Magazine article Risk Management

We the People

Magazine article Risk Management

We the People

Article excerpt

Daniel Patrick Moynihan, former New York Senator, presidential advisor and academic, passed away this past March. He left a legacy as the ultimate statesman dedicated to the government of the United States. His accomplishments and drives were punctuated by an insatiable curiosity, practical intelligence and Irish wit.

He was an astute observer of life and history who was guided by the theme of "what we have learned from the past." He was also governed by honesty. "Everyone is entitled to his own opinion," he once said, "but not his own facts." He was a man of ideas, not partisan politics.

Even those who may not have agreed with his positions honored his capabilities. During Moynihan's tenure in the Senate, John Tower, the ultraconservative Republican from Texas, when asked who the three most intelligent senators were, responded: "Pat Moynihan, Pat Moynihan, Pat Moynihan."

The accolades for Moynihan reported after his death mirrored those made during his life (though he also managed to anger both sides of the political spectrum during his career). In 1993 and again this March, writer Michael Barone noted that he was "the nation's best thinker among politicians since Lincoln and its best politician among thinkers since Jefferson." His senatorial successor, Hillary Rodham Clinton, announced his death in the Capitol: "We have lost a great American, an extraordinary senator, an intellectual and a man of passion and understanding for what really makes the country work."

Moynihan was always aware of the duty of a politician-to serve the citizens. A family visiting the Capitol happened upon Moynihan as he stepped into their elevator. …

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