Proxmire, William

1970 TLS to Senator Muskie, praises his election eve speech, acknowledges re-election congratulations

Price: $15.00

Description:
(1915-2005) Wisconsin Democrat, US Senator 1957-89. He graduated from Yale 1938, Harvard Business School 1940, and Harvard Graduate School of Public Administration 1948. During WW II he was in the Military Intelligence Service. He moved to Wisconsin to be a reporter for The Capital Times. Proxmire was a member of the Wisconsin State Assembly 1951-52, and an unsuccessful candidate for Governor in 1952, 1954 & 1956. He was elected, in a 1957 special election, to fill the remainder of the term vacated due to the death of Senator Joseph McCarthy, and was reelected in 1958, 1964, 1970, 1976 & 1982. Proxmire holds the Senate record for consecutive roll call votes cast: 10,252 between April 20, 1966 & Oct. 18, 1988. He was Chair of the Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs 1975-81 & 1987-89. He was an early, outspoken critic of the Vietnam War, frequently criticizing Presidents Johnson and Nixon for their conduct of the war and foreign policy decisions. He used his seat on the Senate Armed Services Committee to spotlight wasteful military spending and was instrumental in stopping frequent military pork barrel projects. His “Golden Fleece Award” (1975-88) was created to focus media attention on projects he felt were self-serving and wasted taxpayer dollars. The first was awarded in 1975 to the National Science Foundation for funding an $84,000 study on why people fall in love. Other Golden Fleece Awards went to the Justice Department for conducting a study on why prisoners wanted to get out of jail, the National Institute of Mental Health to study a Peruvian brothel, and the Federal Aviation Administration for studying the physical measurements of 432 airline stewardesses, paying special attention to the 'length of the buttocks.'" He stopped numerous science and academic projects which were, in his opinion, of dubious value. One winner of the Golden Fleece Award sued him for defamation in 1976. The Supreme Court ruled that members of Congress were not immunized from liability for defamatory statements made outside of formal congressional proceedings (Hutchinson v. Proxmire, 1979). He also headed the campaign to cancel the American supersonic transport. Despite his support of budgetary restraint in other areas, he normally sided with dairy interests and was a proponent of dairy price supports. As Chairman of the Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, Proxmire was instrumental in devising the financial plan that saved New York City from bankruptcy in 1976–77. In his last 2 Senate campaigns, he refused to take any campaign contributions, and on each spent less than $200 out of his own pocket. He was an early advocate of campaign finance reform. From 1967-86, Proxmire gave daily speeches on the necessity of ratifying The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. After giving this speech every day the Senate was in session for 20 years ()3,211 speeches, the Convention was ratified by the Senate Feb. 11, 1986. TLS “Bill” on 8 ¼ x 6 ¼ “United States Senate/ Washington, D.C.” letterhead, November 13 1970, to Senator Ed Muskie. Proxmire thank him for his congratulatory telegram (on Proxmire’s re-election), reciprocates his good wishes, and tells Muskie that his “…Election Eve speech was just great.” He adds: “Your understatement and incisive delineation of the basic issues against the raucous background of the opposition was most impressive and inspiring.” Edmund S. Muskie (1914-1986) Maine Democratic US Senator 1959-80. 1968 VP candidate with Humphrey, 1972 presidential hopeful. Secretary of State 1980-81 (Carter). On Nov. 2, 1970, Muskie's star rose after he responded in a nationwide speech to a divisive Republican campaign that attacked the patriotism of college students and Democrats.

Condition: Very good, docket stamp at top, ink checkmark at lower left
Type:Letter






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