I don't think we need be frightened about arguments that are carried out in an open way. And it's not just politics. We can argue about anything. Most of the time it stays pretty civilized, and even when it gets heated, no reral harm gets done.
What messes things up isn't that, it's when people start doing things like posting anonymously, or in the name of other people (even with the GUEST prefix, it can still happen)- especially when this is done as a way of bullying people into doing things the way the bullies wish. As PeterT says, this seems to have died down recently, though no doubt it'll come again.
Mudcat is as good as we can make it. Sometimes that is very good indeed.