One can argue that given our current situation the two party system has some real failings, despite our advantages. There is real discontent with both parties. This suggests some sort of problem. Reasonable questions include asking how and why we got here. Although there are multiple reasons, three major factors keep coming up: Special interest money, rigid political and religious ideology and self-interest before public interest. The last one is hard to pin down. Politicians in office rarely admit they put self-interest above the public interest. However, politicians out of office occasionally do . . .
A recent example is comments made by former California legislative leader Willie Brown, who recently said that the the civil service system was "set up so politicians like me couldn't come in and fire the people (relatives) hired by the guy they beat and replace them with their own friends and relatives. . . . . . Talking about this is politically unpopular and potentially even career suicide for most officeholders." . . .
Another example is from former senator Max Cleland (D-Georgia). . . . After losing his senate seat to Saxby Chambliss in the 2002 elections, Mr. Cleland admitted that he voted in favor of invading Iraq, even though he was not convinced by the Bush administration's evidence for Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. He admitted he did that partly because of deference to the Bush administration and partly because of political self-interest. . . . .
So, what can be done? If this really is a human trait, it won't go away. As argued here before, one way to affect political behavior is to increase transparency. Obviously, that won't be completely effective, but it would help. . . .
From California Moderates via Rise of the Center: