More a Nonsense of the Senate were it not that Freidin's discursive, clucking, frequently repetitious, and sometimes amusing comments splatter far beyond the upper chamber. Freidin, longtime newspaper correspondent now caterwauling in the capital, is mostly concerned with Washington political personalities; his modus operandi is gossip -- often tasteless scuttlebutt of drugstore-cowboy variety. Packed in among snickers and snipes about the eating habits of D.C. headliners -- Muskie's a clod who ""puts red wine and white, equally on ice,"" Mansfield occasionally ""splurges"" and has scrambled eggs for breakfast, Nader ""eats as little as Mahatma Gandhi"" -- there are meatier snacks such as senatorial ""girl problems"" and ""Where did old George McGovern manage even to find the down payment"" on his ""expensive pad""? You also might want to know the average tip at the Senate barbershop (""runs better than fifty cents"") or where Scoop Jackson ran in Freidin's private ""supersenator"" poll (fourth, behind Hart, Cooper, and Williams respectively) or why Thurmond (""old Strom"") hasn't been heard from lately (he has a case of Nixonian ""benign neglect""). And you can have Freidin's opinion on everything from the Times' publishing the Pentagon Papers (arguments in favor impress him as ""a mixture of Sir Galahad, The Front Page, and a whiff of ham""), J. Edgar Hoover's value to the nation (Washington's ""only ambulatory monument"") to Bebe Rebozo's presumed apoliticality (""That's a mocking laugh. . . he maintains a private kind of hot line to senators""), and Agnew's assets (""Ted"" is a ""pretty enjoyable, sociable companion over a highball""). Freidin mongers in crusty tidbits -- harmless really, unless swallowed.