As a former bartender one of the rues of discussion is no politics and no religion. Someone is going to get offended and we know how that will turn out.
Exactly, you're at a bar, you want to have a good time, you're not expecting some stranger to start questioning what your worldview and values are. When you have forum dedicated to this discussion you will be prepared and willing to be challenged.
That being said, I would love a lounge dedicated to politics. Some of the better discussions I have had which subsequently led to a newer perspective of the world around me came directly from political discussions.
Yes, there are some bright and interesting people here who I feel I might learn something interesting from that can't fully express their views because of the restrictions of the forums.
We're never going to have a civilized debate about politics if we don't keep trying to make it right. I've seen plenty of discussion that are passionately argued which don't spiral off into name calling, but these discussions are formalized and designated as such.
I sympathize with mods having to sort through all kinds of bile and trash, but I feel sometimes the most interesting threads and debates get closed prematurely because of fear they'll get out of hand.
If the fear is a political subforum will inevitably devolve, then I say have a subforum that is meant for contentious debate and unmoderated. I've see other forums do this and it isn't like a cesspool or anything, it actually becomes pretty interesting and pretty well contested.