Mallard Fillmore’s got a nice way to capture the civility problem — with a straw man followed by a tu quoque!
If President Obama charged the Republicans with wanting to kill the elderly and starve the poor, I don’t remember it. In fact, the only kill the elderly lines I remember were the old ‘death panel’ charges a few years back. (This, then, is more likely a hollow man.) So a hyperbolic line of argument to begin, but doubling down with the fallacies is… well… uncivil?
A few months back Rob Talisse and I took a shot at making the case that civility wasn’t a matter of being nice and calm, but a matter of having well-run argument. That sometimes requires goodwill, but more importantly civility is a matter of being able to argue appropriately when everyone in the conversation hates everyone else.