With the passing of Molly Ivins, America has lost one of its truly fearless and iconoclastic voices. And I have lost a hero.
When you spend a lot of your time, as I do, castigating, chiding, criticizing, and out and out mocking people for a living -- and God knows this administration has given us a lot to castigate, chide, criticize, and mock -- you inevitably develop a pent up longing for heroes, even for hero-worship. So all I can say is thank God for Molly Ivins. Thanks to her passion, her insight, and her devotion to all that is right and good, I have had someone to idolize.
On top of her passion, insight, and commitment, she had an incredible gift for language, for invective and for capturing in one word the essence of a man or a cause. Who will ever forget the nickname she gave George W. Bush: Shrub. Or her dubbing Texas Governor Rick Perry "Goodhair."
Molly had the most amazing sense of humor. Let's face it, the girl was laugh out loud funny. But funny with a purpose. She really understood how to use satire as a political weapon in the tradition of Mark Twain and Jonathan Swift.
And on top of that, unlike so many of the smart-assed satirists of our day, she was a woman. A classy lady with a pair of brass cojones. For any fan of nerve, humor, and spunk, it was impossible not to adore her.
That's why, when I got a call from the ACLU back in 2003, asking me if I would present Molly with an award, I didn't ask what award, I didn't ask what date, I just said "yes, yes, yes."
It turned out that the award was the Eason Monroe Courageous Advocate Award. Eason Monroe was the former executive director of the ACLU of Southern California. He refused to sign a loyalty oath half a century ago during the Red Scare. It was a decision that cost him his teaching job, but in the end Eason Monroe was loyal to something greater than the deeply misguided rules and regulations of his time, he was loyal to America. And so was Molly Ivins. Whether as a beat reporter, a state house correspondent, a syndicated columnist or a best-selling author, Molly Ivins was always a patriot in the truest sense, unfailingly loyal to our country's highest principles. And she always did this with great style, wit, and above all, courage.
She will be missed.