Now we're getting somewhere... I was just having dinner tonight with a good friend and we were discussing General Powell's recent rant on someone having to be willing to compromise before the whole system comes to a grinding halt (paraphrasing). I think his was a more heart felt and frustrated voice than the lip service usually given these sentiments. BUT, underlying it all is the idea that government work is a party issue - Once you get past a cabinet, or a council, or a board - political affiliations mean so little to the people answering child abuse hotlines or working to fill potholes. Ironically - the closer to the voter, the less the politics play... Yet at high levels we seem to think it will get food stamps delivered quicker if we make a deal to extend benefits if you'll also throw in building a road and paying for a study on the mating patterns of the Three-Spined Stickleback fish in my district.
I totally agree that the beltway is more old guard than many other areas, and also the most highly covered by the publications that monitor our work... Another reason I think if it is going to be - it's up to the life-long public servants to make it happen!