The dazzling, inimitable Molly Ivins is back, with her own personal Hall of Fame of America’s most amazing and outlandish politicians–the wicked, the wise, the witty, and the witless–drawn from more than twenty years of reporting on the folks who attempt to run our government (in some cases, into the ground).
Who Let the Dogs In? takes us on a wild ride through two decades of political life, from Ronald Reagan, through Big George and Bill Clinton, to our current top dog, known to Ivins readers simply as Dubya. But those are just a few of the political animals who are honored and skewered for our amusement. Ivins also writes hilariously, perceptively, and at times witheringly of John Ashcroft, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, H. Ross Perot, Tom DeLay, Ann Richards, Al Gore, Jimmy Carter, and the current governor of Texas, who is known as Rick “Goodhair” Perry.
Following close on the heels of her phenomenally successful Bushwhacked and containing an up-to-the-minute Introduction for the campaign season, Who Let the Dogs In? is political writing at its best.Veteran columnist Molly Ivins, a rare and highly irreverent Texas liberal, is back with a collection of columns gathered from a rich and varied career covering some of the best source material a writer with a knack for whimsy could wish for: politicians. In Who Let the Dogs In, Ivins offers her thoughts on politicos from the Reagan era through the administration of George W. Bush (whom she first nicknamed “Shrub” way back in his early Texas days). While Ivins is of the lefty persuasion, she is far from doctrinaire, which helps separate her from the scores of lockstep pundits on either side: she credits Bill Clinton with being a brilliant politician and condemns the policies of Bush as being terrible for average Americans, but also presents stinging criticisms of Clinton’s failed initiatives and defends Bush as being smarter than most give him credit for. Her words are strong, her writing is clear, and her thoughts are well organized. Of course, most people remember a Molly Ivins column for the humor, and we get to witness her firing missiles at low-flying targets like Newt Gingrich and Ross Perot and describing Bush’s puzzling lead over Al Gore among men in the 2000 campaign, “One guy played football, went to Vietnam, and is notoriously emotionally distant. The other guy was a cheerleader who got into a National Guard unit through family influence, lost money in the oil business, traded Sammy Sosa and is now sliding through a presidential race on charm. Do I not get American men, or what?” Who Let the Dogs In lacks some of the focus of her Shrub and Bushwhacked simply because it’s about a whole generation of political characters as opposed to one memorable Texan, but such broader perspective also affords an opportunity to better understand America’s recent history and maybe get a few laughs while doing it. –John Moe