Molly Ivins' renown as a progressive newspaper columnist soared just as the country veered right with Ronald Reagan's election.
A native Texan, Ivins gained a national platform, appearing in 400 newspapers and on television. Her acerbic quips gave liberal voters hollow laughter as Reagan subverted New Deal programs. Her favorite targets were the Bush family, especially the mediocre George W when he was just a lackluster Texas pol who somehow was elected governor.
The Clinton years, with their swings to "triangulation," propelled her to new heights. Then came the disastrous George W. presidency, wrested from Al Gore and John Kerry. She didn't live to see the great recession, the election of Barack Obama, and the dominance of the reactionary GOP.
Her insulting heavy-handed humor likely would be driven out of the media mainstream today. Now 12 years after her death, the GOP's vandalism of America's democracy hurtles onward.
A new documentary, "Raise Hell: The Life and Times of Molly Ivins," recently debuted at Austin's South by Southwest Festival and received adoring features inTexas Monthly and the Texas Observer, the feisty muckraking magazine where Ivins, a former Houston socialite, began her career. The documentary sounds promising, albeit overloaded with talking heads.
With Trump in the White House, the GOP seizing control of the court system, and the Democratic Party in flux, Ivins' career brings more sorrow than joy. The documentary will rekindle hope that her values will prevail at last.