The candidates' positions are not very dissimilar, as the Oct. 7 debate illustrated. Oh, a few differences, but not enough to sway a vote.
Now, once again in an important race, the voting public is down to judging personality, leadership and backbone; and during the debate, Dianne Feinstein seemed the more comfortable in expressing leadership and drive. Here, Feinstein's experience with adversity stands her in good stead . . . her balance in guiding the San Francisco city government back into healthy re-emergence after a scarring, murderous day in its history. She leaves no doubt of her ability to deal with the likes of Assembly Speaker Willie Brown and Senate President Pro Tem David Roberti and handle the rough-and-tumble politics of Sacramento.
I do doubt Pete Wilson's ability to provide leadership under stress. He has always played it safe on the issues and followed wherever opinion polls or powerful constituencies led him. In the debate, he expressed his hesitancy at handling Brown, Roberti, et al, preferring a "term limits" removal of these difficult legislators. I personally could respect Sen. Wilson if he would spend time in Washington trying to help solve the budget impasse--this is what we elected him to do, and he could gain ground publicly by demonstrating statesmanship in a crucial situation.
Wilson doesn't flunk as a public representative, because he does respond to public opinion in a good-natured way, but he is a follower and not on the stellar level where Feinstein comfortably demonstrates her leadership and drive.