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Letters to the Editor

Bradley playing same political game

I wonder whether some of Bill Bradley's emotional potency, palpable air of electricity, and majestic honesty that Alex Rawson '01 and Dana Satir '01 described is due more to the feelings of impressionable college kids who got to mix with the political elite than to the traits of Bradley himself. Bradley is not, as he and much of the press like to think, an outsider or idealist unmarred by the ugly side of Washington politics. Contrary to what Rawson and Satir wrote, Bradley waffles and spins just like the rest of them.


Early on in his Iowa campaigning, Bradley gave a speech about the moment he decided to become a Democrat. During the summer before his senior year at Princeton, he interned at congressional offices in Washington: "I was in the Senate chamber the night the 1964 Civil Rights Act passed that desegregated public accommodations in America . . . And I became a Democrat because it was the party of justice. It was Democrats that stepped forward that evening in the Senate and cast their vote that washed away the stain of segregation in this country."

That's not exactly what happened. In reality, 82 percent of Senate Republicans voted for the Civil Rights Act (27 of 33) while only 69 percent of Democrats (46 of 67) did. Three-and-a-half times as many Democrats opposed the act as Republicans. In the House, results were similar. Eighty percent of Republicans voted for the bill (138 of 172) and 61 percent of Democrats (152 of 248) supported it. Either Bradley has a disturbingly bad memory or he lied outright.

Before all of us jump behind Bradley, let's make sure that his "new voice of optimism" is telling the truth. Matt O'Brien '03