Michael Moran has a good piece in Slate this morning about why voters (or more specifically, non-voters) are to blame for a Congress that can’t compromise and forge real economic solutions. He argues that in non-presidential-election years like 2010, we abdicate our responsibility by trusting our nation to:

“the hands of political hacks representing fringe minority factions within each political party whose primary incentive is to avoid providing ammunition to the other side. Thus has our political system turned a simple question of accounting into an economic version of the Arab-Israeli conflict — a conflict for which the solution has been clear for 40 years if only either side were willing to deal with reality.”

I agree with Moran, to a point. The problem isn’t just that voters, who give Congress an approval rating of 9%, keep sending these hacks back to Washington. It’s that we rarely get a real alternative, a non-incumbent who would make a difference without falling into the money-fueled corruption that drives our political class. Only on rare occasions can a newbie break through, and even then, it’s tough for them to make a difference when surrounded by what Mad magazine used to call “the usual gang of idiots.”