Two weeks ago, TIME devoted nine pages to a Robert Hughes essay on Congress, America's priorities and the arts. This is an important topic worthy of serious debate. Yet, instead of debating the message, Hughes decided to attack the messengers. It is unfortunate Hughes chose to resort to name-calling: "Neanderthals," "Jurassic...[with] limbic forebrains," "insatiable Fundamentalist Christian right wing" and "Jacks-in-office" are not helpful contributions to an important discussion of our nation's priorities.

TIME's readers deserve better. It is important to present the whole picture, not the distorted outline Hughes sketches. The American people need an actual debate to understand where federal...

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