Thursday, October 07, 2004


I was talking the other day about the Times trying to live down the myth that it’s a liberal paper. Well, I just came upon this editorial from 1980, the year of misery for President Jimmy Carter. Inflation was running in the double digits and people were calling for price controls. These -- I quote -- "soon turn into a nightmare. But wages are different. They can be held down by a minimum of bureaucracy." Unquote.

Carter and the Times had been bit by the rabies of deregulation. A "minimum of bureaucracy" left us helpless against the raid on corporations based on junk-bonds, the breakdown of rail and air service and the savings-and-loan swindle that bled every county in the country. Poor Carter had fallen under the influence of David Rockefeller and his crowd. He named James Schlesinger to manage the fuel supply -- and the pumps ran dry. He named Paul Volcker to run the Federal Reserve. Volcker went in for tough love -- high interest rates to cool the economy down. Tight money and tight budgets are for Democrats. For Republicans, easy money and big deficits are just fine.

If that weren’t enough to do Carter in -- he let David Rockefeller and Henry Kissinger talk him into inviting the exiled Shah of Iran to come here for medical treatment, even though our embassy in Iran had begged him not to. Iran exploded, the embassy was taken hostage, and Carter went down in disgrace.

There are more failing marks on his page, but Carter lately has shown signs that he has learned. He’s a decent man, eager to make the world a better habitat for all. As we enter the climax of this campaign, it would be well if Kerry and Edwards followed his guidance, rather than that of Democratic politicians stuck on the wrong side.