5 DECEMBER 1952, Page 2

Mr. Taft is Stung

It is an American commonplace that many a politician has become a different man on crossing the threshold of the White House. But it begins to look as if General Eisenhower. whose reputation has been largely built on his powers •of concilia- tion, is not even willing to wait until next January before demonstrating that he is no longer a mere party politician. It took a great deal of bitter hostility and abuse from Senator Taft to rouse the General's ire at the Republican Convention in Chicago, but now, as President-elect, he is showing some sign of willingness to come out fighting. He has obviously not picked his Cabinet with the object of pleasing the Old Guard, but his appointment of Mr. Martin Durkin, a Demo- cratic trade union leader, as Secretary of Labour; seemed positively designed to sting Senator Taft into revolt. Anyway it did sting him, for Mr. Durkin is, among other things, a would-be repealer of the Senator's own Taft-Hartley Act, which is heartily disliked by the unions. Mr. Taft's protest on Tuesday that millions of trade unionists who in fact voted Republican were at one and the same time voting for the reten- tion of the Taft-Hartley Act was in any case a little naïve. The most that can be said is that those trade unionists did not vote against the Republican candidate, much as they disliked this particular Measure. And it could be added that they might not have voted Republican at all but for the fact that Senator Taft had been fairly and squarely defeated in the fight for the nomination at Chicago. The Senator will obviously have to find a better argument than this if he wants to rally popular support for his own apparent belief that he is the new President's master. At the t ame time these are early days to begin reading too much into General Eisen- hower's actions. American politics rests on a basis of checks and balances. And to set a trade unionist to balance SenaWr Taft in the labour field is not, in strictly American tains' necessarily an act of aggression. It may be a way of produeing a stalemate and keeping the law as it is. But still, General Eisenhower's next move will be watched with great interest, not to say eagerness.