It's not really the fault of Congress, but of the voters.
Originally Posted by Roid_Rage
I'll try to make it brief
It all began with Nixon and the Southern Strategy. The GOP's entire political paradigm became about garnering and perpetuating racism of the South and white people. Over the decades, this has evolved into general bigotry, xenophobia, and religious fundamentalism, as well as it's the veil over which the corporations co-opted the party. For example, they get people to vote GOP based on fundamentalist views on guns or abortion, then they use the power they get to further push economic libertarianism and corruption.
This strategy, as well as the cascading effects of big money pushing its way into politics has shifted the spectrum further to the right. The militant vehemence of the right-wing fundamentalism has made Congress more incompetent, not because it elects stupid people (these people are actually very smart), but because the voter base from whence the politicians are elected are insane and made crazy demands that fuck everything up
Gridlock has become par for the course. The Tea Party actually wants the government to shut down. They want Obama and the Democrats to lose at ALL costs. The progressives in the Democratic Party are not so fucking stupid. This creates a dynamic where Obama doesn't have as much bargaining power as Boehner since if Obama moves to the right, he doesn't get beat up by his base, but if Boehner doesn't try to eviscerate the Democrats he gets beat up by his base. However, the Chamber of Commerce said they want a budget deal, and since they completely dictate GOP economic policy, a deal would have no choice but to be made. It gets pushed to the last minute because that's crafty bargaining and it helps keep the Tea Party from sharpening their blades on the GOP establishment.
I don't wanna say much about Obama because he pisses me off. Not for the retarded reasons that nut cases have, but because he's more right-wing than any president of our lifetime. The GOP demands 32 billion in cuts, and he gives them 38. His strategy is fucking retarded. I can't wait until the Democrats are able to elect a warrior who doesn't put up with the shit from the chimps who vote on emotion. Not sure it will ever happen though because fund-raising comes from mega-corporations, and they ultimately dictate what the politicians do. It creates a sort of "good cop, bad cop" dynamic. We need to get corporations out of politics, but that won't happen.
I think the solution to the cancer that is American corporatocracy is to leave the country and join a nation that cares about its citizens. As long as the US has a stranglehold on the rest of the world and is the hub of corporatism, our politics will not change. A populist uprising will just get drowned by the uber wealthy using a fraction of their tax cuts to propagandize and co-opt the uprising
An extremely important fact: Russ Feingold was one of the most established Senators we had, and easily one of the best in all history. He was the ONLY Senator to vote against the Patriot Act its first time around, for example. He hailed from the original progressive state, Wisconsin, yet got his ass handed to him in 2010. How? Because the billionaire Koch brothers gave his opponent mountains of cash. If even the most honest, established, and populous of politicians can get beaten by corporate cash, what chance do we stand? There is a little hope in that after Koch-funded Wisconsin governor Walker tried to destroy the unions, the people are fighting back and talking about a recall. If, and it's an enormous "if", a recall happened then we would have probably the biggest progressive victory in decades, and it would be a huge wakeup call. It would show that even billionaires can't defeat the American people. On the flip side, it won't happen because voters have dreadful attention spans, and the unions are still losing in a "two steps back, one step forward" kind of way
Another important point is that swing-voters and new voters cast their ballots based on how good or bad their situation is and which candidate/party is/isn't currently in power. If the economy stayed in the ditch for ten election cycles, all you would see on a macro scale is every two-four years, incumbents getting voted out. Humans are chimps with longer gestation. We don't know WTF we're doing with politics, so we vote on completely retarded criteria that opens us up to the easiest of exploitation, and thus an "incompetent" Congress.
All I can say is, politics is important. Pay attention to who says what, why, their history, and who pays them, then vote/donate/volunteer accordingly. We are in the beginnings of a progressive movement, BTW. The internet and shifting demographics are very slowly marginalizing the old, white, uneducated fundamentalists who have a noose around the neck of the nation's policy
As far as sources go. Browse Huffington Post for basic news, read ThinkProgress for more in depth and important topics, and watch The Young Turks for the best and most unbiased analysis available. Something I like to do is find an active science/skeptic forum with a politics subforum. That is probably the best way to get news and opinion as you end up getting more honesty, originality, and actual facts than from journalism. For example: the main board I use has several nuclear and chemical specialists/enthusiasts who provide a much more informed perspective of the Fukushima reactor than any of the garbage on literally any media I've seen. Even my favorite Young Turks have gotten way too much wrong on Fukushima and nuclear in general. Cenk is awesome on US politics and policy though.