Category: Archive

Editorial Moynihan rides out

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

New York Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan takes leave of Congress this week, though probably not public life in the broader sense of the term.

Like or dislike the man, it is clearly impossible to ignore Moynihan’s contribution to, and presence in, American public life over the last four decades.

For many with a deep interest in politics, Moynihan’s departure is not so much an end of an era so much as the man was an era in himself. From a purely Irish-American standpoint, it is evident that one of the most influential Washington legislators of the last quarter century is making his exit.

Moynihan, a Democrat, was sometimes criticized by Irish Americans for his positions, sometimes criticized for not taking a position at all. But Moynihan’s view, no matter which way it went, could never be ignored or taken lightly.

Though clearly no friend of Gerry Adams and Sinn Féin, Moynihan’s eventual acceptance of the need for an Adams visa was a crucial step in the process that opened America’s door to a broader perspective on the problems in Northern Ireland.

Moynihan, of course, was one of the so-called "Four Horsemen," the other three being Tip O’Neill, Hugh Carey and Ted Kennedy. With O’Neill deceased and Moynihan joining Carey in political retirement, it falls to Kennedy to maintain the active political link with a period when Northern Ireland boiled over the brim of the U.S. frontier and landed hard and heavy at the door of Congress.

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That Congress is a lesser place minus Daniel Patrick Moynihan. But his legacy will be evident there for quite some time. We wish the senator well in all his future endeavors.

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