Time Essay: What Might Have Been

Jimmy Carter's favorite authors are Dylan Thomas and James Agee, but this week the speed reader from Plains may be pondering the works of Rudyard Kipling ("If") and John Greenleaf Whittier, who wrote, "Of all sad words of tongue or pen the saddest are these: 'It might have been.' " It might have been that if Carter had taken certain steps earlier, inflation would be lower, the economy would be stronger and the President would be more popular. Hindsight, of course, is one of the few cheap things in this inflationary age. But it...

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