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You Got to Dance with Them What Brung You Paperback – February 2, 1999

4.4 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

In this, her third volume, Molly Ivins (columnist, NPR commentator, and three-time finalist for the Pulitzer Prize) sheds light on the "great clouds of obsfucation" that stymie attempts to clearly analyze President Clinton's job performance. Ivins stayed a Clinton supporter after most of her fellow liberals bailed--up until 1996, when Clinton signed the welfare "reform" bill. "My expectations of Democratic politicians exceed my expectations of Republicans by only the smallest of margins," Ivins states ruefully, "but real Democrats don't hurt children. Clinton did." Nevertheless, current Clinton bashing defies logic and she provides a levelheaded analysis of the wave of anti-Clinton sentiment by distinguishing between the usual brew of Republican and Democrat animosity and such phenomena as "the well-financed propaganda machine funded largely by Richard Mellon Scaife of Pittsburgh."

The title flushes out the core concern of the collection. One of the oldest sayings in politics, "You got to dance with them what brung you," points to the reality that special-interest money rules today's politics. For Ivins, the centerpiece of corruption is gold, and such inevitable consequences as the tax burden shifting from corporations to individuals; the widening gap between rich and poor. You've Got to Dance with Them What Brung You, inimitably bold and broad, attacks racism, homophobia, terrorism; offers a terse and dismally delightful excoriation of the "ineffable" Newt Gingrich; reports on political farces at both the state and national levels. It's full of incisive gems that offer insight on some of our national extremes (Timothy McVeigh's obsession with the bizarre and racist book, The Turner Diaries, replete with the bomb recipe that blew up the Murrah Federal Building).

Champion of commonsense and compassion; frank and boldly funny, Molly Ivins has been called by the L.A. Times "H.L. Mencken without the cruelty, Will Rogers with an agenda." Those of us who love Molly Ivins read her for her gutsy, lively, liberal values, and those of us who don't ... should. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Ivins (Nothin' but Good Times Ahead) is what a good newspaper columnist should be?opinionated, funny, preachy, sympathetic, temperamental, right, wrong and, above all, immensely entertaining. This latest sampling of magazine articles and newspaper columns?taken mostly from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram?finds the unabashed liberal rounding up the usual suspects for target practice. Everyone from Newt Gingrich to "Shiite Republicans" gets poked, but Ivins's crusade is political campaign financing, which she calls "The source of everything that is wrong with our political life." A first-rate muckraker, she is also a reporter who does her homework; arguably, few other journalists work the often dreary topic of campaign finance reform with as much style and insight. She must also be one of the bravest writers in Texas, consistently taking on that state's "blue-bellied, wall-eyed, lithium-deprived Texas lunatics" with her trademark mix of folksy irreverence and scathing commentary. This collection solidifies Ivins's ranking as among the cleverest humorists of the day.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; 1st Vintage Books ed edition (February 2, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679754873
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679754879
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #798,837 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Molly Ivins is smart, thoughtful, funny, and well armed with the facts. I wish I could carry her around with me so she could cite examples of the hypocrisy, mendacity, and corruptibility of our elected officials when all I can say is, "they're all a bunch of lying thieves." I wish I could carry her around with me because she has such a way with words and because, at the end of it all, she has hope for the future, which is terribly reassuring after she tells us about the present. Molly Ivins is the Susan Lucci of the Pulitzer. Award her already!
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Format: Paperback
Molly Ivins is simply a top-notch columnist who documents her opinions with facts that cannot be denied. So, her detractors resort to calling her "liberal" as though that word has the Magical Power to transform sense and reason and humor and documentation into a negative.
The far right, filled with paranoia and mistrust, needs to resort to name calling when they deal with this witty, tough, and very well-informed treasure. Why? She's got the goods on them. (She has been a thorn in Bush's side relentlessly cutting through his misdirection to reveal what he does. And, oh, how that annoys those who want to revive the House Committee on UnAmerican Activities -- that wonderful little gang that brought blacklisting and mud-slinging to the halls of congress.)
Ivins is a patriotic writer -- too in love with her country and its Constitution to sit by quietly while it gets dismantled in the name of "security" by those who use fear as their political cover, and too sharp to allow the politics of destruction to go unpunished.
Thanks to Molly Ivins, there is something to love about Texas after all!
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Format: Paperback
This collection of Molly Ivins news articles is a god-send for those of us who are not privileged to be able to read her column on a regular basis. This truth-seeker tells it like it is and the reader is left with the feeling that you have just shared an intimate cup of coffee with one of the most astute political observers of our time. My only regret when I closed the book is that my own writing skills are not on a par with this seasoned journalist. I look forward to more and more of her quality analysis and use of the language to demand our attention to the important issues of the day.
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Format: Paperback
Whenever I see a Molly Ivans piece on the op-ed page of my morning paper, a warm feeling of anticipation comes over me. So when I came across this collection of her essays at an airport ``bookstore'' before a long trip home, plunking down the $12 was a no-brainer. I wasn't disappointed.
The pieces in this book are full of Texas charm, humor, and just plain common sense, but also the facts that so often go unreported in today's news. Her topics are many, but three that come up often in this collection are media ethics (got that? media ethics debated by a journalist!), hypocrisy (Al D'Amato conduct an ethics investigation?), and her favorite, the U.S. campaign financing system (which she refers to as ``legalized bribery'') and its fundamental effects on our society. ``The truth is that there is no political story more important than campaign financing. It's not just the hottest political story---it's the only story. It's the key to the real source of class warfare in this country.'' Not only are these issues and many others addressed intelligently with an eye toward ferreting out the truth, but they are often a laugh riot!
The introduction to the book was written in January, 1998, just after the Lewinsky scandal broke, and all but one of the pieces were originally published from 1993 to 1997. Some of the events Ivans refers to are thus a bit dated today (early 1999), but her writing still packs a wallop.
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By A Customer on March 18, 1998
Format: Hardcover
In addition to enthralling us with her brilliant and hilarious upbraiding of those pols who do not live up to her standards of honesty and integrity, Ivins also uplifts with stories of those who do. I enjoyed her essays on Bob Bullock and Barbara Jordan so much I read them to friends who feel blue. Be good to yourself; go read them yourself!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Molly Ivins work is a delight and a joy, and this is her at her best. Her optimism, humor, intelligence and willingness to examine real issues make this books a delight. Don't get it if you don't have time to read it; I stayed up to 4 in the morning on a worknight to finish it. She is also hilarious.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Molly Ivins’ views on American politics were incisive, humorous and honest. What makes her humor so funny is that she was raised in a very conservative area of Tejas yet, she was a thinking liberal that was not afraid to take on the democrats and hometown republicans.

I gladly recommend reading her thoughts because they are just as applicable today as when she wrote them. Enjoy.
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Format: Paperback
It took Ivins some time to get around to writing another book (as she puts it, now she's an "arthur"), and I agree that it was too long. She is funny and sincere at the same time. In thirty years, when we try to explain the 1990s to kids who weren't even born then, this book will shed a lot of light.
A nice thing about this book is that the columns are divvied up in to topical groupings, which makes it better organized and gives it a better flow. Other than that, it is standard Ivins: bitingly humourous political commentary with a Texan flavour. It says a lot for her that she likes her home state very much, and that it seems to mostly like her. It should: she's a credit to it.
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