Ring underestimates Bradley, Bush
In the Jan. 20 column "Presidential Blues," Michael J. Ring characterizes Bill Bradley as a "second-string player'' while implying that Paul Wellstone is not. While Bradley has a surprisingly substantial national following for someone who has never run for president before, Paul Wellstone is little known by people outside Minnesota who aren't liberal activists. In a late-October Gallup poll of Democratic New Hampshire voters, Bradley placed second to the quasi-incumbent, while Wellstone polled last of seven.
In a general election, Wellstone might excite his base, as Ring suggests, but he wouldn't get many votes beyond his wing of the Democratic party. Bradley, on the other hand, has won broad support from across the political spectrum, and would do at least as well in a general election as in the primary.
Ring also dismisses Governor Bush as the "son of a president'' and nothing more, presumably because he doesn't know much about him. While I can't argue that his current lead in the polls is almost entirely based on name recognition, his receipt of 70 percent of the vote for governor, with a majority of the Hispanic vote and essentially no gender gap, is probably based on something more substantial. At this point, I don't know a lot more about him than Ring does. However, rather than pass judgement prematurely, I prefer to wait to see what happens once we're a little closer to the elections.
Steven Jens '98