We more admired the old Tom Bradley. The mayor of Los Angeles had always seemed to us a man of principle. If he believed something, he said so; you might agree or disagree, but his character compelled you to respect his opinion.
Now, as he gets ready to run for governor again, he says that he has changed his long-held position in favor of handgun control to conform to the popular will. He believes that his advocacy of the defeated 1982 handgun-control initiative led to his defeat by Gov. George Deukmejian that year. "I don't believe that, in the face of that overwhelming vote (the vote on the initiative was 62.8% No, 37.2% Yes), it ought to be brought up again, and if it is I will oppose it."
You would not expect the mayor to lead a quixotic, self-destructive crusade for gun control in the face of public opinion, but so apparent a surrender of conviction to ambition can only disappoint and sadden his admirers.
The concession seems in any case inappropriate. No one expects gun control to be an issue in the election for governor this year. And it hardly seems likely that Bradley's switch will bring him votes that he would have otherwise lost to Deukmejian, who has long opposed gun control.