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Brass Tacks

By John D. Leonard

"Goodie" Knight--Republican governor of the State of California--is an honest man. He's a balding, cherubic politician of the old school, a hand-shaker and a baby-kisser to whom politics is a game--not without humor nor immune to the horselaugh.

As governor of the nation's second largest state, he has played a moderate, mediocre role, with the paradoxical support of organized labor and the L.A. Times --which doesn't hire union members. He blamed smog on incinerators instead of industry, and opposed a "right-to-work" law. He is a pleasant sort of a man, with a likeable grin.

This week "Goodie" Knight yields to the law of political necessity. The august Los Angeles Times has announced that he is now a candidate for the U.S. Senate in 1958. Few, perhaps, will remember that two months ago, faced with a gubernatorial primary battle with Senator William F. Knowland, Knight vowed to seek a second term as governor, regardless.

His office has denied that any pressure has been exerted to force him to switch his candidacy to the Senate. But Knowland, a sort of Slenderella bulldog with a look of petrified integrity, wants to be governor, because it is one step closer to the White House in 1960. Knowland is a humorless man with a mission and a method, and the backing of party professionals in the Golden State.

There are those who will say that relegation to a Senate seat is nothing to cry about. That's not the point. "Goodie" Knight is not a statesman; he will be lonely in Eisenhower's Washington. His political passing is merely a footnote to an age of rigid necessities. The good-natured clown is gone, and the artifice of design is all.

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