President Reagan is eager for Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev to see just how great and open this nation is, by roaming the aisles of a supermarket and chatting with ordinary citizens, for instance, or visiting an American ranch such as the President's own in the Santa Barbara mountains.
But the supra-keepers of their private version of the American flame--such as Rep. Robert K. Dornan (R-Garden Grove) and former White House aide Patrick Buchanan--turned absolutely livid at the very thought of Gorbachev's dictatorial shoes treading the floors of the U.S. Congress.
The idea seems moot now because communications between the White House and Congress and Moscow about a possible Gorbachev speech to a joint session of Congress were bungled. Concede that it would not be appropriate to grant Gorbachev such a forum unless the Soviets were willing to reciprocate for the President if and when he goes to Moscow.
The details were not important to Dornan, Buchanan and other self-appointed keepers of the flame, though. Just the thought of the Soviet leader despoiling this sacred temple of liberty, the Capitol, was beyond the contemplation of their cramped minds.