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Demagogues, candidates and contradictions

Tuesday, March 8, 2011; 8:40 PM

Demagoguery is defined as "making impassioned pleas to people's emotions and prejudices." George F. Will ["Mau-Mauing the fact catchers," op-ed, March 6] has done a service to all of us by highlighting the extent to which conservative talk show hosts and political leaders distort history, demonize their opponents and act as demagogues. History suggests what can happen, even in the United States, when politicians behave in these ways.

It is time for the media and civil society to take a much stronger stance toward "calling out" and stopping the demagoguery that is so prominent a characteristic of today's American politics. Failure to do so will make us all complicit in the dangerous growth of social divisions in the United States and in our failure to address the serious threats that face America's place in the world.

Richard Skolnik, Reston

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Did something happen in the past month that only George F. Will knows about? In his Feb. 3 op-ed column, he wrote, "If unemployment is still above 9 percent in 2012, almost any Republican can win, and if there is a convincing recovery the party had better nominate someone who can energize its base. That is only a theory, but this is a fact: Social conservatives are much of that base, are feeling neglected and are looking for someone like [Rick] Santorum."

On March 6, Mr. Will wrote, "Let us not mince words. There are at most five plausible Republican presidents on the horizon" - and he did distinctly did not list Mr. Santorum among them.

Jonathan Kulick, Tbilisi, Georgia

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