4 Books on HHH plus college admissions

I started a stalled Reader column for the fourth or fifth time since I stopped submitting them a few months ago. It was about Civil Rights but was mixed in with the new degeneracy of the Republican Party. Then yesterday the Supreme Court killed Affirmative Action in college admissions and I knew I needed to write about that…….Will I have the stamina to crank it out in time for todays Friday Reader deadline….I’ll find out.

BUT a related book review in the NY Times caught my attention a few minutes before I started cleaning myself up for the day’s work. This one.

I know this books story pretty well. I read four books of consequence on HHH when I was researching this blog subject in 2006. It turned out to be a little too big a bite for my easily distracted self. The Red Plan fight finally killed it. But while I was combing the Minnesota History Museums library I read about HHH for background purposes. These are the four texts I recall best:

I read the three book on Hubert cover to cover. You can see the many post-it note bookmarks where I thought something needed to be referenced in the book I never got around to finishing. Only the second book about Hubert’s best frenemy, Eugene McCarthy, got skimmed for HHH details. It did however have, as I recall, a remarkable explanation of how powerful the left/communist influence was in Minnesota’s union politics in the 1950’s when HHH drove a stake into its heart and chases the extremists out of what became a fusion party in the state of Minnesota. That’s our famous and unfathomable DFL the Democratic Farmer Labor party. McCarthy helped HHH rescue it from the “Popular Front” unionists like our Gus Hall who were still in the thrall of Stalin despite the proof of his blood thirsty purges and his craven alliance with Hitler during the outbreak of WWII. When today’s phony baloney Republicans talk about ultra leftists these long extinct partisans are what they are talking about. HHH purged them. Then he went on to champion true liberality that the Republicans of my parents era would understand. That’s the Humphrey of today’s NY Time’s book review. The man who called for the sunshine of Civil Rights at the 1948 Democratic Presidential Convention that drove the racist Dixiecrats halfway into the arms of the Republican Party of today.

As for the other three books. The first with the pensive HHH on the cover was his autobiography which has plenty of blue bookmarks but was as I recall pretty saccharine and bland. The Carol Solberg book was lauded by the truly great biographer of Lyndon Johnson Robert Caro as a good bio but it is too flat to be a great biography. I’ve mentioned Caro a number of times in this blog.

The third “book” is every website entry of a man named Tom Roeser on his remembrances of Minnesota politics from his time in Minnesota which spanned much of the 1950’s through the worst blight on HHH’s memory his vile attack on the very decent Republican governor

Which leads to yet another book on HHH:

I kept seeing this book in used book stores and garage sales after graduating from College. It kept showing up with books like “None dare call it treason” a John Birch inspired book that was copied a few years back by a right wingnut critic of public education “None dare call it Education” that must have been read by Supreme Court Justices who just killed Affirmative action in College admissions. (I see this last joke has gotten a very high average five star reviews probably from the Hitler admiring women of Mom’s for Liberty)

Of these my pick is the blue binder. Tom Roeser wrote some very charming anecdotes of his years in Minnesota as an iconoclastic bubble burster. I would have liked that Tom Roeser. Later he became an ardent admirer of Rush Limbaugh but I so liked his reminiscences I called his widow some years after his death to see if she would mind my recommending his old blog pieces as a book for the Minnesota History Museum to publish. I had called her husband in his retirement to ask him about Governor Elmer L. Anderson for whom he had been press secretary. He was so outraged by the so called I-35 controversy that cost the Governor to lose reelection to Humphrey favorite the alcoholic son of Minnesota’s famous author of the book Giants in the Earth. Karl Rolvaag apologized to Elmer years later for Humphrey’s dirty tricks.

The reason this is such a good book is that Roeser was working on Capitol Hill in the years when Humphrey became Minnesota’s US Senator and became an outcast for the powerful southern racist Senators who could never forgive him for badmouthing their Jim Crow loving state’s rights at the 1948 convention. Roeser from the Republican side of things watched Humphrey closely and took the measure of the man even if he was less glowing than others. Caro’s third book on LBJ describes in detail how HHH was shunned, parodied and persecuted by the solid south of anti-segregationists.

Robert Caro is one of my favorite historians and I have mentioned him often on this blog.

Well……this still unedited post is one of the reasons I stopped blogging and resisted editing my blog too often. Its taken an hour to take photos put them on my flicker account; did up old books; Search my blog for old posts and possibly taken steam out of my desire to write and send in my first Reader column in many weeks. and I still have to take a shower and clean myself up for the day.

And yet this was a very satisfying post to write – a snapshot of my long interest in the world of politics that our nation has been plunged into by a party that has ingested too many fatally infected world views.

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