Friday, October 2, 2009

History Much, John Weaver?

More on the fascinating news today and yesterday about feuding in the GOP, but first, a little bit of fun: here's McCainite John Weaver on McCain's attempts to steer the party in his direction:
“John remains the titular head of the Republican Party and he will be until there’s a new nominee,” he said. “Most of the people that ran and lost you never heard from again,” he said. “He’s not going to be like Ed Muskie or Hubert Humphrey.”
Hmmm....let's start with Muskie. Ed Muskie was a VP nominee in 1968, sought the Democratic nomination in 1972, and was drummed out of the race relatively early (thanks in part to Nixon's efforts to use dirty tricks to undermine strong Democratic candidates). He was never a nominee, and therefore seems pretty irrelevant to the point. At any rate, Muskie continued in the Senate for the rest of the 1970s, eventually serving briefly as Jimmy Carter's Secretary of State in 1980. As far as I know, his service in the Senate was reasonably distinguished in the 1970s, although I think his real achievements preceded his failed presidential run.

Hubert Humphrey? Well, Humphrey was the Democratic nominee in 1968. After he lost, he then...ran again for president, in 1972, and was just barely defeated for the nomination by George McGovern. After that, he returned to the Senate, passed the Humphrey-Hawkins employment bill, ran for (and lost) for majority leader, considered running again for president in 1976 (and was widely seen as a serious possibility, although my memory on this is that most Democrats thought his time had passed by then). He was, throughout the last decade of his life, a major figure in the Democratic Party. Here's Wikipedia:
On October 25, 1977, he addressed the Senate, and on November 3, 1977, Humphrey became the first person other than a member of the House or the president to address the House of Representatives in session. President Carter honored him by giving him command of Air Force One for his final trip to Washington on October 23. One of Humphrey's speeches contained the lines "It was once said that the moral test of Government is how that Government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; and those who are in the shadows of life, the sick, the needy and the handicapped," which is sometimes described as the "liberals' mantra."
Hey, good luck to McCain and all, but his pre-nomination political career wasn't a tenth of Humphrey's (and that's awful generous), and I'll be astonished if he's anywhere near as well-known and important as "never heard of again" Hubert Humphrey was after being his party's nominee.

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