Jon Stewart had a great interview with Senator Jim DeMint (R-IL) on last night's The Daily Show. You can watch the full episode here. You should really watch the extended interview (about 25 minutes) that's linked on the page.
My big takeaway from that interview was that if politicians weren't as worried about performing for their electorate, they could actually be reasonable people. From Stewart's explanation of the book, DeMint painted a very black and white picture of this country. However, when talking in a civil interview he made reasonable points about regulation, spending, etc. not being unnecessary, but needing to be more effective.
It's very easy and appealing to make someone your enemy, and start spewing the rhetoric that makes your issue look like an battle of epic proportions, pitting good versus evil. That delusion of grandeur makes it very hard to have a real debate.
While it's not likely that this is going to change anytime soon, it's always good to keep in mind.