Helen Rittelmeyer digs up a quotation from Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s letters that should appeal to our readers:
My impression of Republicans, after living among them as an interested and sympathetic observer for almost two years, [is that] as a group you have almost no confidence that any serious thinker could be with you on any issue of consequence. Economists, perhaps, but few others. To a Republican a serious thinker is a liberal Democrat or a left-wing anti-democrat. I said finally that this reminded me somewhat of the situation of the English Catholics in the mid-nineteenth century. It was a demoralized church in the sense that none of the bishops really felt himself the social or intellectual equal of the Anglican establishment. They assumed the Protestants had won the theological battles, and for their part were resigned to tending to the equally undemanding religious needs of the Duke of Norfolk on the one hand, and the Liverpool Irish on the other. From time to time, however, men of great and acknowledged intellectual powers would convert to Catholicism and ask to be put to work. The bishops were at a loss to think what to do with them, and for the most part simply avoided the issue. What none knew was that they were at the beginning, not the end of a process. Triumphant Protestantism had just about run out of intellectual and spiritual authority. England was becoming dechurched. In the century that was to follow English Catholics were, by contrast, to be an intellectual and spiritual force of some consequence. I have, as I say, a somewhat similar feeling about this moment with respect to political ideology.
She explains that the letter comes from “a personal memo to John Ehrlichman while DPM was working in the Nixon White House, midway through their first term.”