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The Progressive

A Rotting, Dead Chicken

Well, look at it this way: You cannot keep a dog that kills chickens, no matter how fine a dog it is otherwise.

My friend John Henry Faulk always said the way to break a dog of that habit is to take one of the chickens the dog has killed and wire the thing around the dog's neck, good and strong. And leave it there until that dead chicken stinks so bad the dog won't be able to stand himself. You leave it on there until the last little bit of flesh rots and falls off, and that dog won't kill chickens again.

The Bush Administration is going to be wired around the neck of the American people for four more years, long enough for the stench to sicken everybody. It should cure the country of electing Republicans.

I can think of nothing more likely to convince the people not to vote for Republicans again for a long, long time than four more years of George W. Bush.

From the humorist's point of view, the material will be both better and blacker. During a particularly unpleasant period of American diplomacy in Central America (Ronald Reagan was supporting death squads in El Salvador and drug dealers in Nicaragua), I proposed a book of humor on the subject to be called If You Ignore the Dead Babies. . . . I pitched this idea to a New York agent, who sighed, folded his hands, and said, "Ah, Miss Ivins, I see you are not interested in income maximization."

In Texas, we've been losing elections to the demagogic triad of God, gays, and guns long enough to be pretty cynical about how it works out. I'm sure millions of Americans voted for George W. under the honest impression that he stands for moral values: family, patriotism, faith in God. I'm sure it's the Democrats' fault that such a silly ruse is allowed to stand. What Bush actually does stand for is nicely summed up by a news story that got stuck on the business pages.

In September, Merck, the huge drug manufacturer, pulled Vioxx, a popular painkilling, anti-arthritis drug, off the market after a new study from the Food and Drug Administration showed high doses of Vioxx tripled the risk of heart attack and sudden cardiac death.


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Merck said it was acting out of concern for the patients. But The Wall Street Journal reported internal company memos going back at least three years indicating the company knew about Vioxx's unfortunate cardiac effect and advising sales reps to "dodge" the question from doctors.

That alone is lovely. But according to Senator Charles Grassley, Republican of Iowa and not a red-hot radical, the FDA not only dragged its feet about publishing the study but also ostracized its author and subjected him to threats and intimidation. Both Merck and the FDA deny everything. Next, the British medical journal The Lancet chipped in with a devastating editorial saying studies were available three years ago showing Vioxx increased the risk of heart attack.

Hey, that gummint regulation is bad for bidness.

Of course, I'm devastated by the news John Ashcroft is leaving. Do you think we'll see tits on statues in Washington once more?

I grew up amongst a lot of foot-washing, full immersion Baptists. Lovely people. And I'm so glad the majority of Bush's supporters turn out to be "moral values" voters. I thought they were all greedheads, bless their hearts. But we can outscripture Republicans in no time flat: Jesus was the original bleeding heart liberal.

We used to think we needed to talk to our friends and neighbors, but what's startling is how little most of us know them. If you don't live in a red county, do you know where the nearest one is? The nearest evangelical church? Can't talk to folks if you don't reach out.

Of course we'll laugh again, progressives. But I am into action now. So let's have at 'em.

Molly Ivins

Molly Ivins

Molly Ivins (August 30, 1944 – January 31, 2007) was an American newspaper columnist, liberal political commentator, humorist and author. From Americans Who Tell the Truth: "To honor a journalist as a truth teller is implicitly to comment on the scarcity of courage and candor in a profession ostensibly dedicated to writing and speaking the truth. Molly Ivins is singular in her profession not only for her willingness to speak truth to power but for her use of humor to lampoon the self-seeking, the corrupt and the incompetent in positions of public trust. Her wit and insight place her squarely in the tradition of America’s great political humorists like Mark Twain."

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