Tag Archives: Molly Ivins

Now it’s ‘Goodhair’s’ turn to cozy up to Trump

perry

Oh, how I wish Molly Ivins were around today.

The late, great Texas political columnist coined the term “Gov. Goodhair” to describe her longtime foil, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

What would Ivins think of the notion that Perry is heading off to New York today to visit with the man he once called a “cancer on conservatism,” possibly to interview for a job in his former foe’s Cabinet?

Perry went after Donald J. Trump hard during the Republican Party primary this year. The ex-governor was one of a large field of GOP candidates whom Trump defeated while winning his party’s nomination.

All is forgiven? That “cancer” has been excised from the GOP? Or was Perry just blustering to make some kind of political point in the moment?

Perry reportedly is being considered either for secretary jobs at Defense or Energy.

https://www.texastribune.org/2016/11/21/perry-meet-trump-new-york-city/

Perry did end up endorsing Trump, getting on the president-elect’s good side.

All this maneuvering, though, does illustrate what many of us believe about politicians, which is that you can’t ever take what they say at face value.

Molly Ivins certainly knew it, and she knew what drove Rick Perry better than most. My own sense is that ambition takes precedence over all else.

Oh, how I miss Molly Ivins

Watching the unfolding Texas political campaign for statewide office — and seeing how it mirrors the intense partisanship that divides the nation — I keep thinking of Molly Ivins.

I wish she were around to see and hear the things coming out of politicians’ mouths.

Ivins died in 2007. She was just 62. She could skewer a politician — usually conservative and Republican — with the kind of skill that hasn’t yet been found since her death.

She coined the term “Gov. Goodhair” when referring to our lame-duck governor, Rick Perry. She wrote with flash, panache and she packed a tremendous rhetorical wallop.

I found this link from Mother Jones looking back on Miss Molly’s career. The folks at Mother Jones were anticipating the presidential campaign of Gov. Goodhair and thought they’d share some of Ivins’s pearls with their readers.

http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2011/08/rick-perry-molly-ivins

With Texas politics leaning ever more rightward, Lone Star State pols needed someone who could hold them accountable for their silliness and outright frightening policies. Ivins was the one to do it.

In all the years I worked in daily journalism in Texas I was proud to publish Ivins’s work in the two Texas papers where I worked. One was in Beaumont, the other in Amarillo.

You know what I learned about readers in both communities, even with their disparate political leanings and demographic composition? Her fans loved her and her foes loved to hate her.

It’s that latter category of readers that fascinates me.

If she didn’t appear in either paper — for whatever reason — on a given day, my phone would ring. The conversation would go something like this:

Me: Hello?

Caller: Yeah, where’s Molly today? I missed her column in the paper. I don’t agree with her, but I sure like reading her work. She makes me laugh.

Me: She’s taking a break. She’ll be back.

Caller: Good. She’d better be or else I’m cancelling my subscription.

There aren’t many journalists who can count “fans” among those who disagree with their commentary.

Former Sen. Phil Gramm visited us in Amarillo once years ago and we asked him to comment on a biting criticism Ivins had made about him. Gramm laughed and said, “Oh, Molly probably cried when the Berlin Wall came down.”

Well, she wasn’t a godless communist. She was as patriotic as any American I’ve ever met.

Her brand of patriotism doesn’t wear well in some circles these days. Her biting humor, though, would go a long way in the midst of what passes for political discourse these days.

No goodbye for Goodhair

Come on, y’all. You didn’t really think Gov. Rick Perry was going to say “farewell” at the Texas Republican Party convention in Fort Worth, did you?

Oh, no. The man dubbed by the late columnist/humorist Molly Ivins as Gov. Goodhair said, according to the Texas Tribune, said, in effect, “See y’all later.”

You know what that means. He wants to run for president of the United States in two years.

http://www.panhandlepbs.org/news/texas-tribune/gop-convention-perry-signs-without-goodbye/

Great! Just great!

Perry did a thorough job of embarrassing himself and the state he governs in 2011 while running briefly for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination. He didn’t make it to the first contest, the Iowa caucus, before dropping out. He had that infamous “oops” moment when he couldn’t identify all the federal agencies he’d cut if he were elected president.

He performed badly in other GOP joint appearances with the other candidates.

Perry called it off, came back to Texas and resumed his day job, which he’s held longer than anyone else in Texas history.

He’s sought to rehabilitate himself, his image, his message, his demeanor … the whole thing.

Many Texans still know him — fondly and not-so-fondly — as Gov. Goodhair, thanks to Miss Molly’s timeless description.

I’ll just add this little anecdote, which I heard countless times from quite a few Texas Panhandle Republicans as Goodhair ran for president two years ago.

A lot of ’em told me they wanted Perry elected president — just so they could get him out of Texas.

Texas AG candidates misrepresent their role

Texas has a long history of tough-talking macho men running for state attorney general.

They make all kinds of vows: to crack down on border security, to be tough on crime, to fight the federal government.

That’s all fine, except that the office requires little of what they individuals are trying to sell.

This year’s Republican primary for attorney general is no different. It’s getting tiresome, to be honest, listening to these individuals try out to out-tough each other.

http://trailblazersblog.dallasnews.com/2014/02/republican-candidates-for-texas-ag-prepare-for-dash-to-finish-line.html/

The attorney general essentially is the state’s in-house lawyer. He or she represents the state primarily in civil matters. Crime-fighting? They leave that job to the district attorneys elected to serve the state’s 254 counties.

The closest the AG comes to fighting crime is chasing down dead-beat parents who are delinquent on their child-support payments.

Barry Smitherman touts his experience as a prosecutor; Ken Paxton boasts that he has tea party U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz’s support; Dan Branch declares his devotion to the sanctity of human life. They’re all spending a lot of money to promote themselves.

None of it matters as much as how well they’ll perform as a civil litigator representing Texas.

Sigh.

My favorite attorney general candidate of all time, though, was the late Democrat Jim Mattox, who used to brag about how tough he was crime and how he loved a good political battle.

The late great liberal newspaper columnist Molly Ivins once said of Mattox that if he spotted an ice cream stand and a crowd of folks fighting on opposites sides of a street, he’d go for the fight.

Did that make him a good attorney general? No. It did make for a good punch line.

Mattox’s political descendants — who represent the other party — nonetheless are following his lead in their quest for the office he once held.