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Most people who work at the White House, and those who live there, seem to be either highly skilled lawyers or expert public-relations technicians, or both. Mark Russell has softened the tag recently hung on one of the occupants to "congenital lawyer."

The technicians carry the pejorative "spin doctor." Make no mistake, though, these people are very, very good at what they do. Unfortunately for "we the people," what they are good at has little to do with real leadership for our wounded nation."National policy," as practiced by the Clinton administration, seems to come down to an ever-changing set of buzzwords and phrases that cast their latest fumbles and abuses in the best possible light and inflict maximum damage on conservatives and Republicans. This target group continues to he very vulnerable in their congressional fishbowl as they labor with painful realities of defining a more-rational size and task for federal government, placing affordable limits on what it can do for those needing temporary or permanent public assistance and equitably allocating the burden on people who have to pick up the tab.

Once this "national policy" has been hammered out by the technicians and honed by the lawyers to maximize "escape routes" and "wiggle room" in case anyone gets pinned down by the press or other in-ves-ti-ga-tors, it is passed along to departmental and con-gres-sion-al spokespersons to be intoned verbatim to the news media.

At such mind-massage, these Clinton appointees are the best. It is too bad we can't find some way to publicly recognize them for their expertise in this area and just send them back to PR agencies and law firms, where they won't have to appear to lead and govern. Maybe we'll find a way - in November.

Herbert B. Sutton

St. George