Numerous questions are now being asked in this country about who is responsible for the half-trillion-dollar savings and loan scandal.

Before we continue the witch hunt, we have to realize that there are many who are innocent until presumed guilty -- but there are even more who are guilty until presumed innocent.

The White House is dealing with the problem like an adult by blaming the fiasco on the Democrats. The reason the White House is so sure that the Democrats are behind the S&L loss is because this is going to be a big issue in the fall elections. The president's position is that when you have a disaster of this magnitude there is never enough political blame to go around.

The Democrats are certain that the Republicans destroyed the nation's mortgage banking system when they deregulated the S&Ls and permitted them to give money to anyone who wanted to build a chocolate bunny factory.

There is no question that the Democrats intend to lay the S&L boondoggle on the Republicans' doorstep even if it means blaming the president's son.

There is so much mudslinging about this scandal because no matter where a congressman or senator comes from, there was at least one S&L down the block. Some of our politicians' best friends were also some of the politicians' most generous contributors.

To quote bank robber Willie Sutton for the 1,000th time, "The reason that members of Congress gave the S&Ls everything they wanted was because 'that's where the money was.' "

Nobody knows the amount of campaign funds that changed hands during the '80s when the S&Ls were permitted to do anything they wanted. But there is no doubt that the relationship between the banks and elected officials was warm, sympathetic and user-friendly.

If it's true that there will be a war between Republicans and Democrats over the multi-billion-dollar deficit, then this is the kind of rhetoric we can expect to hear.

The Republican TV commercial would go something like this: Pan to a man opening a safe, which turns out to be empty.

He says, "This savings and loan bank has been cleaned out. Who, you ask, did it? Well, I'll tell you who. Willie Horton stole your savings. The Democrats have been soft on S&Ls for years, and that's why it's going to cost every man, woman and child in the U.S. $4,000 each, so that Willie can get a weekend furlough to go to Disney World."

The Democratic commercial would show a bunch of fat S&L owners with grease all over their faces eating legs of lamb with their bare hands. The voice-over would say, "This is a $10,000-a-plate dinner for the national Republican Party given by the savings and loan industry. If it hadn't been for Reagan deregulation rules they wouldn't be eating lamb while you eat Alpo this evening. Let's make the government get onto the S&Ls' backs once again. If you add up what it will cost you, flag burning is no longer this country's burning issue."

The White House is very sensitive about the S&L bailout, and this is because the president's son, Neil, is involved with an S&L scandal in Colorado.

For reasons no one understands, the Democrats are making hay with this information.

Just last week a Democrat called me. He told me that he had heard the White House was going to install drive-in S&L deposit windows at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. for the convenience of lobbyists trying to get their message to the president.

In any case, everyone is agreed on one thing: The guilty should be punished and, at the very least, be excommunicated by Cardinal John O'Connor.