Used book sales are one of the joys of life, because they appeal to two corners of my personality – the reader and the cheapskate. A recent find was a collection of Molly Ivins’s best columns. A native Texan, Molly was one of the sharpest, most fearless, most acerbic political writers of our time, and wherever she is, I’m sure she verified that there was a source of good bourbon before she agreed to go there.

In a column written during then-Vice President Bush’s 1988 presidential campaign, she recounted his tendency to activate his mouth in front of reporters before his brain was fully engaged (an affliction that must have been genetic). It’s a cautionary tale for politicians and writers alike about choosing your words and expressions most carefully.

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