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Liberals and dissent
Do Democrats try to stifle critics—or do they let them say too much?

"Now that their summer of bluster is over," said Thomas Frank in The Wall Street Journal, "conservatives may congratulate themselves on a job well done." Liberals such as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi are responding by calling for a return to civility. But, with "gale-force historical winds" at their backs, they should give back as good as they get.

Liberals are afraid to debate the conservative dissenters, said Michael Barone in the Washington Examiner. That's why, instead of arguing against his rivals on health-care reform, President Obama accused them of "telling 'lies,' employing 'scare tactics,' and playing 'games'"—essentially using "the prestige of his office to shut criticism down." Apparently, American liberals think the way to deal with opposing views is to stifle them.

It's hilarious that Barone can write that "without a trace of irony," said Michael Stickings in The Moderate Voice. If anything, the Democrats' problem is that they permit too much dissent—unlike the Republicans, who demand "lockstep marching." In fact, if Democrats would learn to be just a little less tolerant of dissent, they might get a lot more done.

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