Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold praised the Madison-based Progressive magazine Friday on the occasion of its 100th birthday for, among other things, standing up to Wisconsin's home grown demagogue Joe McCarthy.
"I may not have accomplished a whole lot in my career, but the one thing I have done is made that title 'the junior Senator from Wisconsin' sound not quite so bad as it did in the 1950s, when it was a symbol for repression in this country." Feingold said the magazine – founded by Wisconsin Senator Fighting Bob LaFollette, also stood up for the environment and civil rights well before either cause was part of the political mainstream.
Feingold also made a pitch for a constitutional amendment he's proposing, to require that vacancies in the U.S. Senate bill filled by special elections rather than gubernatorial appointments. "The vacancies in Illinois and New York were more just riveting political theater, they were reminders that the citizens of these states had no say basically, on who should represent them in the Senate."
Feingold said his proposed amendment is in keeping with the spirit of The Progressive's founder, Senator LaFollete, who had fought for the 17th Amendment which ended the original practice of having U.S. Senators be appointed by the state legislatures.
The celebration of The Progressive's one hundredth birthday continues today at the Monona Terrace Convention Center in Madison.