Molly Ivins on how lame Hillary Clinton is

The columnist sounds off on the New York senator's presidential plans.

Published January 23, 2006 8:59PM (EST)

One of my heroes, Molly Ivins, let loose in her Friday column on the subject of Hillary Clinton's rumored White House bid and the general state of politics on the left.

As usual, she did not shimmy delicately around her point. "I'd like to make it clear to the people who run the Democratic Party that I will not support Hillary Clinton for president," she begins. "Sen. Clinton is apparently incapable of taking a clear stand on the war in Iraq ... Her failure to speak out on Terri Schiavo, not to mention that gross pandering on flag-burning, are just contemptible little dodges." The death of Gene McCarthy, writes Ivins, has recently reminded her that "there are times when regular politics will not do, and this is one of those times ... If no one in conventional-wisdom politics has the courage to speak up and say what needs to be said, then you go out and find some obscure junior senator from Minnesota with the guts to do it."

In 1968, Ivins recalls, it wasn't Bobby Kennedy who was speaking the truth, it was McCarthy, "this quiet man trained by Benedictines who liked to quote poetry." Ivins argues that the majority of Americans believe the war in Iraq is a mistake, want single-payer healthcare and are willing to pay more taxes to get it, and are in favor of raising the minimum wage, repealing Bush's tax cuts, cutting the deficit by reducing Pentagon spending or raising taxes and not by cutting domestic spending, and doing "whatever it takes to protect the environment."

"What kind of courage does it take, for mercy's sake?" Ivins scolds. "That is the center, you fools. WHO ARE YOU AFRAID OF?"

By Rebecca Traister

Rebecca Traister writes for Salon. She is the author of "Big Girls Don't Cry: The Election that Changed Everything for American Women" (Free Press). Follow @rtraister on Twitter.

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