Daniel Patrick Moynihan (1927-2003) was elected New York senator in 1976. On March 1, 1976, Moynihan endorsed Henry M. “Scoop” Jackson, a Washington senator, for the Democrat nomination for president. The next day’s New York (NY) Times quoted Moynihan’s praise for Jackson: “The most exciting thing you encounter in government is competence, because it’s so rare. This man [Mr. Jackson] knows his business.”
The quotation has been recorded in quotation collections, often incorrectly as “the single most exciting thing.” Montana Senator Max Baucus used the quotation to praise Moynihan in 2000, as Moynihan retired from the U.S. Senate.
Wikipedia: Daniel Patrick Moynihan
Daniel Patrick “Pat” Moynihan (March 16, 1927 – March 26, 2003) was an American politician and sociologist. A member of the Democratic Party, he was first elected to the United States Senate for New York in 1976, and was re-elected 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 the United States’ ambassador to the United Nations and to India, and was a member of four successive presidential administrations, beginning with the administration of John F. Kennedy, and continuing through Gerald Ford.
Wikipedia; Henry M. Jackson
Henry Martin “Scoop” Jackson (May 31, 1912 – September 1, 1983) was a U.S. Congressman and Senator from the state of Washington from 1941 until his death. Jackson was an unsuccessful candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1972 and 1976.
As a Cold War anti-Communist Democrat, Jackson’s political philosophies and positions have been cited as an influence on a number of key figures associated with neoconservatism, including Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Perle. The Henry Jackson Society is named in his honor.
Jackson died suddenly at the age of 71 in Everett of an aortic aneurysm, shortly after giving a news conference condemning the Soviet attack on Korean Air Lines Flight 007. News reports showed video of Jackson in which he was seen reflexively massaging the left side of his chest while talking, and speculated that this was his reaction to an early symptom of his coming fatal attack.
He was greatly mourned; Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan stated “Henry Jackson is proof of the old belief in the Judaic tradition that at any moment in history goodness in the world is preserved by the deeds of 36 just men who do not know that this is the role the Lord has given them. Henry Jackson was one of those men.” Jackson is buried in Evergreen Cemetery in Everett.
2 March 1976, New York (NY) Times, pg. 20:
Realignment Talk Marks
Windup in Massachusetts
Democrats in Final Primary Eve Push
as Liberals Seek to Reduce Field
In an Effort to Combat Carter
By R. W. APPLE Jr.
BOSTON, March 1.
Mr. Jackson (Henry M. “Scoop” Jackson, senator from Washington—ed.), who has invested more financially in Massachusetts than any other candidate, produced the major news of the day, an endorsement from Daniel Patrick Moynihan, the recently resigned chief United States delegate to the United Nations.
‘The world’s a dangerous place,” said Mr. Moynihan, who teaches at Harvard University between government assignments, “and we need a President who’s got the stomach for it.”
When Mr. Jackson was asked whether he had recruited the witty Mr. Moynihan to counter his own reputation for dullness, Mr. Moynihan reacted with considerable asperity.
“Don’t give me that,” he told newsmen at a news conference in the Parker House Hotel. “The most exciting thing you encounter in government is competence, because it’s so rare. This man [Mr. Jackson] knows his business.”
C-SPAN Congressional Chronicle
TRIBUTE TO SENATOR DANIEL PATRICK MOYNIHAN
Text From the Congressional Record
Baucus, Max [D-MT]
Begin 2000-10-31 14:09:58
Let me conclude with a quotation from PAT. In 1976, he said: “The single most exciting thing you encounter in government is competence, because it’s so rare.” I would change that to read: “The single most exciting thing you encounter in government is greatness, because it’s so rare.” And that exciting thing, that exciting person, that greatness, for me, has been DANIEL PATRICK MOYNIHAN.
There is no higher calling than public service. PAT MOYNIHAN has been its embodiment for half a century.
We will all miss you, PAT, miss you very much.
New York City • Government/Law/Politics/Military • (0) Comments • Wednesday, December 09, 2009 • Permalink