The great Molly Ivins has died at the age of 62. The Austin American-Statesman runs a fine obit, but its registration scheme is truly odious. The Texas Observer, where she first came to fame, has put together a terrific tribute.
My first exposure to Ivins was in listening to her hilarious commentaries for NPR in the 1980s, a gig I don’t think she had for very long. After that, I read her first book, “Molly Ivins Can’t Say That, Can She?”, and was delighted, although I’ll admit I had not read her regularly in recent years.
Even so, I always considered her, along with Nat Hentoff, to be perhaps the finest columnist never to win a Pulitzer — and far better than many of those who did. I recall listening to the audio version of Ivins and Lou Dubose’s Bush bio, “Shrub,” just before the 2000 Republican National Convention. Among its best features was the fact that Ivins narrated it — she was as much a master of the spoken word as the written word. “Shrub” was tough but also fairly gentle in some ways, but that changed: She later called for Bush’s impeachment.
One memorable Ivins-ism that I haven’t seen brought up tonight is her description of then-governor George W. Bush’s ability to speak Spanish as well as English: “bi-ignorant.”
She was one of the greats.
Update: Here’s a link to Ivins’ last column, headlined “Stand Up Against the Surge.” “We are the people who run this country,” she wrote. “We are the deciders.” If only that were true.