A Beautiful Mind by George F. Will

George F. Will, “A Beautiful Mind,” The Washington Post, March 27, 2003


Many of America’s largest public careers have been those of presidents. Many, but by no means all. Chief Justice John Marshall was more consequential than all but two presidents — Washington and Lincoln. Among 20th-century public servants, Gen. George Marshall — whose many achievements included discerning the talents of a Col. Eisenhower — may have been second in importance only to Franklin Roosevelt. And no 20th-century public career was as many-faceted, and involved so much prescience about as many matters, as that of Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who died yesterday at 76.

He was born in Tulsa but spent his formative years on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, from which he rose to Harvard’s faculty and the administrations of Presidents Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon and Ford, serving as, among other things, ambassador to India and the U.S. representative at the United Nations. Then four Senate terms. Along the way he wrote more books than some of his colleagues read and became something that, like Atlantis, is rumored to have once existed but has not recently been seen — the Democratic Party’s mind.

The Washington Post