Award-winning local actress Barbara Bradshaw (Our “Take 5” in the February issue of Boca Raton) has been reading up on fiery Texas political commentator Molly Ivins for months in preparation for her demanding role as Ivins in the solo show “Red-Hot Patriot: The Kick-Ass Wit of Molly Ivins,” which opens Feb. 28 at the Willow Theatre in Boca Raton.
If you’re new to the genius of the late Ivins, here are some of her most memorable bon mots, most of which we pulled from her indispensable essay collection “Molly Ivins Can’t Say That, Can She?” You never know—maybe Bradshaw will get to say some of them onstage.
“This year we are suffering from the acute excitement shortage caused by the nominees. The Democrats have chosen a policy wonk and Republicans a fatuous twit. Everyone enjoys inventing lines about how dull they are: Mike Dukakis’s idea of a hot night is rearranging his sock drawer; after he won the New York primary, he went out and painted the town beige. The Republicans have put up a man whose most memorable contribution to political rhetoric is “deep doo-doo.” Bush thinks ‘gosh darn” are fighting words.’—Ms., August 1988
“The American press has always had a tendency to assume that the truth must lie exactly halfway between any two opposing points of view. Thus, if the press presents the man who says Hitler is an ogre and the man who says Hitler is a prince, it believes it has done the full measure of its journalistic duty.”—The Progressive, March 1987
“There is a fashionable intellectual perception that America is becoming more and more alike from one end to the other, that it’s all covered with interstate highways and Howard Johnsons. Horsepucky. The most amazing thing about this country is its diversity, and the persistence of its regional and cultural differences.”—Mother Jones, June 1988
“Senator John McCain of Arizona was one of many who predicted Quayle would close the gender gap for Bush because he’s so good-looking. Actually, Quayle looks exactly like Princess Di, while Mrs. Quayle looks exactly like Prince Charles. What more could any woman want?”—Ms., August 1988
“The Reagan administration is genuinely funny, honest it is. From the time we whipped Grenada in a fair fight to the day the old boy dropped off the wreath at Bitburg, this administration has been nothing but laughs. James Watt! Killer trees! Ketchup as a vegetable! Reagan cures the deficit! This is great stuff. You can’t make up stuff this good.”—The Progressive, March 1986
“Calling George Bush shallow is like calling a dwarf short. He’s a conventional creature, perfectly amiable—in fact, he has lovely manners when he’s not upset (his mom deserves a hand)—but every principle he holds is based on a recent opinion poll. Even though he vacillates constantly, he is not a hopeless twit, a total Twinkie, or a damn fool. … Bush merely has twit tendencies.”—Mother Jones, February 1990
“First, we Texans would like to salute the only governor we've got, Rick ‘Goodhair’ Perry, the Ken Doll, for vetoing the bill to outlaw executing the mentally retarded.
We are Texas Proud. Such a brilliant decision—not only is Texas now globally recognized for barbaric cruelty, but a strong majority of Texans themselves (73 percent) would prefer not to off the retarded. Gov. Goodhair's decision—in the face of popular opinion, the Supreme Court and George W. Bush's recent conversion on this subject—is a testament to his strength of character. Or something.”—Mother Jones, June 2001
“I assume we can defeat Hussein without great cost to our side (God forgive me if that is hubris). The problem is what happens after we win. The country is 20 percent Kurd, 20 percent Sunni and 60 percent Shiite. Can you say, ‘Horrible three-way civil war?’”—The Free Press, January 2003
“There is almost certainly a direct link between the current decline of American newspapers and the disappearance of the copyboy. It’s a well-known fact, on the order of the-sun-rises-in-the-east, that newspapers are the most miserably managed of all human institutions. In the Olde Days, who were the only people at the paper who knew what was going on? The copyboys, of course. They knew who was sleeping with whom, where the booze was hidden, who made how much ... and everything else that matters in the management of a great metropolitan newspaper—or even a piddly provincial one.” —Washington Journal Review, April 1987