Revisiting Vietnam

Research Grant Proposal: Revisiting Vietnam: Exploring the Parapsychological Labyrinth of a Humphrey Triumph Over Nixon, Impeded by Kaleidoscopic Counterculture and Fellow Travelers in the Fog

Authored by: Mortimer M. Muddle

Sponsored by:

  • The Rand Corporation
  • In harmonious collaboration with:
    • The Dewey Cheetam and Howe Foundation (champions of fringe mathematics and heretofore unknown strategic theorems)
    • The Lionel Fumble & Errington Blunder Foundations (dedicated to the unbiased analysis of unconventional historical turning points, however improbable)


The specter of Vietnam looms large in the American psyche. This proposal seeks to revisit that pivotal moment in history, venturing into the uncharted territory of “what-ifs.” We posit a reality where Hubert Humphrey, not Richard Nixon, ascended to the Oval Office in 1968. Through meticulous archival research, veteran interviews, and a liberal dose of speculative fiction, this project will explore the hypothetical success of a Humphrey presidency in navigating the treacherous waters of the Vietnam War.

However, our investigation won’t be a victory march. The counterculture movement, awash in a potent cocktail of reefer madness and communist fellow travelers (or fellow feelers, depending on the source), will undoubtedly pose a significant challenge to Humphrey’s war efforts. Imagine, if you will, legions of tie-dye clad protestors camped outside the White House, their flower power a potent (if somewhat pungent) symbol of dissent.

This grant proposal delves into the heart of a paradox: a Democratic president waging war while facing fierce opposition from the very base that propelled him to victory. Humphrey, a man known for his folksy charm and progressive ideals, will be forced to walk a tightrope – maintaining public support for the war effort while placating a restless, war-weary generation.

President Hubert Humphrey, a man of enigmatic charisma and political unorthodoxy, would have steered the United States down a divergent path in the Vietnam conflict. This research posits that Humphrey, possessing an uncanny ability to intuit the burgeoning anti-war sentiment, would have implemented a more nuanced and psychedelically tinged approach to the conflict.


  • Phase One: The Road Not Taken –
  • We will delve into the archives of the counterculture, meticulously combing through dog-eared copies of the The Whole Earth Catalog, lysergic-acid addled underground newspapers, and the whispered confessions of those who wandered the Haight-Ashbury in paisley vests and bell-bottoms.
  • We propose a series of interviews with key figures of the era, including those rumored to possess extrasensory perception and the ability to commune with the cosmic weather patterns. Through these interviews, we hope to glean insights into the potential for a more telepathic brand of diplomacy – a crucial element in a Humphrey-led Vietnam strategy.
  • Utilizing cutting-edge (and some would say, heretical) mathematical modeling techniques pioneered by the Dewey Cheetam and Howe Foundation, we will attempt to simulate the trajectory of the war under a President Humphrey. These models will incorporate factors both tangible ( troop movements, logistical constraints) and intangible (fluctuations in the national mood, the waxing and waning of the counterculture’s influence).
  • Phase Two: Alternate History, Alternate Reality – Here, we enter the realm of the hypothetical. Through a combination of historical analysis and fictionalized narratives, we will explore how Humphrey might have prosecuted the war – from troop escalations (or perhaps de-escalations?) to diplomatic overtures (both genuine and veiled). Veterans, haunted by the jungles of Southeast Asia and the jungles of bureaucracy back home, will spill their guts on tape recorders powered by smuggled army batteries. We’ll track down the high priestesses and priests of the counterculture – poets with handlebar mustaches and oracles clad in tie-dye, all dispensing wisdom both profound and utterly baked.
  • Phase Three: The Hippie Hydra – Grant us the green, man, the folding green of the Man Himself, and we shall delve into the pulsating, paisley heart of the Hippie Hydra! This beast with a thousand beaded heads, each spewing incense and invective against the War Machine, shall be our quarry. We’ll chase down the ghosts of protest marches, where flowers bloomed from cobblestones and tear gas hung heavy in the air like bad vibes at a Grateful Dead show. We’ll infiltrate draft dodger communes nestled deep in redwood forests, their inhabitants fueled by lentil soup and righteous anger. Propaganda leaflets, more lysergic than legible, will be our Rosetta Stone, deciphering the cryptic language of revolution scrawled across college campuses. We’ll emerge, blinking in the harsh light of reality, with a kaleidoscopic portrait of the domestic resistance, a testament to the power of flowers, folk music, and sheer, unadulterated weirdness in the face of the military-industrial complex.

Challenges and Anticipated Roadblocks:

  • The sheer imponderability of the concept itself. The butterfly effect of a Humphrey presidency is enough to induce metaphysical vertigo.
  • The potential for obfuscation by those forces, both domestic and foreign, who may have benefited from the historical reality of a Nixon victory. We anticipate encountering a labyrinth of misinformation, strategically placed red herrings, and the whispers of shadowy figures lurking at the fringes of the political spectrum (and possibly other dimensions).
  • The inherent skepticism of the academic community towards methodologies that embrace the paranormal and the downright peculiar. However, we are confident that the potential benefits of this research outweigh the scoffs of the unenlightened.


  • The culmination of this odyssey will be a multifaceted exploration of this hypothetical past. We envision a monograph titled “The Acidified Dove: Humphrey’s Vietnam and the Triumph of Tie-Dye Diplomacy,” a documentary film (working title: “Ho Chi Minh on Haight Street”), and, for the truly adventurous, an immersive virtual reality experience that places the participant squarely in the midst of a clash between Pentagon brass and polychromatic protesters.
  • The final report will be a multimedia extravaganza, incorporating not only traditional text and charts, but also elements of jazz poetry, documentary collage filmmaking (think Ken Kesey on a bender with a Bolex), and – if funding permits – a holographic simulation of the key turning points of the Humphrey-era Vietnam War.
  • A public symposium featuring veterans, historians, and (if budgetary constraints allow) a representative from the counterculture movement, fostering a lively discussion on the Vietnam War and the legacies of Humphrey and Nixon.


This research project is not merely an academic exercise. By revisiting Vietnam through the lens of a Humphrey presidency, we gain a deeper understanding of the war’s complexities and the enduring impact on American society. The specter of the “hippie menace” serves as a stark reminder of the domestic challenges faced by wartime leaders. Ultimately, this project aspires to illuminate the murky crossroads of war, dissent, and the American character.

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