Daniel Patrick Moynihan

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Daniel Patrick Moynihan
Former U.S. Senator, New York
Image:DanielPatrickMoynihan.jpg
Party Democratic
In Office from

January, 1977 β€” January, 2001

Preceded by James L. Buckley
Succeeded by Hillary Rodham Clinton
Born / Died March 16, 1927 β€” March 26, 2003
Spouse Liza Moynihan
Religion Roman Catholic


Daniel Patrick β€œPat” Moynihan (March 16, 1927March 26, 2003) was a United States Senator, Ambassador, and eminent sociologist. He was first elected to the United States Senate for New York in 1976, and was re-elected with the Democratic Party three times (in 1982, 1988, and 1994). He declined to run for re-election in 2000. Prior to his years in the Senate, Moynihan was a member of four successive presidential administrations, beginning with the administration of John F. Kennedy, and continuing through the administrations of Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon, and Gerald Ford. It was often said of the scholarly Moynihan that he had written more books than most of his colleagues had read.

Contents

Education

Moynihan was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma and was brought by his family to New York City at the age of six. There he was brought up in a poor neighborhood, shined shoes for money, and attended various public, private, and parochial schools before graduating from Harlem High School. He and his brother spent most of their childhood summers at his grandfather's farm in Bluffton, Indiana. He studied for one year at the City College of New York, which at that time provided free higher education, but then joined the U.S. Navy, receiving V-12 officer training at Tufts University. He served on active duty from 1944 to 1947, last serving as Gunnery Officer of the USS Quirinus. He went on to graduate from Tufts University, and received three graduate degrees from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy (a Tufts University graduate school); afterwards, he studied as a Fulbright fellow at the London School of Economics. He was later given an Honorary Doctorate of Law from Tufts and has the distinction of being the only person to hold five degrees from that university.

Public service

Moynihan was a member of Averell Harriman's New York gubernatorial campaign in 1954 and thereafter served 4 years on the Governor's staff, in positions including acting secretary to the Governor. He was a Kennedy delegate at the 1960 Democratic National Convention.

Assistant Secretary of Labor; controversy over the War on Poverty

Moynihan was an Assistant Secretary of Labor for policy in the Kennedy administration and in the early part of the Johnson administration. In that capacity, he did not have operational responsibilities, allowing him to devote all of his time to trying to formulate national policy for what would become the War on Poverty. He had a small staff including Paul Barton, Ellen Broderick, and Ralph Nader (who at 29 years of age, hitchhiked to Washington, D.C. and got a job working for Moynihan in 1963).

They took inspiration from the book Slavery written by Stanley Elkins. Elkins essentially contended that slavery had made American blacks dependent on the dominant society, and that that dependence still existed a century later, supporting a view that the government must go beyond simply ensuring that members of minority races have the same rights as everyone else, and offering minority members benefits that others did not get on the grounds that those benefits were necessary to counteract that lingering effects of past actions.

Moynihan found data at the Labor Department that showed that even as fewer people were unemployed, more people were joining the welfare rolls — these recipients were families with children, but only one parent (almost invariably the mother). The laws at that time permitted such families to receive welfare payments in certain parts of the United States.

Moynihan's report was seen by people on the left as "Blaming the Victim", a slogan coined by William Ryan. He was also seen as propagating the views of racists, because much of the press coverage of his reports focused on the discussion of children being born out of wedlock. Despite Moynihan's warnings, the Aid to Families with Dependent Children program had the "Man out of the house rule." Critics said that the nation was paying poor women to throw their husbands out of the house. Moynihan supported Richard Nixon's idea of a Guaranteed Annual Income (GAI). Daniel Patrick Moynihan had significant discussions concerning a Basic Income Guarantee with Russell B. Long and Louis O. Kelso.

Local New York City and academic career

By 1964, Moynihan was supporting Robert F. Kennedy. For this reason he was not favored by then president Johnson. He left the Johnson administration in 1965. He ran for but did not win the presidency of the New York City Council. He then became an academic, becoming director of the Joint Center for Urban Studies at Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, but continued to write about the problems of the poor in the cities of the Northeastern part of the United States. With turmoil and riots in the United States he wrote that the next administration would have to be able to unite the nation again.

Nixon Administration

Connecting with President-elect Richard Nixon in 1968, he joined Nixon's White House Staff as an urban affairs advisor. He was very influential at that time, as one of the few people in Nixon's inner circle who had done academic research related to social policies.

He once wrote in a memo to President Nixon that "the issue of race could benefit from a period of benign neglect". He argued that Nixon's conservative tactics were playing into the hands of the radicals, but he regretted that he was misinterpreted as advocating that the government should neglect minorities.

U.N. Ambassador

He later served as the ambassador to India from 1973 to 1975, and as the United States Permanent Representative to the United Nations, serving a rotation as President of the United Nations Security Council in 1976. He remained a member of the Democratic Party, although he feared that the party had moved too far to the left at that time.

Perhaps the most controversial action of Moynihan's career was his response, as ambassador to the UN, to the Indonesian invasion of East Timor in 1975. The Ford administration considered Indonesia, then under a military dictatorship, a key ally against communism. Moynihan ensured that the UN Security Council took no action against the clearly illegal annexiation of a small country by a larger one, nor at the subsequent massacres that killed over 200,000 Timorese. As he put it in his memoirs:

"The United States wished things to turn out as they did, and worked to bring this about. The Department of State desired that the United Nations prove utterly ineffective in whatever measures it undertook. This task was given to me, and I carried it forward with no inconsiderable success." (A Dangerous Place, Little Brown, 1980, p. 247) Later, he admitted that he had defended a "shameless" Cold War policy toward East Timor.

Career in the Senate

In 1976, Moynihan was elected to the U.S. Senate from the state of New York, defeating U.S. Representative Bella Abzug in the Democratic primary, and Conservative Party incumbent James L. Buckley in the general election.

While considered by many to be a liberal, Moynihan did break with the orthodox positions of his party on numerous occasions. He strongly opposed President Clinton's proposal to expand healthcare coverage to all Americans. Seeking to focus the debate on health insurance and the financing of health care costs, Moynihan garnered controversy by stating that "there is no healthcare crisis in this country."

In the mid-1990s, Moynihan was one of the few liberal Democrats to support the controversial ban on the procedure known as partial-birth abortion. He said of the procedure: "I think this is just too close to infanticide. A child has been born and it has exited the uterus. What on Earth is this procedure?" Earlier in his career in the Senate, Moynihan had expressed his annoyance with the adamantly pro-choice interest groups petitioning him and others on the issue. He complained to them saying, "you women are ruining the Democratic Party with your insistence on abortion."<ref>Human Life Review, Summer 2003, page 13.</ref>

Daniel Patrick Moynihan had a theory about government called the "professionalization of reform" by which the government bureaucracy thinks up problems for government to solve rather than simply responding to the problems identified by others.

Commission on Government Secrecy

Main article: Moynihan Commission on Government Secrecy

In the post-Cold War era, the 103rd Congress enacted legislation directing an inquiry into the uses of government secrecy. Moynihan chaired the Commission. The Committee studied and made recommendations on the "culture of secrecy" that pervaded the United States government and its intelligence community for 80 years, beginning with the Espionage Act of 1917, and made recommendations on the statutory regulation of classified information.

The Committee's findings and recommendations were presented to the President in 1997. As part of the effort, Moynihan secured release from the Federal Bureau of Investigation of its classified Venona file. This file documents the FBI's joint counterintelligence investigation, with the United States Signals Intelligence Service, into Soviet espionage within the United States. Much of the information had been collected and classified as secret information for over fifty years.

After release of the information, Moynihan authored Secrecy: The American Experience where he discussed the impact government secrecy has had on the domestic politics of America for the past half century, and how myths and suspicion created an unnecessary partisan chasm.

Academe and authorship

In addition to his distinguished career as a politician and diplomat, Moynihan was a sociologist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard University, Wesleyan University, and Syracuse University. He authored some 19 books, including Beyond the Melting Pot, an influential study of American ethnicity which he co-authored with Nathan Glazer in 1963, followed by The Negro Family: The Case for National Action otherwise known as the Moynihan Report in 1965, The Politics of a Guaranteed Income (1973), Family and Nation (1986), Came the Revolution (1988), On the Law of Nations (1990), and Secrecy (1998).

Death & posthumous honors

In 2003, Moynihan died at the age of 76 after complications suffered from an emergency appendectomy about a month earlier. He was survived by his wife of 39 years, Elizabeth Brennan Moynihan, three grown children, Timothy Patrick Moynihan, Maura Russell Moynihan, and John McCloskey Moynihan, and two grandchildren, Michael Patrick and Zora Olea.

In 2004, Michael Bloomberg, the mayor of New York City, announced plans to replace Penn Station as the city's railroad hub. Built a block away at the old Farley Post Office Building, it would be named for Moynihan.

In 2005, the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs renamed their Global Affairs Institute to the Moynihan Institute of Global Affairs.

References

External links

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