The adversary has no real comeback so accuses the other of "playing politics".
They're both of them politicians. Playing politics is what they do morning, noon and night; it's their profession. It's what they're paid to do...
How is it any kind of a put down to accuse a person of doing their job- especially when it's your job too?
Maybe the other guy should say, "Of course I'm playing politics. And proud of it. Politics is a noble profession or hadn't you noticed?"
Well, it would make a change. It's not good news for a democracy when even politicians profess a scorn for what they do.