The U.S. Senate Class of 1973; 3; Senator Hubert H. Humphrey
Why when I think that any man in public life whose workers soul is a man that looks ahead and he ought to be looking ahead at a minimum of a decade and surely a few years. This is what I'm going to try to do I believe this is what I've been trying to do and the. Time when the United States class of 1970 was done.
This year 11 the freshman five Republicans five Democrats and one conservative joined the ranks of the 100 and America's upper house of the legislative branch of government here for the national educational radio network with a profile of one of the United States senators. Is your host Bill Moroney. Humphrey's back in town after a six year hiatus the Minnesota Democrat has returned to the United States Senate and he says it feels very good. I feel very much at home. Of course like all other experiences when you've been out of house for a while you have to come back and see what how it's been rearranged.
There are changes in the Senate and changes of personalities. Structural changes in committee operation. But by and large I feel that it's a place I've been before and I've looked forward to the privilege of returning Hubert Humphrey was born on May 27 1911 in a lawless South Dakota his life patterns were shaped at an early age. His father who was a druggist was also a member of a political minority for that part of the country. He was a Wilsonian Democrat. Wilson's 14 points the charter of the League of Nations in the speeches of William Jennings Bryan were regularly read aloud to the family that oppression at the Humphreys hard. In 1929 Hubert Humphrey entered the University of Minnesota. Two years later he returned home to help out at the family drugstore where he remained until 1937 receiving a degree from the Denver College of Pharmacy in the interim. In 1939 he earned his bachelor's degree from the University of Minnesota graduating 5 beta kappa magna cum laude. He received his master's degree from Louisiana State University writing his thesis on the New Deal. He was married to
Muriel Faye Buk on September 3rd 1936 Humphries have four children. Humphrey taught political science in Louisiana and then in Minnesota between 139 in 1941 when World War Two broke out. Humphrey held many administrative posts in the government home front Halford in 1943 he ran for mayor of Minneapolis Minnesota. He lost. You were dumped he was not to lose another general election until 1968. He ran again for mayor of Minneapolis in 1945 and won and gained a reputation as a crime buster at the 1948 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia then candidate for the Senate Humphrey delivered an impassioned plea for a strong civil rights plank in that year's Democratic platform. He drove Strom Thurmond and the Dixiecrats out of the hall and ended with third party but he won the plank. In November he won his election to the Senate for the first time and Harry Truman won re-election to the presidency. I'm for a strong speech at the Philadelphia convention is credited with assisting in that victory. I'm free continued his vigorous civil rights battle in the Senate. In
1960 battle John Kennedy in the West Virginia and Wisconsin Democratic presidential primaries and lost. Giving up his presidential aspirations for the time being Humphrey back the Kennedy candidacy through victory that November in 1961 when Kennedy was sworn in as President Lyndon Johnson moved up from Senate majority leader to the vice presidency. Mike Mansfield took over a Lyndon Senate leadership post and Hubert Humphrey was elected majority whip the number two Democratic power seat in the Senate in 1964 President Johnson selected Hubert Humphrey as his running mate and on January 20th 1965 he was sworn in as vice president of the United States. Following Johnson's announcement in 68 that he would not seek re-election. Humphrey jumped back into presidential politics. In Chicago he won the Democratic nomination. In November he lost to Richard Nixon by a narrow margin so close some say had the election been held a week later Humphrey would have won. When asked two years later how he viewed that defeat for he said down hearted discouraged second
heart it's a very bitter thing to have had bad difficult think taken it leaves a feeling of depression upon you. But I knew that that isn't the way to live and you can't live in discouragement you can't live in the spirit of defeat after it yourself and you have to go back at things and go to work again. But I'd be less than honest with you if I didn't tell you that I was heartbroken. And it leaves scars and it leaves hurts injuries. But I believe that just is the human body healed so does the human spirit. Particularly if you want to it's most of it's a mental attitude. And I set to work to set myself to the task of getting some other things done. Building a new life so to speak and coming back again in political life. Humphrey says the two years he's been out of politics away from the National Law were very fruitful and very helpful to him. Well I spent my time out in my home state of Minnesota and parked at
teaching at our university the University of Minnesota where I was a professor of government and the American government field. And professor of international relations at McAllister college one of our find of colleges in the city of St. Paul. I also did a good deal of guest lecturing around the country at other colleges and universities as well as Tim's general speaking. I wrote a column syndicated column every week. On domestic and international affairs. I traveled broadly. You're in the summer months when I had some time traveling to the Far East traveling to Europe. I was in the Far East in Japan and Korea. I was in Europe. When France and the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia and then later on I took a rather extensive tour in the Middle East so I had a very busy two years away from public office.
You know it's a different life when you're out of public office when you're here in Washington particularly you're under a great deal of pressure every. Every bit of legislation seems all important every move with the government seems to be the most important thing it happens. Strangely enough when you're away it doesn't all seem that important. It may be but it doesn't quite seem so. Your life is different. Your pace of life is different. I also felt it getting out. Getting back into my home state gave me a sense of appreciation of what was developing actually in a state and in a locality much more than in Washington. Even though I traveled around a great deal as vice president I have traveled internationally and traveled domestically all through the nation. It was always a hurried trip it was always under pressure under careful scheduling. With all sorts of brief scenes and all sorts of guards around you. I went out to my home state and watched. I was able to observe the growth of new
communities actually the development of new towns to see the big to see the growth and great new colleges particularly community colleges and some of our smaller state colleges. Witness the changes that are taking place in industry actually in the living habits of people. I don't know how best to express it except that it was a new and different experience and particularly at the college level I think I did get an appreciation of some of the anxieties and the concerns of our young people. Watching them go through a period of great turbulence and emotional. But I'm an emotional person for. And then watching them settle down a good deal more and making some choices. So I think that it was a period of refreshment for me both physically and well I put it three ways. Intellectually because equally spiritually in
1970 there was an opening in the Senate. Old friend and adversary Senator Eugene McCarthy announced that he would not run for re-election from Minnesota. Humphrey jumped in and ran. Republican selected incumbent congressman Clark McGregor to run against him. I'm free was predicted a 4 to 1 favorite to win and came through on Election Day. Now back in the Senate he has already jumped head first into the business of being a United States senator once again. He commented that the important issues and the issue of importance has changed since he was last a senator. Well I think the issues are much more important and what appears to be what appears on the surface in the Senate. I believe there are great social changes taking place in our country and a people are demanding those social changes could be between the races. There is a structural change is being called for in the political parties in government in business. These things are all around us today. People are asking questions of the corporate structure of American business does it have any responsibility to the community does it
have there is it is there a need not only of paying out economic dividends but of social dividends. Students are asking questions about the investment policies of universities and colleges. In business firms they blacked out demand in their place in the sun so to speak. They want to be not only given legal equality but social equality and social and and legal opportunity. These are things that today I think are the new dimensions of political life. It isn't only that we need better housing it's need that it's a need of better communities better communities in terms of human relations of open spaces of clean air clean water quality of life is really the emphasis today not the not the quantity of good so much as the quality of life. I don't think we really sharpened this yet in the sense that we always are able to put it in legislative form.
But we're beginning to we're beginning to for example work on the the pollution of our atmosphere and of the water and the disposal of waste. This is what we call the environmental picture. But the environmental picture takes on greater dimensions it relates to the stablished of new industry. It relates to the development of our resources of our natural resources. It relates to the care of the land and they it actually relates of course to what we as human beings do. What kind of a life we live how much wasted we actually are responsible for waste in the food waste and packages waste and commodities. I think that all of these observations that I've made applied to some of the concerns which you see echoed here in the halls of Congress and they will began to take shape I believe even in legislative form and in governmental and governmental policy. Surely the emphasis upon
urban life is not new it's a sharper emphasis today with more and more people moving into what we call not just cities but metropolitan areas. The relationship between a suburb and they and the core city the inner city at one time we thought we could get away from a lot of our city problems by running to the countryside. Now we find that we can't do it at all because the. Countryside so to speak it's the same problems in many ways that the that the inner city in the core city had. So I believe that you're beginning to sense now a much more total involvement of government and the community that you have to plan broader and broader scale than you did before that you can't just be interested in the economics of a situation. You have to be interested in the social ramifications. You have to be interested in in what Whatever you do economically as to how it affects your life your living habits social environment your political environment in your total bein the standard criticism of Hubert Humphrey
always begins with great power to use for his outstanding record in social domestic civil rights and arms control legislation. And this is well-deserved. But then the charges are leveled that Hubert Humphrey is out of touch still living with the problems and solutions of the past no longer up with the times. I think I'm very much up with the times but you always have to expect your critics to say something and that's that worthwhile because that makes you. I think shape up as we say or compels you to do a little more thinking. Times change very rapidly. And I think that we all have difficulty keeping up with what we call the times. Frankly I don't want to keep up with the times I want to get ahead of the times. That's been the problem in this country we're having people trying to catch up. We need to think far ahead. We need to be thinking about what this country's going to look like 10 15 20 years from now. We need to be asking ourselves the questions as to how we're going to transport our people how we're going to communicate. I mean literally physical communication not just intellectual communication.
Twenty years from now because everything that we plan on now takes a lot of time to realize to achieve. We need to be thinking about how we're going to provide. As I said a moment a goal proper living conditions for people yet unborn for a greatly expanded population. We surely need to be asking ourselves a great deal about our educational system. It's it obviously has not been adequate. I don't mean just in numbers of teachers in classrooms but I mean in the kind of education that we've had young people today are demanding an entirely different approach to education a much more relevant as they put it approach to education to the needs of the Dane and to the prospects of tomorrow. I think that any man in public life it's worth his salt is a man that looks ahead and he ought to be looking ahead. At a minimum of a decade and surely a few years. This is what I'm going to try to do I believe this is what I've
been trying to do most of the things that I've done in public life. We're advanced. It took time I introduced legislation in the past that it took years to achieve but I was looking out ahead trying to trying to evaluate what the country might meet down the road. And I think that's what we have to do now. Domestically Senator Humphrey sees method not solution as we can mediate problem facing America today. Well it's very hard to put numbers on things first of all I don't believe that our government is properly organized to make it number one and number two number three priorities I think that's one of its real weaknesses. We have no planning we have planning by accident by Neu the decimal. In other words who can shout the loudest who can get the most attention. There is no instrument in the federal government that the executive or legislative level that looks ahead that projects a program that tries to sift out their goals and
priorities. So today when you ask the question what's the number one priority when really what you're saying is what do you think your number one priority is I don't think that's the way we ought to do it at all. I think there ought to be some way where we can involve both the public and the private sector to come to some understanding as to what goals we wish to reach let's say another decade from now. What priorities do we have in terms of reaching those goals. I imagine that a number of people today would say the number one priority is to stop the pollution and the contamination of our environment lest we be lest we perish or be critically injured by it by the developments that are taking place. Other people would say that the greatest priority is a national health program because people without health have nothing. People with health have hope and when you have hope you have everything. Somebody else might come along and say oh no that's not the priority the priority is to find a
way to keep our cities livable because here is where people are going to live. Now really when you say that what you're talking about a total program you're talking about the individual health of the people the public health of the community the environmental conditions that surround human life and institutions we build. You're talking about the recreation and leisure time act leisure time activities the cultural opportunities the educational opportunities that ought to be available in a in a in a metropolitan or or a large community or a large urban community area. So I don't think I'm in it equipped to put my finger on right now what is the number one priority domestically internationally it's no problem for Senator Humphrey to pick out the still prevailing number one issue. I'd say the number one priority in my book for overall things is to end the war. And to get on with the business of finding out America's role in the world the role not of the policeman role not of the
power of the power broker but the role of leadership of partnership or cooperation in a world that needs us. And yet it well that doesn't want us to fashion its style of life. I think that we are able to really have some period of peace where we're not expending our resources. And that's the ultimate outlays and war until we're able to arrive at some degree of peace in the world we're not going to be able to do too much about some of the needs we have at home on arms control the Senate is seen if you want to equal Humphrey a die hard campaigner against the expansion of the world's nuclear arsenals in 1963 Humphrey finally saw the fruition of a long battle. He finally mobilized enough support to establish the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency and gain Senate ratification of the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. When President Kennedy signed that treaty he presented the Pender Senator Humphrey with the words here but this is your treaty. Today the United States and the Soviet Union are engaged in
arms negotiations called the SALT talks. Senator Humphrey sees optimistic signs. Well the Soviets have offered one constructive suggestion that we negotiated to stop. On the deployment of the Anti Ballistic Missile System I think we ought to seize that offer and and come to an understanding. If you can if you can stop the deployment development and the deployment of an ABM then there is no need of trying to improve your open sea capacity because the whole purpose of improving your own fancied capacity was because of an ABM system that would have to be penetrated by more sophisticated offensive weapons. So the key to the arms limitation talks at Helsinki in Vienna is on the ABM and I am strongly encouraging I'm making a determined effort on my part as a senator to encourage our government to negotiate a cease and desist on
the deployment of the Anti Ballistic Missile systems both by the Soviet Union and ourself and I think that could slow down the arms race in the Middle East Mr. Humphrey sees vital American interests where we have great stake in the Middle East. I think this is our most serious problem today because there we run right head on with the Soviet Union. Also the Middle East is a critical area strategically important between the land masses of Asia and Europe. We're involved NATO the Mediterranean is on the southern flank of NATO. But I am I am much I am not much more but I'm somewhat more encouraged about the Middle East now. I believe that there are indications that the Soviet Union is becoming a little less intransigent that it is beginning to bring some pressure to bear upon the UAE are and particularly Egypt and I believe that Israel is beginning to show some more movement towards negotiation so that I think there is some prospect for reducing tension and possibly for some kind of
a negotiated peace. At least there is some indication of that. We can't be sure but I think it's in the now in the interest of world peace that that take place returning to the political arena. I asked Senator Humphrey how he evaluated President Nixon's reelection chances. Well an incumbent president is always a strong force incumbency is an asset. But unless the president is able to get the economy moving rather strongly and to get the unemployment figures we do so very sharply. And I have. Relative quiet and Vietnam I think you ought to have all of our forces out unless you can at least stabilize the situation in Southeast Asia and have an economy that is beginning to move forward with real quantum steps. I think you'd be in serious trouble. Hubert Humphrey is definitely not pleased with the performance of the man who beat him in 1968. Humphrey has said if he had been elected president the United States would now be disengaged from the Indochina War. He has had constant sharp words for
what he considers horrible handling of the economy by the Republicans and he sees the Democratic Party as the only real hope for the country in 1972. I really think that the Democratic Party and the leadership of this party are has much to offer this country I've been disappointed. In the many in the programs and policies of the Nixon administration this is no secret. I think some of the things the president has advanced have been constructive is Family Assistance Program. While I don't agree with all of its details it's in the right direction. His revenue sharing program I have one of my own with Congressman Royce but I think the general concept is in the right direction. I believe there are three organizations that are necessary within the federal structure I think that some of that's in the right direction. But I think that the the failure of the administration to invest in these human resource programs in education and in health and to have a policy for our urban centers to be able to be willing to do much more about the recession in our economy I think these are on forgivable mistakes noting the years
in July with which he believes in the political spotlight and his undying drive for public service. Plus remembering that he only lost to Richard Nixon by a little over 300000 votes. I asked Senator humper the obvious question does he plan to run again for the presidency in 1972. Well I've heard many people say that if we'd had a little more time we would have won I think so that's my own view. But that's just my view of it. I haven't decided whether I'm going to give it another try. I have made no plans to do so. I have not organized my office or my life. To seek the presidency and I would be less than honest if I didn't tell you that I'm going to watch this situation very carefully. I'm going to be politically active as I am. I'm going to try to be creative here in the in the Senate to take care of my business here in the Senate that is the public business. And I think you'll be hearing from me. So we'll have to wait and see sometime towards the end of this year I will have decided in my own mind one way or another
whether I'm going to give it another try or whether I've just ruled it out completely. One thing for sure I'm not going to be a spoiler. I'm not going to run just because I think that I deserve that chance. I if I should be a candidate it will be because I believe I can win because I believe it will be good for the country and because I'm free by have something to offer. Shortly after Humphrey returned to Washington this year a political cartoonist drew a caricature of him dressed as a cowboy and armed to the teeth and running a mean looking Democratic donkey down the main street of western Washington. And one of the Republican elephants depicted is scurrying around outside the White House saloon was captioned as saying Look out here but I'm for he's back in town and he's looking for a fight. This is Bill Moroney. The United States Senate class of 1971 was produced in Washington
D.C. for the national educational radio network with provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. This is the national educational radio network.
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- Senator Hubert H. Humphrey
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Speaker: Humphrey, Hubert H. (Hubert Horatio), 1911-1978
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- MLA: “The U.S. Senate Class of 1973; 3; Senator Hubert H. Humphrey.” 1971-00-00. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 10, 2023. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-9882pj26>.
- APA: The U.S. Senate Class of 1973; 3; Senator Hubert H. Humphrey. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-9882pj26