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On Molly Ivins

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I was going to write about the spineless resolution on the troop surge in Iraq that Carl Levin forged with John Warner today. But then Molly Ivins died after her own weary battle with breast cancer and, well, all hell broke loose. With her fierce and unrelenting criticism of Bush and his misadventures in Iraq, her death seemed too ironic and significant to let pass without comment.

I never met Molly Ivins, but she was an inspiration to me and a generation of other women reporters. I'd read one of Ivins' smart-mouthed political columns and think wickedly, Can you actually say that? And the answer was an astonishing yes. She was the only person besides my friend Sue, who once lived in Austin, who made me seriously consider taking a job in Texas.

Ivins was the first female political columnist to ascend from the trenches to become a star. In a profession dominated by self-important and uptight males, she was like a shot of Irish whiskey. Bracing and smart. But best of all she was tough and unafraid. She said what she thought and didn't apologize for it. She spoke for people who didn't have a voice. She was proud of being a liberal. Who else would have thought to call the Commander in Chief, the ersatz cowboy in Crawford, the self-described "Decider" "Shrub"? Ouch.

Even as she lay dying she continued to attack Bush's policies in Iraq.

Here is what Ivins wrote on January 11:

"We are the people who run this country. We are the deciders. And every single day, every single one of us needs to step outside and take some action to help stop this war. We need people in the streets, banging pots and pans and demanding, 'Stop it, now!'"

We also need a courageous bunch of Senators, ones who are willing to stop thinking about 2008 for a half second and take a stand. That's something Molly Ivins understood.

Now if only she were here to see it through.

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