Today is the 100th Anniversary of the birth of Hubert H. Humphrey–Strongest supporter of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal, Co Founder of the Democratic Farmer Labor Party of Minnesota, Mayor of Minneapolis, Promoter of the Civil Rights Movement, Co Founder of the Americans For Democratic Action political organization, Senator from Minnesota, Presidential candidate in 1960, Vice President under Lyndon B. Johnson, Presidential nominee in 1968, Senator from Minnesota again, advocate of many government programs including Medicare, education, Peace Corps, and over 300 other laws–and a man who was the political hero and icon of the author as a young man, and helped to shape the author’s views and ideas on politics and government!
Humphrey inspired many people with his infectious enthusiasm for government activism and decency, but lost a lot of support when he supported Lyndon Johnson on Vietnam policy during his term as Vice President, believing loyalty was essential, despite private doubts about the policy being pursued in Vietnam.
Because of that war, Humphrey led a divided party in 1968, and could not continue the Great Society programs of Johnson, and he was called all kinds of terrible epithets, rather than the long held name he loved, the “Happy Warrior”!
When Humphrey died in 1978, the author wept, and wondered why this wonderful man had been taken from us at the young age of 66 by cancer, while Ronald Reagan, born the same year, would go on to become President and promote programs that in many ways are the center of the troubles we have today in our economy and foreign policy. Not that the author ever wished harm on Reagan, but he has always wondered why Humphrey had to be taken from us at such an early age, instead of contributing to the political debate of the future!
So on this centennial anniversary of the birth of this giant figure in American history, let us honor his memory and dedicate ourselves to the revival of his vision and insights!