molly Ivins within less than a year of each other. Truly sad for the possibly-great state of Texas.

  6. Ryogam says

    She was great and a huge influence on my particular political views. I will miss her voice. She had all the right enemies.

  7. says

    Oh no… Ever since I left home for college, Mom has been clipping her essays and sending them to me in the mail… Ms Ivins is going to be missed.

  8. Keanus says

    As a native Texan who hasn’t lived there since the early 60’s, Molly Ivins kept me in touch with my roots. Whether she was writing about Texas politics or skewering someone at the national level, I felt right at home with her Texas style. We desperately need more like her.

  9. Caledonian says

    We’ve lost one of the few media voices willing to throw mud at Bush and make it stick.


  10. Warren Terra says

    I have loved Molly Ivins’ commentary and columns for years.

    Curiously, she is tied up with my memory of 9/11: I came home from spending all night in the lab, and had some dinner while listening to Morning Edition, during which time I cheered as Molly read an essay in which she ripped George a new one over his tax plans. Then I went to bed, at maybe 7 or 8 AM EST. And the world changed while I slept, and especially in the days that followed. Molly was the last voice I heard preaching progressive ideas before the years-long regressive ascendancy that 9/11 made possible for Karl Rove. And, of course, Molly Ivins stayed true to her beliefs and to her vision of a just society, and continued to write and to speak.

    The Texas Observer, which in her writings Ms. Ivins often credited with being foundational in her development, is soliciting donations to a fund in her name, to support investigative reporting.

  11. Tom Wood says

    I was having a pretty good day until I heard that. This is so weird… I hardly believe it. She is an irreplacable voice in journalism and politics.

  12. says

    Molly Ivins is the only reason I can admit to being born in Texas:

    As y’all all know, it’s always annoying when the Klan comes to march. It upsets the black citizens, it upsets the Jewish citizens, the skinhead kids turn out to cheer ’em on, people get into fistfights on the sidewalk and everybody’s mad at everybody for a good six months. And of course, as a good American and defender of the Bill of Rights, there you are, standing up for the right of these vicious nincompoops to spew whatever dreadful drivel they want to because it’s their goddamn right under the Constitution! They were greeted by 5,000 citizens of Austin who mooned them as they walked by! (It was really something to see. It sort of had the feel of a wave at a baseball game.

    So here I am in San Francisco’s media footprint, where most afternoons Pete Wilson spews his facile equivalences on ABC’s other bay area talk station with more than its share of hate talk, KGO. Wilson claims never to have read Molly Ivins, but every time he wants to let you know he doesn’t really particularly care for Ann Coulter, he’s careful to remark that the Looney Liberal Left is afflicted with somebody every bit as hateful, Molly Ivins.

    At least (as Atrios said) she made the world a better place while she was here.

  13. says

    Damn, damn, damn.

    I so wanted her to get better — and to be happy as all get out as Shrub leaves the White House. She deserved to see it happen.

    Damn, damn, damn.

  14. tacitus says

    Hey PZ, you can’t write off the whole of Texas — what about Austin? Hell, we managed to re-elect Democratic congressmen even after Tom Delay sliced and diced our city into districts stretching hundreds of miles in all directions.

    Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.

  15. CortxVortx says

    Molly Ivins and Ann Richards were the two Great Ladies of Texas.

    This nation missed its chance for the best first woman president when Ann Richards died.

    — CV

  16. Desert Donkey says

    She had just the right amount of grit with her determination. The planet is a lesser place without her. Thanks for being here while you were Molly.

  17. Sonja says

    I will miss her wit and wisdom so much.

    And she also has a Minnesota connection — she was at one time a reporter for the Minneapolis Tribune newspaper.

  18. RBH says

    When I saw this news earlier this evening I got Molly Ivins Can’t Say That, Can She?, a collection of her columns from the late 1980s, down off the top shelf and just read bits at random. This from the Introduction:

    One of my heroes is William Brann, the great populist, who edited a paper called The Iconoclast in Waco before the turn of the century. Brann, a fearless man, loathed three things above all others: cant, hypocrisy, and Baptists. “The trouble with our Texas Baptists,” he once observed, “is that we don’t hold them under water long enough.” But there he was in the Vatican City of the Baptists, and for his pains, one fine day, on a wooden sidewalk, an irate Baptist shot him in the back. Right where his galluses crossed. But the story has a happy ending, on account of, as he lay dying on the sidewalk, William Brann drew his own gun and shot his murderer to death. Me, I hoped to go like Brann. A martyr to honest journalism.

    And so she was to the end: an honest journalist.

  19. Rheinhard says

    I stayed up far too late tonight (it helps that I’m sick and so stuffed up I can’t sleep anyway) to capture and post this video of Molly speaking to the Down Home Democracy Tour on Youtube. If you’ve never heard her speak I think it’s a good intro to her folksy, earthy (and a little naughty) humor!

  20. Stephen says

    I saw her speak at U. Colorado a few years ago, during the Conference On World Affairs. Her monologue filled Muenzinger hall with liberals and with laughter. She was Jon Stewart years before Jon Stewart was Jon Stewart.

  21. says

    I think that the best thing that Molly Ivins managed to do in her lifetime was to cause Jason Lewis to rant and rave about how shrill she was. If she had pushed just a little harder, he may have had an embolism on the air. (Jason Lewis is a “small l libertarian republican” on the radio in Minnesota who lives to play footsie with Ann Coulter.)

    Two other things:

    1. Hightower is still in Texas, and while he is nowhere near as funny as Molly was, he still holds conservative feet to fire.
    2. I will miss Molly.

  22. snarly says

    Whenever I felt that either the whole world had gone completely insane or that I was the one that was Mr Looney Tunes, I would stumble upon a Molly Ivins column and start laughing at the absurdity of it all. Nobody could demolish the hipocrisy of the conservatives with the acerbic wit and clarity of Molly. She was one of those people who never ever ever apologised for being a “librul” and knew just what it ment; that justice wasn’t just for the rich, that “bidness” loved to talk about hard work and responsibility while they picked our pockets and trashed our back yards, and that those pious folks wavin’ their bibles around were not above lying when it suits their purposes.
    I never got to thank you Molly, but I am going outside and bang on pots n pans and tell them to STOP THIS DAMN WAR NOW!

  23. Debra P. says

    I am much saddened to hear of the death of Molly Ivins. Her unique voice brought a touch of common sense and of humor to times when these qualities seem in short supply. She will be greatly missed.

  24. John Emerson says

    Mollie worked for the New York Times until about 1984, when she was fired for a funny phrase she used.

    If she had been in the national media in 1999-2000, I don’t see how Bush could have been elected. The Times’ and the Post’s coverage of Dubya was very, very thin, weak, and lacking in detail. No one could have gotten away with that if Molly had still been there.

    The Times’ problems go way back.

  25. says

    Xeno wrote: I so wanted her to get better — and to be happy as all get out as Shrub leaves the White House. She deserved to see it happen.

    That was exactly my first thought when I read last night that she had died.

    Very few people have Molly Ivins’ ability to be buoyed up by humor while the political system is going straight down the toilet. Even fewer have her ability to share that humor with other people, letting us know that we’re not alone and we’re not crazy.