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I am continually impressed by the overuse of the terms "conservative" and "liberal." Being for Bush means you're conservative. That's good. Being for Kerry means you're liberal. That's bad. Well, I'm not for Bush, and I'm so conservative that each year I worry that my children won't invite me to Thanksgiving dinner.

I'm greatly influenced by the opinions of respected and successful people. Warren Buffett, the second wealthiest man in the world, is anti-Bush. So is the head of Vanguard, the most renowned of the mutual funds. Both say Bush's Social Security ideas are ridiculous and dangerous. Paul O'Neill, former head of ALCOA, left the Bush administration as Treasury Secretary in disgust. Christine Whitman, former governor of New Jersey, quit as environmental chief.

You see, being conservative and being Republican don't count. You must be like Bush. Richard Clarke, a counterterrorism expert, left in frustration. Generals and national security advisers from the past see our Iraq policies as disastrous. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Vice President Cheney call the shots. Soldiers and leaders in the field are secondary.

As for health care, the New England Journal of Medicine has recognized that Bush kowtows to the drug industry, the most profitable in the United States. I've never thought of the medical profession as being particularly liberal.

So, let's stop the nonsense. Bush is not conservative, he's merely incompetent.

Jack Eaton