Hoopla surrounded the announcement that Bert Lance would become a part-time Atlanta television commentator after his demise as chief of the Office of Management and Budget earlier this year. But not much has been written about the wit and wisdom of Lance, perhaps because he's stayed close to the middle of the road in his commentary. Generally, Lance agrees with whatever course his old friends at the White House choose to set. Some samples:

On neutron weapons - "The neutron bomb should be part of America's arsenal . . .Regardless of how much we would like to stop the arms race, we simply cannot afford to allow anybody to get the idea that America is becoming weak or lacking in courage to make tough decisions."

On the Supreme Court decision allowing searches of newsrooms without notice - "At first blush, the average American might react to this with a chuckle, maybe taking some delight in seeing the news media take a few licks because of invasions of privacy by the media, misleading reports and so on. But there's a real danger for all citizens in this decision . . ."

On rising postal rates - "With even more increases being predicted for postal rates, it may soon be cheaper to make a phone call than to send a letter."

On Proposition 13 - "Unless government officials get the message, that people are fed up with higher taxes and more spending, then there will be a lot more citizen movements to roll back taxes and put a lid on government growth . . .The taxpayer revolt isn't about to start. Whether our government officials and elected representatives want to recognize it or not, the taxpayer revolt is here."

On HEW's anti-smoking campaign - "I remember when the American way was for parents to carry out their parental duties - the rearing of children, trying to guide them and maybe even chastising Johnny a little when he was caught puffing behind the barn. I have a great deal of concern, and even more doubt, about how much better a government bureaucracy will do in a parental role. Individual freedom is what America's all about. And despite the good motive behind it, the anti-smoking campaign qualifies as another case of Washington paternalism. In Stamping out smoking, will the bureaucracy stamp out a little more of our individual freedom? Think about it."*