Whether one watches Fox News or MSNBC, reads The New York Times or the Wall Street Journal, it has become difficult to view the United States as anything but a game of political dodgeball, with two opposing teams that loath one another trying to knock the other out by whistling partisan fastballs at any vulnerable opponent. Gone are the days of what Richard Nixon liked to call “the great silent majority” — a phrase he appropriated from Homer, who used it to describe the dead. There is not much silence in politics these days. Nor is there much reasonable discourse. Screeching has largely taken its place.