Robert Bartley was the editor of the Wall Street Journal’s editorial page for 30 years, from 1972 until his retirement from the position last year. He died this morning of cancer today at age 66.
He won the Pulitzer Prize for his editorials in 1980, the year that saw Ronald Reagan elected to the presidency. Bartley’s advocacy of supply-side tax cuts on the Journal’s editorial page of course played a key role in the adoption of the Reagan administration’s tax cutting agenda and the revival of the economy from its Carter-era doldrums. His absorbing saga of the related intellectual and political battles — The Seven Fat Years — should be noted.
I can’t think of another newman who played a larger role in fostering the positive developments of the past 30 years. He also created the finest editorial page in the country. In his final column as editor last year, the Journal referred to it as “the only editorial page that sells newspapers.” That column was “A few final words as editor.”
He noted at that time, in his usual mode of contingent optimism, “I’ll write this column, God willing, for years to come.” It was not to be. RIP.
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