Goodbye, Fritz

THE WITHDRAWAL OF Senator Walter Mondale (D-Minn.) last week from the Democratic presidential sweep-stakes is one of the few welcome political developments of recent years. Mondale's realization that there's no conceivable reason why anyone should have wanted him to be president speaks highly for his political judgment, although the complete lack of substance of his abortive campaign unfortunately suggests that it is selectively applied.

Honey Fritz's move should start a widespread political trend, that grows to include all those other presidential contenders whose solution to impending nuclear war or Chrysler's laying off 100,000 workers is a plea for renewed trust in the American system. Senator Henry M. Jackson (D-Wash.), the would-be Democratic front-runner, could set an example in this movement much finer than he has in the last few years, with ceaseless calls for shoring up the "defense" system, not to mention the Saigon government. And President Ford, Jackson's Republican counterpart, could help achieve his expressed desire to Win against inflation by withdrawing from the race as well--in fact, he could go Jackson one better, by resigning right now. Of course, even if all the rest of the politicians with pretensions to the presidency, from Lloyd Bentsen to Morris Udall, went along with Mondale and Edward Kennedy and withdraw, it wouldn't solve this country's problems, or provide it with responsible leadership. But it would be a step in the right direction.