I always looked up to Olympia Snowe even if I didn’t always agree with her. She has an Op-Ed in the LA Times that is worth reading:
Instead, Congress has arrived at a moment when policy-making has been virtually abandoned. It has devolved into a series of “gotcha” votes for political leverage. Rather than legislating, it’s all about “messaging” amendments, which aren’t designed to solve a problem but to create the basis for appeals to each party’s political base and 30-second soundbites for the next election.
As a consequence, Congress lurches from one self-inflicted crisis to another, and that is no way to govern. This abdication of leadership has led us directly to a government shutdown and a potential default on our country’s financial obligations that profoundly threaten our economy precisely as we struggle to emerge from the worst post-recession recovery in our history.