When you don't have cogent arguments to make, it's tempting to just call your opponents names. That's what happened during the debate leading up to the government shutdown. The Democrats didn't have reasonable points to make, so they resorted to calling Republicans arsonists, extremists, anarchists or extortionists. Such unhelpful rhetoric from President Barack Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi added to the poisonous atmosphere in Washington and prevented compromise because of the effect that name-calling has on the process. House Republicans offered many compromises and were ignored by the name-callers.
So now we're left to wonder if a government shutdown wasn't the goal all along so Democrats and their friends in the mainstream media could blame the Republicans and call them new names.
Susan Dixon, Oklahoma City
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