Dear Reader Mailers: I was wondering why mail from you was slower than usual this week. The problem has now been fixed, but it appears that several days of mail sent by Prowler readers to the post-merger address of email@example.com vanished in a black hole. That won’t happen again, but I’d love it if you could resend what might have vanished. Hate to lose something precious. (posted 3/27/03 4:47 p.m.)
******p> Daniel Patrick Moynihan, RIP (3/27/03 3:09 a.m.) br> Younger Americans may not know that Daniel Patrick Moynihan, the longtime Democratic senator from New York who declined to run for re-election in 2000 and thus made way for Hillary Clinton, was a conservative hero of the first order. Not only because of his service in the Nixon White House or his longtime friendships and intellectual bonds with leading neoconservatives. The first time I laid eyes on him he was skulking across a college campus in the spring of 1976, hoping not to be noticed. Perhaps because he had been noticed as never before in the previous year, which brings me back to his status among conservatives. In 1975 President Ford named him U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. Of a sudden, America never had a more eloquent or defiant defender, at a time — post-OPEC’s rise, post-Nixon’s ouster, post-defeat in Vietnam — when it really needed one. Before that increasingly pro-Soviet, Third Worldish, nonaligned body, Moynihan spoke for civilization. Progressives and home and abroad have never forgiven him. That’s how there are. And he was something else. /p>
In early 1976, The American Spectator devoted its cover to “The Importance of Moynihan,” calling his ambassadorial tenure a “Happy Hour at the United Nations.” In a memo to Spectator editor Bob Tyrrell published in that issue, Leonard Garment, Moynihan’s counselor at the UN, described his boss from the inside:
“You’ll remember that before he was appointed he published an article in Commentary (March 1975) called ‘The United States in Opposition’ where he declared his hope that the American United Nations spokesman would come to be ‘feared for the truths he might tell’ and would ‘shout to the heavens’ the case for liberty. He didn’t change his mind after his appointment. When I came to work for him last August, he laid out his general plan of action in these terms: Let’s not worry about getting fired. As a matter of fact, let’s try in a responsible way to get fired. That’s the only hope we have of doing a few useful things while we are here.
“As a consequence, he was cheerfully loose in the job. His lack of concern about guarding his tongue or position was put on public display at 9:45 a.m. every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, when he presided over a meeting of the United States delegation members, staff officers, and secretaries, lecturing on the United Nations’ follies of the moment, inviting information and disagreement, wisecracking, evenhandedly denouncing the ‘Stalinoid sons of bitches’ in other delegations (named), and the ‘disgraceful’ action of one or another high-ranking official in the United States Government (also named). He kept strange hours, talked to strange groups, slept fitfully, napped randomly, and did most of his own work. He wrote his own major speeches and cables. He knew precisely where he wanted to take his Mission. And he was passionate in his belief that the success in doing so depended on words — reading, writing, delivering, dissecting words….
“It has been said that Moynihan’s strategy from the start was to seek a confrontation with the Third World. The reverse is true. His intention was to challenge the totalitarian states at the level of language and ideology…”
It was a hellish time. “As you know,” Garment continues, “the spirit of the Special Session did not last long. Oil, anti-Semitism, and Soviet manipulation introduced the Zionism resolution, a lunatic inversion so identifiably evil and so perversely unpredictable in its consequences that its adoption may come to mark a point of not return for the United Nations. There was an assortment of other defeats for the West, but nothing so grotesque as this return to the language of the Nazis. Against these defeats stands the discovery that the old ideas of freedom and pride of country still have the power to move and rally and unify. And the discovery of a voice…Again, Bernard Levin’s words: ‘Mr. Moynihan has begun to sound the trumpet to end a long retreat; it sounds sweet in my ears, and I suspect that it may awaken echoes long silent in the minds of many who have almost cease to hope.’”
Not everyone appreciated Moynihan’s Mission. In the same Spectator, Peter J. Rusthoven cited Newsweek’s description of what it called “Moynihan’s Outburst.” Garry Wills called Ambassador Moynihan “an imaginative and lovable phony.” The Nation magazine called him “the wrong man, in the wrong place, at the wrong time.” Britain’s UN representative Ivor Richard, writes Rusthoven, “chastised Moynihan for ‘cowboy behavior’ and practicing the diplomacy of a ‘Wyatt Earp.’”
As Rusthoven put it, “Moynihan’s crime, in the eyes of his detractors, is precisely that he has responded too vigorously, too truthfully, too straightforwardly to the ever escalating litany of hatred and nonsense that is his daily task to confront.”
Let’s close with an example of what Moynihan said to insult the good goons of the UN:
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?