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COLUMN 101, JANUARY 1, 2004
(Copyright © 2004 The Blacklisted Journalist)
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1. MOLLY IVINS BACKS DEAN
Fri, 5 Dec 2003 21:28:00 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Molly Ivins Picks Her Candidate
Ivins Picks Her Candidate
Ivins: Picking a winner
MOLLY IVINS, Creators Syndicate
December 4, 2003
Texas -- No one has been waiting with bated breath for me to make up my mind
about the Democratic presidential candidates, but I have, and you might be
interested in how I got there. I'm for Howard Dean---because he's going to win.
is the bounden duty of bleeding-heart liberals like myself to make our political
choices based on purity of heart, nobility of character, depth of compassion,
sterling integrity and generosity of spirit. The concept of actually winning a
political race does not, traditionally, influence the bleeding heart liberal one
iota---certainly not in the primaries.
the years, I have proudly voted for a list of losers only a lily-pure liberal
could love. I am rather surprised not to find myself in the camp of the Noble
Dennis Kucinich this year. (And believe me, there are supporters of the Noble
Dennis who are plenty upset about it, too.) In fact, I initially passed on Dean
precisely because he looked like one of my usual losers---2 percent in the polls
and the full weight of Vermont behind him ... wow, my kind of guy.
concluded that this was the year to Be Sensible, look for a winner, find a
moderate, and all that good stuff the expert political players do, I carefully
studied the conventional wisdom. The conventional wisdom---the avatar of all
political knowledge, the Washington, D.C., press corps---said John Kerry was the
man. So despite his resemblance to the finer products of the taxidermist's art,
I sat around waiting for him to show signs of life. And waited.
I consulted my buddies in the union movement, and they said Dick Gephardt was
the man. I always like a labor liberal, and Gephardt's eyebrows have improved. I
was hopeful for while, but concluded, as many do, that while Gephardt is
Perfectly Good as a Democratic candidate, he ain't settin' the world on fire.
Doesn't seem like a good year for a regular politician on account of we ain't
lookin' at regular politics. These Republicans do not have a different
strategy---they are playing a different game. They don't want to govern, they
want to rule.
my lawyer friends recommended John Edwards, and even though my first impression
was, "Too pretty, too light," I liked him better as time went on. Good
strong populist streak to him, some good economic ideas, goes right after Bush
on the economy. But conventional wisdom decided he is too young and untried.
along came Gen. Wesley Clark, and lots of people were excited. But I never have
thought anyone should start in politics at the top. All those rich guys who run
for office want to start at governor or senator, instead of running for the
school board. Arnold Schwarzenegger aside, it's really not as easy as it looks.
there's old Dean, causin' excitement. I went up to Vermont and talked to a bunch
of liberals there. They all said Howard Dean is no liberal. Funny, that's what
Howard Dean says, too. And indeed, he isn't, but in politics, everything's
relative. The conventional wisdom first dismissed Howard Dean (the man has never
been to a Washington dinner party!), then condescended to him, then graciously
offered him instruction on how he should be running his campaign ---which seemed
to be going along quite well without their input.
talked to some big money guys who assured me Dean Can't Win. But of course I'm
noticing this interesting thing: Dean has so much money he actually turned down
public campaign financing (since I'm a card-carrying liberal, I was naturally
deeply unhappy over this. But since Dean's money comes from Real People instead
of corporate special interests, I'm not that unhappy.) Let me second the notion
that this year, the Internet is to politics what television was in the 1960
a while, I fretted over Dean being angry, or at least appealing to the political
anger that is normally manipulated by right-wing radio jocks. Anger makes
liberals uncomfortable: We prefer peace, reason and gentle persuasion. Beloveds,
it is way past time for us to get mad---social, economic and political justice
are being perverted by the Bush administration.
gives a hell of a speech---even if you're Republican, you should go and hear him
just for the experience. But I fretted about Dean on TV---TV is so important.
How could anyone poker up on Margaret Carlson of PBS, not one of the world's
toughest interviewers? But then I saw Dean laugh his way through a Chris
know, he's even less of a liberal than Bill Clinton was, but I don't think Dean
is a moderate centrist. I think he's a fighting centrist. And folks, I think we
have got ourselves a winner here. ##
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2. WE THE PEOPLE GET SCREWED AGAIN
Mon, 01 Dec 2003 23:15:31 -0500
Subject: Two Horrible Bills!
Two horrible bills at the same time!
Molly Ivins; November 28, 2003
Texas -- Wow! Not one, but two huge, horrible, last-minute life-changing bills,
and the second is even worse than the first! Record-shattering bad legislation
immediately eclipsed by record-shattering bad legislation. These Republicans
is not easy to do this much damage to people's lives with a straight face and
that unctuous air of piety.
like the timing, too---slipped that Medicare deform bill through just in time
for the drug companies, the insurance companies and the HMOs to give loud
hosannas around their Thanksgiving tables. Let us hear their hymns of praise,
paeans, benedictions and blessings upon the Republican Party rise from their
groaning and appreciative boards forever, amen.
and as for you senior citizens who believed that amusing little claim that you
would all benefit from this bill---suckers! According to Public Citizen,
pharmaceutical companies have given $44 million since 1999---78 percent to
Republicans, 22 percent to Democrats---and spent millions more hiring an army of
lobbyists that physically outnumbers the 535 members of Congress. The Health
Reform Program of Boston University estimates that of the bill's $400 billion
price tag, $139 billion will go to increase drug-company profits over eight
years, a 38 percent increase in what is already the world's most profitable
forget about the Medicare bill---it won't take effect until 2006 anyway, so you
won't even notice what it does 'til then. Regard the even more amazing energy
bill. In case you haven't been keeping up (and you do have to race to keep up),
there is a gasoline additive called MTBE that has polluted groundwater across
the country. So naturally, the Republicans have put in a provision that would
limit the liability of the manufacturers of MTBE---that means you can't sue them
for ruining the water---and the bill would give the companies up to $2 billion
in federal aid. Congratulations! That means you, the users of MTBE-polluted
water across the nation, will get to pay for cleaning it up.
is an amazing energy bill because it does not: A) reduce our dependence on
foreign oil, B) provide significant new energy sources, C) create many jobs, D)
improve the grid system so we won't have more blackouts, E) promote energy
efficiency or conservation or F) do anything about global warming.
it will cost at least $20 billion in subsides to fossil fuel companies. Those
poor li'l oil, gas, coal and nuclear companies like Exxon/Mobil and General
Electric need our help---this is compassionate conservatism.
would, of course, tell you who wrote this abomination, except Dick Cheney, who
headed the task force, doesn't think any of us should know where this law came
from, and the Republicans who have been working on it in secret for months met
in secret. Democrats were not even admitted to the committee meetings.
environmental groups are still going through it, finding new horrors hidden
away. Greenwire reports, "Section 349 would remove the discretion of the
Interior Department to deny applications to drill amid onshore and offshore
lands---upon receiving an application to drill in a leased area, the department
would have 10 days to determine whether additional information is required to
grant a permit. Once the information is provided, the department must approve
the application regardless of whether drilling would damage the
like that. Suppose the additional information required shows the company to be a
notorious polluter, responsible for numerous previous spills and even blowouts.
Nothing to be done.
Natural Resources Defense Council reports that the bill rolls back environmental
protections to boost oil and gas drilling on American's last remaining wild
lands and open spaces. It also means eliminating consumer protections and
subsidizing construction of new nuclear plants most Americans don't want, and it
means exempting polluters from laws that ensure clear water and healthy air. A
provision seriously weakening the Clean Air Act was inserted at the last minute
behind closed doors.
the sin of omission once again outweighs all the sins of commission, even in
this stupefyingly bad bill. Our economy wastes more energy than any other
country, perhaps as much as half of our total energy. This bill does nothing to
encourage energy efficiency or fuel economy standards. The simplest, cheapest
thing we can do about energy is save
wonder the energy companies have given over $71 million in contributions to
politicians, over 80 percent to Republicans, since 1999. They're getting a $20
billion return on that little investment just in direct subsidies, and there is
much more in the bill in indirect subsidies. Folks, it is time to get serious
about fixing this system. ##
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