WHEN ACTING AS ROME, DO AS THE ROMANS DID. If the United States, pursuing a Pax Americana, puts military forces on the ground in Kosovo, it should make clear that it does not have a ""timetable'' for an ""exit strategy.'' They are products of longings rather than logic and they telegraph tentativeness born of reluctance.
IT IS BACK TO THE 1950S FOR LIBERALISM. ITS NEXT PALADIN, Al Gore, is alarmed about suburban ""sprawl.'' That issue is the political equivalent of a 45 rpm record of The Platters' ""The Great Pretender,'' or a stroll down memory lane in white-and-black saddle shoes with red rubber soles.
ALTHOUGH HIS CULTURED DESPISERS ARE LOATH TO admit it, and he was probably ambivalent about it, Richard Nixon skimmed more cream off the American professoriate than most presidents have done, pack- ing his administration with, among others, Henry Kissinger and Pat Moynihan (Harvard), James Schlesinger (University of Virginia), George Shultz (University of Chicago) and Arthur Burns (Columbia).
WHEN EARL LONG WAS LOUISIANA'S GOVERNOR, he did not think highly of the state's attorney general: ""If you want to hide something from Jack Gremillion, put it in a lawbook.'' Nowadays if you want, as sensible people do, to discredit the drive for campaign-finance reform, give the reformers ample opportunities to put forth their arguments.
AUTUMN, SEASON OF MISTS AND MELLOW FRUITFULness, is upon the nation's capital, the frost is on the pumpkin and the vice president, lynx-eyed on behalf of the public weal, is laying siege to the citadel of our complacency by lecturing a covey of television weather forecasters to be on the lookout for global warming.
WITHIN HOURS OF THE DEATH OF PRINCESS Diana, two unfailing fountains of banalities and bromides had been heard from. President Clinton, whose gift for self-absorption has a kind of grandeur, interrupted his vacation to deliver a bulletin on his inner life, making a statement in which he talked about his feelings and his wife's feelings and, oh yes, the Princess.
ROBERTO ALOMAR BECAME A SWITCH HITTER AT THE age of 7 because his father, a major leaguer (he roomed with Henry Aaron), said that would help Roberto to be "an everyday player." Today Alomar, baseball's best second baseman, is giving new meaning to the phrase "everyday player." The Orioles' 1996 season was ended in mid-October by the Yankees (with an assist from an umpire's blown call on a catch by a kid in the fight-field seats).
OH, SO THAT IS WHAT THE FUROR WAS ALL ABOUT. Last autumn Democrats spent nobody knows quite how many scores of millions of dollars, raised from no one knows precisely how many Indonesian connections and Buddhist temple ""community outreach events,'' to run ads warning elderly Americans about Republican extremism.
BEFORE THE BIG DECEMBER DANCE AT ST. LUKE HIGH school in Jersey City, N.J., Sister Peter, a woman of abundant faith but few illusions, advised newcomers to the staff, "Their dancing might get a little explicit, but there is nothing we can do about it--until it resembles foreplay.