We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
One journal entry tells us that he turned down a job at the University of Chicago lest Saul Bellow and the sociologist Edward Shilsóboth of whom taught thereódiscover that he was not as smart as they thought he was.
I love that humility from a politician. Readers know that I do not view poltics as a career: I like to view it as a temporary public service for care of country. However, I do understand that these people want jobs with good benefits. Who doesn't enjoy freebies with a job without heavy lifting?
I've always been a Moynihan fan since the days my ex Harvard gov't prof friend would tell me stories of Pat when he was at Harvard-M.I.T. Joint Center For Urban Affairs in the late '60's, early 70's (if I recall correctly). My fave Moynihan saying was when he called a Clinton program advocating midnight basketball "More boob bait for the bubbas." That one still makes me laugh whenever I think of it.
Pat did not suffer fools gladly and often was unable to veil his contempt for certain people and ideas he thought wrongheaded. I thought he was the genuine article, a public servant who would put his country's interest ahead of partisan politics.
I am reading Tony Blair's memoirs now and find Tony to be a thoroughly decent human being of the highest character. This is the kind of person I want as a leader: Character does matter, in fact, in a leader it is everything.
My comment had dick to do with Pat Moynihan, It was about what is and isn't humility. The story, endearing as it may be, is not an example of humility. It's an example of vanity.
If someone can explain to me how he was being HUMBLE in not taking that job as opposed to protecting his own ego, I would really appreciate it. Perhaps he worshiped those two to such a great extent, that he couldn't bear the thought of ruining the image of him they had imagined. I somehow doubt that was the impetus behind his decision.
I, too, admired Moynihan, especially when he was our representative to the UN.
However, all that was destroyed when he ushered in the notorious Senator Clinton.
One of his last acts really tarnished anything else he accomplished.
Chu, is it possible that Mr. Moynihan was enjoying a bit of wit, dry humour, or even self-effacement?
Though you take umbrage at him not taking the job, I am uncertain as to why anyone should have to explain it to you, or want to take the time to do so.
J, While I agree with you that Madame Hillary tarnishes everything she touches, I do not think that any involvement Mr. Moynihan had with Madame Hillary should be viewed as tarnishing all past accomplishments of Mr. Moynihan. After all, 'tis only human to have an occasional lapse of judgement.
Those guys --Bellow and Moynihan and the type --were really good to have around, agree with them or not. Bellows' Herzog is a great book to read if going through a divorce --he winkles out every last miserable aspect of it --and somehow makes it greatly interesting, if in a slow-mo self-engineered train-wreck sort of way. Sort of a miracle of writing, really, the way he makes the human being large and meaningful, against forces doing everything to do the very opposite.
J ... In regard to 'Madam Hillary' and her winning of the Senate seat in Moynihan's area, he was pretty old and sick at that time, and knew his time was short. But the video of the two shows that he was paying lip-service only to a member of his party. I looked at it and said to myself, "This poor man will be departing this world soon, and he's not happy to be leaving it in the hands of a person like Hillary."
Sorry for being late to this but there is a clear and simple remedy for the plague of life-long, career politicians. The "profession" of politician should be considered as the same as a call for jury duty. While it would be tempting to send out "summons" for participation in local, state and nation legislative bodies (who btw would elect the executives to manage the bureaucracies and the executives would be subject to term cancellation upon the will of the legislature), I guess I would issue public announcements for volunteers interested in serving a term in a municipal board, state legislature, or Congress one year prior to the election. Each volunteer would then be required to obtain x thousand signatures of support within a designated period of time. A primary would be held say one month after the petitions were reviewed and qualified. The top 2 or even three, or even all candidates who received at least 30% of the vote, would be listed on the election ballot. Each candidate would then produce one 30 minute video for placement in the media and accompanying written "policy statements" every two weeks during the six weeks prior to the election. Three public debates would be held and broadcast on internet and television, also every 2 weeks during this run up period. The ONLY other permissible print or media campaigning would be based on independent reporting on or attendance at rallies open to the public. All the campaign expenditures and contributions would be published in real time at a designated web site and audited also in real time. Failure to comply would result in civil and criminal consequences. The next election period would be conducted in this same manner, with offices open to all citizens EXCEPT the previous incumbents. Just sayin'.