When Vice President Bush appeared at a dinner in December 1985 honoring William Loeb, the late publisher of the Manchester (N.H.) Union Leader, a newspaper whose attacks on Bush in 1980 were strong and frequent, Bush praised Loeb as a man of "passionate convictions and strong beliefs." Bush no doubt hoped his appearance would keep the paper leashed during his second try at the presidency.

No such luck. Last week the current publisher, Loeb's widow, Nackey, who obviously shares her late husband's "strong beliefs and convictions" -- at least when it comes to Bush -- published a rerun of a front-page Loeb editorial from the 1980 campaign. Bush is described as "incompetent . . . masquerading as a conservative . . . . A preppy, wimp, part of the self-appointed elite . . . . A spoon-fed little rich kid who has been wet-nursed to success and now thinks he is entitled to the White House as his latest toy."

Commenting on the seven years since the editorial, Nackey Loeb writes, "George Bush has been Bush for 63 years. He has been Ronald Reagan's errand boy for just the last seven. Without Ronald Reagan he will surely revert to the original George Bush."

Sparing Bush no mercy, she returns to her late husband's words: "Republicans should flee the presidential candidacy of George Bush as if it were the black plague itself."