Jason Linkins on Huffpo has this to say why our political situation is so messed up.
Duh, Follow the MONEY
As I recently pointed out in the Financial Times, a tidal wave of political cash that emerged in the 1970s has washed away the remnants of the old seniority system in Congress, drastically changing the way that body operates. In its place, Congress now uses a system of "posted prices" for selecting who serves on committees and assumes leadership positions. Individual members of Congress compete for key slots by raising enormous amounts of money not only for themselves, but for the national congressional and senatorial campaign committees. These are controlled by Congressional party leaders. The leaders' control of these committees, along with the vast fixed investments in research, polling, and media capabilities these committees maintain, gives them more leverage over individual Congressmen and women. It makes crossing party lines far more costly than, for example, in the nineteen fifties.
In dividing so sharply and refusing compromises, Congress is listening primarily to those who contribute political money, not the public.