Skip to main content

tv   Arnold Offner Hubert Humphrey  CSPAN  September 23, 2018 12:00am-1:11am EDT

12:00 am
his office with my in-laws and he said how is everything going at parris island even though i was briefed i leaned over to say everything is amazing you should see what we are the rifle range we are ready for when the ban is lifted and he leaned forward and said oh no. we are not ready for that. so the alarm started to go off i think we are ahead of the power curve. >> one statement said chapter two the marine corps leadership did not want them in the infantry and that delete branch with physical fitness and leadership as i was showing that they could this is why i was fired. >> direct and to the point.
12:01 am
>> it is a combination of convergence of events but it has to do with the way women are perceived as strong and aggressive leaders. with a small slice of the population and with women comprising less than 9 percent there are not that many lieutenant colonel's. the 17 years i'm on active duty to make change happen, and i am seen as mean and abusive that is the justification they used to fire me that i was too hard on the recruits >> good afternoon on behalf of
12:02 am
the entire staff welcome to politics and prose. hubert humphrey and the conscience of the country is the new book. please bear with me as i cover general housekeeping notes. please silence your cell phone. professor will speak for 30 minutes then there will be time for questions and answers afterwards he will sign books copies of hubert humphrey are available for purchase behind the cash register. today's event is recorded by c-span so please come to one of the microphones and speak clearly. also remember keep your questions brief and make sure
12:03 am
they take the form of a question we have another event later today it is not necessary to fold up your chairs you are off the hook. you hope - - we hope you have a chance to check out our two new locations. the latest october of last year than union market in july. let us know if you have questions or comments. t-letter 16 emeritus professor of history at lafayette college specializing in 20th century american politics and foreign policy in addition to his new book the author of three other books with president truman and the cold war's new book has instantly
12:04 am
become the definitive biography of hubert humphrey based on extensive research it uncovers details of his political life and explains why he is one of the great liberal leaders of postwar american politics. the book has received outstanding reviews including president jimmy carter, walter mondale and brinkley who in particular calls in a groundbreaking study of a political giant to declare that every page crackles with eye-opening research please join me to welcome professor author. [applause]
12:05 am
>> thank you all of you for coming to hear about hubert humphrey a truly significant political figure far too little has been known but too much has been written. but tip o'neill the legendary speaker of the house from massachusetts called humphrey the most generated liberal the nation has ever produced. he told them not to receptive senate in 1957 i'm sorry i am not more liberal. in the 1000 senate staffers voted hubert humphrey the most effective legislator of the 20th century. undoubtedly he should have been elected president 1968
12:06 am
but it is my contention he would have been had it not been for lyndon johnson's undermining of the presidential campaign. saw with a quick biographic sketch with regard to humphrey's life herbert humphrey was born 1911 a pharmacist born in wallace south dakota population 200 people, his father was a pharmacist who constantly brought a law to market and with 500 people before the pharmacy finally collapsed and he had to sell out to walgreens and the end of the
12:07 am
family business. but humphrey himself went to the university of minnesota as an undergrad and had to leave after a couple of years due to finances took a crash course in pharmacy helped his father then went back to minnesota to get his undergraduate degree in political science where he blossomed as a student and as a thinker among others as his teacher and political advisor with someone named efron kirkpatrick and also the husband of jean kirkpatrick that ended up in the administration of ronald reagan. in any event and then went off
12:08 am
to seek his masters degree at louisiana state university. and while in new orleans he turned to civil rights but what struck him most had no contact with african-americans either in south dakota or minnesota where the population was less than 1 percent but in new orleans where white and colored signs jarred his sensibilities also that white people lived in neatly painted houses african-americans lived in shacks near open sewer lines and humphrey wrote his civil rights interest turned
12:09 am
to flesh and blood and continued the rest of his life. returning to minnesota to seek a phd lid long - - left midcourse and went to work for the worker education program in minnesota during the second world war and there he came in contact with the tough living conditions of people working in the north of minnesota. but eventually because he is a very good speaker and twice on the second term and to look at the corrupt play police force to get rid of organized crime
12:10 am
but also the capital of anti- semitism in the united states working with democratic politicians with the machine politicians and the more radical labor groups that had a profound influence on american politics from the middle 19 forties through the late sixties. humphrey made the first national market 1948 running for the united states senate for the first time. at that democratic convention that despite the threats from the truman white house and the senior democrats the career would be ended before it was started if you went ahead with the plan to introduce the
12:11 am
civil rights. he did so despite the threats to put his career to an end i may go from mayor of minneapolis to oblivion. he pushed through the minority plank with the civil rights program that became the democratic party's agenda and through the present day and the effort that did that to cause those southern democrats but it also energized the very lackluster campaign to provide the basis with the crucial big cities and big states allowing for that stunning upset of do
12:12 am
we 1948. humphrey also won his senate race and the first of five times he would be elected to the united states senate from minnesota in addition to vice president in 1964. humphrey's first years in the senate were terrible. he was lonely, broke and bitter the southern oligarchs and the powerful southerners in congress forever with a one-party south ostracized him and made fun of him and pushed him aside on every committee because of his stance on civil rights. despite that, once he recovered began to push through legislation unmatched by any senator or congressman
12:13 am
in the 20th century going back to the days of henry clay. in 1949 humphrey introduced legislation for national health insurance he ran on the slogan of healthcare for all. 1949 and to push legislation with healthcare with the national government to show you how far ahead to introduce legislation with appropriation for what he called consumer cooperatives which today we would call hmo to prepay in advance or to provide extra money to those real regions where those facilities will
12:14 am
try to get there to join up but that truman administration was preoccupied letting it go by the wayside. so humphrey pushed through public law which was the sale of agricultural produce to nations in need and became known as the senator from india. pushing through the first civil rights act since reconstruction there hadn't been the civil rights act from the time post civil war reconstruction until three push through 1957 the first civil rights act making it ill legal is a federal offense interfering with the right to vote. although robert caro gives
12:15 am
credit to johnson it was humphrey who push that through. 1961 and to push through the peace program. and the first time in american history to set up a body to think of nuclear weapons and that was the foundation for the peace corps with the limited nuclear test ban treaty that kennedy said this is your treaty a better work also opening the way to the agreements of the seventies that limited those anti-
12:16 am
ballistic missiles and nuclear arrangements and pushing through the job corps and in 1964 pushing through that civil rights bill with public accommodations and workplace employment and an discrimination based on race religion or nationality or sex. it was historic legislation to lay those civil rights laws and the fair housing act. while the civil rights act was the historic measure to break that filibuster he mastered all 11 titles and withstood
12:17 am
the challenges on this point or that point door the constitutionality it was a historic achievement with the civil rights fair housing act and just to point out the importance of that is the single most important asset anyone owns is their home.
12:18 am
which is underestimated but it is crucial with neighborhoods in school districts. returning to the senate in 1978 pushed through with the african-american representative from california the so-called hawkins full employment that did two things. it attempted to make a job available to call on the government to call them full employment. it was a legal right to a job and to secure a government program that you could sue for such a job. it was water down in the congress and they made all the goals not mandates but what to
12:19 am
aspire to to take the onus off the federal government so humphrey was the first senator to propose the curb of the sale of weapons coming to the conclusion that with the government choosing them against their own people. it is very clear that humphrey's legislative agenda outstripped anybody in the 20th century. so that is best summarized and the words he spoke at the 1976 democratic convention that was inscribed on the entry wall renamed for humphrey with the
12:20 am
federal building to be named for a liberal american the words say the ultimate test of any government is the way we treat three groups of citizens. first those in the dawn of life second in the shadow of life our sick and handicapped and third those in the twilight of life that includes some of us. humphrey not only had a legislative agenda but a great promoter of protége. jean mccarthy in the 1948
12:21 am
senate campaign, orval freeman the three term governor of minnesota and secretary of agriculture and walter mondale and senate vice presidential candidate and george mcgovern with a presidential candidate. so what can i say it is the nations lost as a supporting
12:22 am
the marshall plan and the truman doctrine and intervention in korea and the support for the french and to engineer the bay of pigs and adamant in your support for the cuban missile crisis and to support the vietnam policy of the united states. that politicians do with dow jones mccarthy although if we recall and also margaret chase smith. and to vote for the mccarran
12:23 am
internal security act to force people in the communist party to register but eventually that was ruled unconstitutional and with that 1954 communist control act to force members to register and humphrey admitted that he failed the moral test. so he also struggled for the presidency when he ran in the primaries against kennedy and to lack the charisma and all the rest versus kennedy who has no legislative record to speak of losing out to kennedy.
12:24 am
that taught him a lesson that many followed after losing to kennedy the only route to the presidency was through the vice presidency which was familiar among politicians. after kennedy's assassination i want to go for the vice presidency under johnson one warned him and said if you do lbj will cut your genitalia. using a less polite word. but not only humphrey bobby kart - - bobby kennedy wanted
12:25 am
it and mccarthy thought it would be his. while it was opportunistic so did almost everybody else who had their eye on the white house. the problem was lbj said he wanted unswerving loyalty that i want his picker in my pocket i'm sorry. that's how they talked. humphrey was a brilliant campaigner to make goldwater seen the lake the extremist and and johnson campaigned then came to the white house.
12:26 am
not long after he began to plan major bombing attacks on vietnam. and thinking that is a bad idea getting together at the time went over to head that research division and just as johnson was about to give the green light that is the start of b-52 bombing north vietnam
12:27 am
and that memorandum said the public will not support a war that doesn't have an overarching reason. the korean war demonstrated the limits and then you will fracture the great society political coalition first it will come from the liberals. and the best time to negotiate is now after this overwhelming victory over goldwater after a no more war platform as the shrewdest wheeler dealer in town with the best deal possible. instead of taking that under advice, johnson concluded humphrey was paving the way for release of this memo and
12:28 am
to be exonerated into exile humphrey from the white house he cut him off from all advice and statutory seat on the national security conference long - - counsel and basically isolated him. truth be told humphrey could not take the personal humiliation. he felt isolated, a pariah, cabinet officers did not return phone calls, badly treated by the staff so he began mind over matter the basis for the vietnam war to justify supporting the war. basically determined the
12:29 am
united states was fighting two wars to defeat aggression and those sponsoring the north vietnamese. in that great society to south vietnam. that is the argument and with those liberals who felt he abandoned their courses. but to give to the idea and johnson himself that they cannot meet the general west moreland desire for 200,000 troops and then it was unwinnable.
12:30 am
but in 1968 to announce i shall not seek or accept my party's nomination for president except it was a lie. he did not mean that. he would work for the next month secretly with richard daley, the mayor of chicago where the convention would be held to plan a second day appearance which would steamroll the draft movement. put that aside. that mccarthy came close to beating him then kennedy entered the race and he was the leading candidate when he won the california primary but tragically he was assassinated the same night which took him out of the race and left at
12:31 am
open field and also created a bigger problem for him. and johnson's mortal fear to be succeeded in the presidency always known as the president broke ended to leave johnson open to criticize more than ever before from the campaign. and to move apart for me and also met with nixon the day after and nixon told him if lbj did not but nixon would
12:32 am
not criticize him and his policy. and agreed not to call for bombing and leaving humphrey out in the cold. cannot push for a more moderate policy because it runs counter to democratic policy and that is just where he wants jensen. and also wrote at the time that he thought johnson in his heart of hearts would repeat over and again does lbj really
12:33 am
want humphrey to win the election? >> the answer is obvious. he controlled the prevention or the platform that the humphrey people were pushing and the uplink to tell the president feels the troops are safe and with the means to get it started. and refused all funds from the dnc. and told the texas donors not to contribute to the humphrey campaign.
12:34 am
and with all of the telephone calls with nixon on the line, humphrey and george wallace. and in short he elevated everybody to the same status as humphrey during the campaign. and in early september said the troops could begin returning in 1969 to address the american legion no man can predict when the troops come home to throw them off balance that everything i say will be shadowed by lbj. and sent the reverend billy
12:35 am
graham gave him a long message that basically said if i'm elected i will never embarrass lbj you will get your rightful place in history and i will give you major credit. he was taken in and lived in fear he was afraid of him but thought he had to appease him and it blocked humphrey. when johnson made his calls to the candidates he paroled three people on the line but late in the campaign there
12:36 am
were rumors creeping out the nixon campaign was cooperating with a very well-known republican donor. the wife of a general of world war ii because he commanded the so-called flying tigers defending china against japan and was working with the ambassador the south vietnamese ambassador in the united states to get the south vietnamese not to come to any negotiations but to prolong the war past the date of the election. johnson began to get word of this nixon said no i would never do anything like that.
12:37 am
and without challenging him and finally with the negotiations underway in the north vietnamese got underway to be at the negotiating table , johnson ruled that out so just three days before the election it seems like i'm trying to help hubert win the election and he wrote i do not want to help them the soviet union and north vietnam put over a man like humphrey who has an attitude toward us. the south vietnamese and the others are voting for a man they see will stick with it. nixon. johnson also got word october 28 from fbi cia wiretaps that nixon was in fact not only telling the south vietnamese
12:38 am
about negotiations but also they would get a better deal from him with the north vietnamese. they just sent the conduit to say you are playing dirty pool. cut it out. eventually october 31st he got word and called up dirksen and said what nixon was doing and this is treason and dirksen responded to say i know. lbj did nothing about it or demand that nixon do anything and he called him the next day and said i would never do any third one - - anything to slow
12:39 am
negotiations but when humphrey was briefed by the assistant secretary about what the nixon campaign was doing, humphrey new it was too late there was nothing he could do and when johnson told him we've got it on tape but i don't have hard proof that he knew what he was telling him that if you say anything i will not give you the tapes and anything humphrey would say would be regarded as a desperation move. so long story short november 5th nixon wins the election by less than three quarters of 1 percent he won the electoral college to humphrey's 191 and
12:40 am
to win two of those the election would go to the electoral college i'm sorry to congress and state-by-state votes and if humphrey could have prevailed in that sense is questionable because wallace 15 southern states but in short he won the election by a narrow margin of white working-class the n-letter young into the un- poor and to the black. and to act differently but probably should have been
12:41 am
tougher with johnson if not at the convention sooner than he did late september but to be frank, too much the elder son could not break as he was a powerful and a vengeful figure that one has to say to defy the party elders maybe he was clue too close to power and to betray the democratic party in the nation and as well as his own request for revered status to deprive the nation as the
12:42 am
most all warts proponent to help nixon meant to seven more years of war in the beginning of the death of the great society to open the way but his role was not overcoming back to the senate when humphrey took it to push national health insurance to rebuild state and local facilities automatic voter registration and the full employment bill. carter's greatest ally in the senate. crucial in allowing for the panama canal treaty to go through with barry goldwater
12:43 am
was stalling the treaty in 1977, humphrey calls goldwater asking him to call off the hawks and goldwater said only for you and they got the necessary votes. he made a literal deathbed letter january 78 a few days before he died pleading to heed carter's call for the conference in washington. he supported throughout his time in the senate the strategic arms limitation talks the abm talks and every proposal to limit the vietnam war and spending and also sad about that vietnam war he doesn't think that people will forgive him for supporting that war and he wrote i'm not
12:44 am
sure i can forgive myself. finally he wrote at the collapse of south vietnam in 1975, no outsider force can save the country that lacks the will of political leadership. we have learned there are not american answers for every problem in the world we make judgments about that part of the world based on our experience in europe as a world power with half a world of knowledge. it is clear there is blame for all of us and i include myself. and finally he wrote, he wished americans would talk less about the nation's destiny. be rid of the great nations cultural myopia of power in cultural imperialism. when he died
12:45 am
january 78, walter mondale said he was the conscience of the country and jimmy carter said from time to time our nation is blessed by the presence of men and women who bear the mark of greatness and help us to see a better vision of what we can become. hubert humphrey was such a man. that is another story and i have try to tell that in my book. thank you. [applause] >> i wrote my masters thesis on natalie stevens. and the convention to draft
12:46 am
stevens but hubert humphrey was called and he was asked to nominate adlai stevenson at the convention and humphrey told him. that would look sour grapes among the kennedy people. i was defeated in west virginia. so he was the one who suggested eugene mccarthy. who gave the best speech at that convention. so my question deals with the convention itself. humphrey and the stevenson people allegedly the johnson people i have a hunch that johnson may have been vying for the vice presidency all
12:47 am
along. he entered the race one week before the convention as you point out in the book. that johnson was a master of parliamentary procedure and there was an effort to adjourn the convention after the stevenson people packed the galleries. they wanted to postpone the vote until the following evening that key vote was on wednesday but clarence cannon a parliamentarian at the convention first ruled that governor loveless and iowa lung - - in iowa had to be favorite. >> so what is the question crack. >> do you think the kennedy people controlled the
12:48 am
convention in 1960 crack. >> i don't know if they controlled it but they had hell of a lot of influence with their people at work. it is one heck of a battle to get the nomination but he knew that because of the stevenson people and roosevelt people but they had the influence of power and the votes jean mccarthy did make a brilliant speech but the kennedy people had the votes and they could get it and johnson could get vice president but also because sam rayburn and company said he will do it. that was that. >> going up on pennsylvania
12:49 am
avenue during the kennedy johnson years. we got so much notoriety during the great society and not to take too much time but with that balance and. >> almost everything in the works it was proposed in one form or another and as long as it took and to go out there to press people to go on and on and within the great society
12:50 am
was part of her program. and with that democratic landslide was crucial to get the great society of legislation through. that was because of the democratic majority and johnson was pretty persuasive. he was a master legislator with his own fbi. he would call them in to say mrs. so-and-so would be interested to know we were on that cruise with last night. do you want to reconsider your vote? >>. >> being president of the senate was that a big deal?
12:51 am
>>. >> you preside over the senate to have influence but not like the majority leader. but his influence was there. >> i read that humphrey did have information about that and confronted nixon with a conversation with nixon to assure him and that what is conflated that which nixon said i would with the saigon to come to the negotiating
12:52 am
place between johnson and nixon humphrey did not know about this and when johnson told him i have no hard proof or the fbi or the south vietnamese ambassador and they have tapes on the president's office of south vietnam. johnson made clear he would not be given copies of the tapes. they would say where is your proof? >> but no such conversation took place between humphrey and nixon and johnson of what
12:53 am
nixon was doing and he denied. >> thank you for clarifying that. >> since i haven't read your book but i have to ask you came across something in yours research you said he was ostracized and isolated by the senate leaders but you did mention the fact that goldwater had sufficient defection - - affection for him but you will find there was a substantial movement like that that took place among the people that were previously who ostracized him in the 64 campaign for vice president he worked as a speechwriter and was told to come to a room at the senate
12:54 am
office building it would be taking place until midnight every night but there was no sign later he found out it was the eastland office he had given to work on the campaign but they were close friends. >> they were. what is interesting about humphrey because he was such a likable person and so amiable that actually johnson began to introduce him to some of the southern leaders in particular his own mentor richard russell. and he is to invite humphrey to come down and say by the way dick russell will be here come by the office and after a while he said to johnson why am i getting to like hubert so much? >> this is bothering me. [laughter]
12:55 am
when he took charge of the 64 civil rights bill johnson said the liberals will never get it through he broke a 75 day filibuster and stood there not only took challenging questions but insults from the southerners coming down to speak where he was standing and fended it off and never lost his temper. he was never angry. he took their arguments discussed it and then his famous slogan which johnson adopte adopted, come now and let us reason together.
12:56 am
that's what he did and barry goldwater learned to love him when he said to him call off his dogs on the panama canal he said only for you hubert. any other questions? >> i thought everybody was convinced. >> i'm looking forward to reading this. what kind of a relationship did humphrey and johnson have after the election? >> did he express regret? >>. >> johnson never expressed regret about anything. that was not in his repertoire. it was okay when they open the johnson library humphrey came and spoke talking about a great civil rights proponent
12:57 am
it was a cool relationship humphrey new he was stabbed in the back and undercut and undermined. but he was forgiving and lbj was lbj. >> thank you for this book. so what do you think is the major reason johnson didn't want humphrey to be president crack. >> vietnam you cannot put over a man like this he was afraid humphrey would end the war sooner than nixon was pursuing the hard-line. who on the current political scene is most like hubert humphrey if anyone? >>.
12:58 am
>> i don't know if anyone is amiable but there are some on the political scene. i come from massachusetts my candidate is elizabeth warren but that will raise hackles even amongst my friends. including the past president of lafayette college who tolerated me talking about health insurance but there is nobody on the current scene. in fact this gets into another realm but nobody in the democratic party who stands as a national leader at present unfortunately there are some very good people like jeff merkley but there isn't anybody with the dynamism to replace the hubert humphrey.
12:59 am
we could use him badly now. >> ideologically apart from personality? >>. >> maybe warren. kamala harris in california. there are a few. but nobody is systematic or thoughtful. that may save more of the state of american politics than the democratic party in particular. >> in the republican party? >> [laughter] >> considering his amiable personality what kind of a president do you think humphrey would have been? >> leaving out vietnam for the moment and serving as
1:00 am
president and reasoning together turning him into an offensive president crack. >> i think he would have been very effective in the same way he galvanized people to vote for the legislation he wanted to push through it would be difficult and long and hard but the country shifted by 68 but his willingness to entertain arguments and debate and seek compromise he has a chapter in the book coining the phrase compromise - - compromise is not a dirty word. he meant leaving the other side with enough so when they walk away they don't feel they are horns while gold or left out in the cold.
1:01 am
in the same way he got to the 64 civil rights act. humphrey would entertain endless conversation and he never gave in and after 75 days it collapsed and he got the bill. he would have been very effective. >> impressed with his dedication to civil rights that stems often from the influence of a parent were either a source? >>. >> his father was a major influence.
1:02 am
he was an old-fashioned democrat whose heroes were jefferson william jennings bryan and the good woodrow wilson before we uncovered his racism he used to read him books night after night a book lover and buyer and reader to his kids. his mother who he never mentions in any of his writings was a stern lutheran and is humphrey's father used to say to the kids mother is politically unreliable. [laughter] that was his expression for the mother. unfortunately for humphrey his father was a profound influence in his life died in 1949 right after he came to the senate.
1:03 am
that was the loss of somebody very important to him. that's when he said of my father was alive he could have canceled me. long - - counseled me. he wrote a piece called my father. with his mother he mentions her and that is it. and used to play with african-american road workers when his mother found out what she was doing she made him stop.
1:04 am
>> we are out of time for questions. really quick and then one more. >> your talk brought back memories but my friends were so disappointed on the vietnam issue. if it's a human characteristic to be in the twenties and thirties but johnson lost some
1:05 am
of his via long - - backbone on the vietnam issue. >> the short answer to that is yes. and i think you do lose some of that. i say better in the book that in 48 if he had come out on the wrong end of the decision to push civil rights. and in 68 he did not so your question is a great deal of answer of truth to itself. [applause]
1:06 am
's b5's b5's b5 >> john and i were flying to kuwait we didn't know very long - - each other very well so you are set by seniority we had a conversation into the night about his family and his time as a prisoner and wanted to learn more about what happened and how we thought and what it was like and we pledge to each other right then that the country was still too divided we needed to
1:07 am
make peace at home also all of that gets to us. i don't know if it's the tip of the spear but the center of the funnel. they follow the orders going from the democratic leadership to hollywood in the science community it is a self-fulfilling snake eating its own tail. but the media is the center point that is the easiest conduit despite your organization they are trusted
1:08 am
by people inherently. republican or democratic strategist they must know what they are doing because they are on tv surely they would have vetted them but there was no such job i have looked it seems all you do is talk about on tv but you begin to realize that you look good on tv and you convey that message and play along and it is kabuki theater it isn't brainwashing not done for nefarious purposes all the time but for convenience and laziness this is what we need this person will do it. snap it together because we need journalism. >> you are not too fond of contributors on television. >> no?
1:09 am
>>. >> i work with the heritage foundation right out of college. when there was an issue on capitol hill like the healthcare modernization act my boss made a beeline to the studios cnn and msnbc and fox all the policy analysts were over there because they let read the legislation and they knew this. somewhere that stopped now here is a guy we had on yesterday talking about russian collusion now talk about prescription drugs tomorrow it will be something else so now expertise is shut out for convenience. i get it if you have somebody really good on the issue you want to lock them down to stop
1:10 am
your competitors from getting them after all but now they weigh in on everything with no expertise if you watch from one day to another they weigh in on wildly different things it is hard enough to become an expert on one or two but everything international relations and international law? >> the border? >> how do you have time to do all this? >> they don't but they are booked ahead of time three days you will come on at this time we will tell you the topic. >> you are giving away secrets. [laughter] >> but it bothers me. there are experts in this town and people who know their stuff you can disagree with their conclusions but not their fax and they are not getting it that path is grown over because now they're not coming from the experts but people were easyge


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on