Picks and Pans Review: You Got to Dance with Them What Brung You: Politics in the Clinton Years

updated 03/23/1998 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 03/23/1998 AT 01:00 AM EST

by Molly Ivins

Radio host Rush Limbaugh once attacked Molly Ivins on the air, an experience the liberal political columnist describes as "somewhat akin to being gummed by a newt. It doesn't actually hurt, but it leaves you with slimy stuff on your ankle." An assault by Ivins, on the other hand, can sting, as this collection of her acerbic, down-home pieces, mostly from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, makes clear. Though she generally defends President Clinton, she nevertheless finds him "weaker than bus-station chili." Nothing is sacred. Warmly eulogizing her 84-year-old mother in 1997, she concludes, "Looking on the bright side, at least we'll never have to eat turnip fluff again." Though Ivins is surely one of the nation's most adroit political commentators, many of the biggest chuckles in this book come from her observations of everyday Americana—like the dearth of high heels in Berkeley, Calif.: "If there are hookers in this town," she says, "they wear Rockports." One 1994 column opened with a vintage taste of her front-porch wisdom: "Life's a funny ol' female-dog, idn't she?" With Ivins writing, she surely is. (Random House, $23)

From Our Partners