Proxmire Of Wisconsin

"I came to Washington eager to set the world on fire. I made the mistakes a new Senator makes -- of moving into fields with no special knowledge, trying to save the country, instead of waiting for the experience and knowledge which comes after several years of careful research and study. I learned that the government is becoming so enormously big that it is getting out of control. We need discipline in federal spending...Waste is just as sure as the sunrise. The only way to cut down on this waster is to pound away as hard as you can, challenge the usefulness of all programs, insist on justification for every item...I have grown more aware of the enormity of the problem. But I wouldn't consider this a basic change in my philosophy...I'd call myself an eclectic middle of the roader who is dedicated to economy in government and human rights and vehemently opposed special privilege..."

"...It depends on what you mean by "liberal." The difficulty was I followed (Senator Joe) McCarthy, who was the epitome of reactionary Republicanism. The assumption, since I was a Democrat, was that I would be an extreme the other way....On economic matters, I try to be as pragmatic as possible. Economic dogma is so undeveloped, so unsure. I favor what on the basis of all the facts seems to make sense. On civil rights I feel strongly. That's a fundamental aspect of liberalism. On both civil liberties and civil rights, I feel government should do everything in its power to guarantee them to anyone....I don't follow the President, and I don't follow any groups within or without the Democratic party."

Senator William Proxmire

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