By Roger Stone Former New York Times man Steve Weissman has pulled together a terrific book of the letters of Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan. I always admired Moynihan who was witty, mischievous, brilliant and versatile. While Weissman does a fine job, I find he leaves one key aspect of Moynihan's talents unexamined - that of political operator and courtier. Daniel Patrick MoynihanWeissman catalogs how Moynihan reaches out to former Vice president Nixon as the 'New Nixon" was begin his comeback bid in 1968 to invite him to Harvard to meet with key faculty at the Kennedy School for some policy discussions. Thus Moynihan impressed Nixon, who brought him to the White House Staff, despite his Kennedy/Johnson pedigree. Three key memos not included in Weissman's book, but among the trove of Bruce Oudes "Memos To and From the President " are printed here to show you Moynihan, the New Frontiersman and stout liberal handling Richard Nixon. One is about Moynihan and the other is in his own hand.
December 11, 1970 To the President From: Charles Colson RE: Pat Moynihan Pursuant to our discussions this morning, I reached Pat Moynihan. He is very charged up and will talk to as many of his liberal columnist friends as he can get to. He expressed, in this own inimitable way, his view that the entire Washington press corps is corrupt as well as the entire editorial staff of the New York Times, which he told them to their faces this morning in a meeting in New York. (I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall.) Bcc: H. R. Haldeman - Pat asked me to pass on to you the fact that he met with the New York Times this morning and, as he described it, gave John Oakes hell.
But here is Moynihan writing to RN and selling with his persuasive talents.
To: The President From: Daniel P. Moynihan Mr. Haldeman has asked that I list for you what I would consider "the eight major goals on which Administration should make, or have made, its record in the first year." FIRST-YEAR GOALS OF THE ADMINISTRATION 1. Peace. By year's end we should have made it clear that you are the leader of the peace movement. There are conditions for a cessation of hostility which you will not accept because they will not bring peace, but merely a temporary cease fire. But that must not obscure the fundamental thrust of your administration which is to bring an end to an ill advised, badly conducted, and shockingly misrepresented war. You will do what Eisenhower did: get us out of a land war on the Continent of Asia. 2. Draft Reform. By year's end we will by legislative enactment or administrative fiat [have] brought about the first fundamental change in Selective Service since its enactment as a permanent feature of the Cold War. The seven-year period of suspense and uncertainty which has driven a generation of American youth half made will be a thing of the past. 3. Deflation Without Depression. By year's end we will "hopefully" be able to show that the fever has gone out of the economy, that we are well on our way to bringing off - for the first time in history - a successfully managed downturn in an economy that had been on the verge of a calamitous sequence of boom and bust. Simultaneously, we will have made clear that we are not going to buy price stability with men's jobs. You personally are determined not to. You know what it will mean. This becomes a pressing matter in view of the Treasury testimony yesterday. 4. The first fundamental reform of government since Woodrow Wilson will have commenced. At year's end, although few reform bills are likely to have passed, we will nonetheless have succeeded in getting through to the nation what it is you are about: namely a massive, concerted, determined and informed effort to restructure the Federal system so that the government in the 1970s will once again become an effective instrument of democratic decision making. Electoral reform would be a powerful symbol of a new era, and might just have passed the Congress by December. D.C. Home Rule, Postal Reform, Revenue Sharing, Grant Consolidation - these and a dozen similar measures will be seen as a part of a legislative pattern that will define the era. 5. The growing antagonism between White and Black will have begun to recede. At year's end the Administration will have succeeded in establishing its bona fides with black America, while reassuring white America, especially the white working class, that an administration is in office which understands that gains for blacks must not be automatically translated into losses for whites. The ill informed, often insensitive, and frequently crude manner in which Administration officials have handled black issues in the early months of the Administration will have been succeeded by positive programs in the hands of positive men who understand, among other things, that the great need is for reassurance among all weak and exposed groups in the society. 6. Law and order will be seen as on the ascendancy. By year's end the nation will feel the downward spiral into a nihilist nightmare of violence and disorder has stopped, and an upward spiral could now begin. Not the end, nor yet the beginning of the end, but the end of the beginning will have occurred. Some legislation may have passed. Far more importantly, the initiative of the President with respect to the drug traffic will have impressed the nation with the fact that those in high office really know, and really care, about what is going on. Hopefully, we will have resolved the present apparent mess on the Mexican border. Without establishing an image of the United States as a high-handed and assertive giant concerned only with its own interests, and not at all with either the interests or sovereignty of its Latin neighbors. Hopefully the far more urgent problem of heroin addiction will have been the subject of public international undertakings. If possible, some symbolic measures may have been taken against organized crime, although the effort to counter the heroin traffic will have largely served that purpose. 7. The Family Assistance Program achieves a consensus. By year's end the Family Assistance Program, the most important piece of social legislation sent to the Congress in a generation, one of the ten great bills in the history of the American nation, will have won the support of a clear majority. This is already the case in the public opinion polls (i.e., at the beginning of Autumn). By the end of the year the general good will of the public will have been translated into specific support and endorsement of the great citizen groups which so much influence public action. (N.b. This might take the reform of a broadly based, bi-partisan citizen's group supporting the legislation.) 8. Tax Reform and a measure of further legislative measures. By year's end the first major reform and revision of the Internal Revenue Code will have become law. The first significant proposal in this direction - exempting the poor from income tax - was taken by the Administration, and the administration will have every reason for pointing to the (hopefully) major substantive achievements incorporated in the bill. The essential point will be that the Federal government in the Nixon era is achieving things thought impossible in previous times. In addition to tax reform, a number of important legislative measures will have been enacted, such as the hunger program, the population commission, and the extension of the Economic Opportunity Act. These legislative achievements will have been accompanied by important Administration advances such as the reorganization of the regional offices of the Federal government, the establishment of a vital minority business program, the Postal Academy program for minority youth, the reorganized and redirected Peace Corps, the new National Goals Research Staff in the White House, and many others. Hopefully, the White House Conference on Food and Nutrition will have proven a landmark in American social history: a national gathering simultaneously concerned.
My friend Larry Kudlow who worked for Moynihan, speaks of "good Pat" and "bad Pat" as Moynihan had a healthy appetitive for ideas- be they left or right. He was a great man and the Rail station in his name is a fitting tribute to Senator who's political skills matched his intellect.