To the Editor:

Despite what Mike Slater says in his “Why ProCons are leaving the Dems in the dust” (2/9), President Bush is not progressive. Slater speaks of Bush’s “progressive” tax policy. Bush has rolled back taxes while increasing spending, converting a projected 10-year $5.6 trillion surplus into a $5.2 trillion deficit. Simultaneously, Bush’s Social Security reform comes just as the baby boomers are starting to retire. Eliminating Social Security’s current funding shifts the financial burden to the government, meaning even larger deficits. Bush has committed America to paying higher taxes in the future in exchange for lower taxes in the present.

Slater also calls Bush’s foreign policy “progressive.” He notes, “There is now a working democracy in the volatile Middle East.” Of course, this ignores Israel, the one stable Middle Eastern democracy. Slater is not alone; Bush too, ignored Israel for most of his first term (a half-hearted “Road Map” that instantly fizzled notwithstanding). Instead of bringing peace to an already democratic Israel, Bush opted to bring war to Iraq. Bush’s allusion to the Dark Ages by referring to his ideological war in the Middle East as a “crusade” is anything but progressive.

Notably absent from Slater’s article is any discussion of Bush’s social policy. Bush’s support for scientific progress is lacking. Even ignoring stem cell research — well, take it from the (Republican) chairman of the House Science Committee: “I am very disappointed in the proposed science budget.” Additionally, Bush openly supports a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. As Slater’s fellow Yale conservative Keith Urbahn counters: “Even we ‘tyrants’ of the campus right believe that denying legal rights to those with differing sexual orientations is fundamentally wrong.”

Democratic elections in Iraq represent recent signs of progress, but Bush still has to make a lot of progress before he can be considered “progressive.”

David Reiman ’05

Feb. 9, 2005