Cory Leonard

Personal Political Heroes | Letters of Daniel P. Moynihan Collected – NYTimes.com

In career, politics on September 23, 2010 at 5:12 am

I admire Moynihan’s attention to detail, his academic demeanor and training, and the way he spoke prophetically on issues of diplomacy, social policy, and national security, namely explaining the dynamics behind the UN, shouting out the crisis of the black family in America, and pondering the implications of secrecy.

Nothing escaped his attention. He complained to Brooks Brothers about the holes in his socks, urged Mr. Nixon to reverse a Johnson administration austerity measure and use floodlights to illuminate the White House exterior. He described the Peace Corps as: “a rip-off by the upper middle classes. Fortunes spent to send Amherst boys for an interesting learning experience in Venezuela,” paid for by “men equally young pumping gas on the New Jersey Turnpike.”

In 1965, W. Willard Wirtz, President Lyndon B. Johnson’s labor secretary, described Mr. Moynihan’s report on threats to the black nuclear family as “nine pages of dynamite about the Negro situation.” Mr. Moynihan wrote to Mr. Johnson, perhaps invoking their shared upbringing: “You were born poor. You were brought up poor. Yet you came of age full of ambition, energy and ability. Because your mother and father gave it to you. The richest inheritance any child can have is a stable, loving, disciplined family life.”

He would later describe Mr. Johnson as “the first American president to be toppled by a mob. No matter that it was a mob of college professors, millionaires, flower children and Radcliffe girls.”

via Letters of Daniel P. Moynihan Collected – NYTimes.com.

via Personal Political Heroes | Letters of Daniel P. Moynihan Collected – NYTimes.com.

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