Daniel Patrick Moynihan on the Need for Credible Opposition

In the heady days of the early 1960s, Democrats began to flirt with the idea of enduring partisan dominance, fancying themselves a permanent majority. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who had both been a Kennedy and Johnson aide and shared in the headiness of the moment, later welcomed the Republican advances in the 1966 midterms. Several pro-civil rights members of the GOP were elected, and Moynihan also thought Democrats could use the chastening. He later wrote: “There had been much talk of the United States moving toward a ‘one and one-half party system,’ with the Democrats permanently in office and the Republicans a … Continue reading Daniel Patrick Moynihan on the Need for Credible Opposition

Pat Moynihan on Resignations

Jeffrey Abramson’s excellent essay on political resignations reminded me of something I recalled Daniel Patrick Moynihan saying in a Senate debate over welfare. This, from September 14, 1995, remains apt: “I say once again there is such a thing as resigning in Government, and there comes a time when, if principle matters at all, you resign. People who resign on principle come back; people whose real views are less important than their temporary position, ‘their brief authority,’ as Shakespeare once put it, disappear.” Continue reading Pat Moynihan on Resignations