Well, did he or didn't he? Only the editor knows for sure. However, the reader will probably will away the time in unfruitful speculation as scene after unaccented scene blurs by like Howard Johnsons on the thruway. Vice President Porter Canfield, whose pronouncements occupy the most space, is an opportunist bucking for Top Spot. He plans to bring this off by rallying national support for sophisticated arms to Israel while the sensible President is toiling away at detente with the Russians. Others with a stake in the arms deal are an Iranian extremist and a Kahane-like Zionist. Since the media, the ""intellectuals,"" and certain pols are as clay when it comes to Israeli interests (guess why), Canfield rides high until the Iranian plot causes three deaths. The V.P., who was in on the basic game plan (but not the killings) and blurted some compromising thoughts onto tape (ah ha!), is snookered at the close. Lindsay's was distressing/ Buckley's was a tour/ Erlichman's is winging in/ Spiro's is a CHORE.