Ezra Klein wrote What Obama would say at the State of the Union if he were being brutally honest. Read the whole thing, but here's the meat of it:
No one likes the answer I'm about to give, but it's the right one. The political system isn't built like a family. It's not designed like a business. It's much more like a football game.
In a family, everyone cares for each other, everyone is working towards the same goal, everyone would throw themselves in front of a truck to make sure the others are safe and healthy and happy. A family is built to find agreement.
The government isn't a business either. It doesn't work towards a single goal. It can't judge itself based off stock price or profit margin. And it isn't built to make decisions or to be held accountable for them. When a company has a disagreement about its direction, there's someone with the power — an owner, a CEO, a board — to make a decision. A business isn't built to find agreement the way a family is, but it's built to force a resolution to disagreements when necessary.
You want to know the truth? Government, or at least the political system, is like a football game. You ever think about why football games are they way they are? You have all these guys hitting each other so hard they cause each other permanent brain damage. So why do they do it? Why do kids who aren't getting paid a cent do it?
It's not because they hate each other. They're hitting their friends. In practice, they're hitting their teammates. They're hurting people they love.
They do it because that's how the game works. They do it because the rules are you line up in front of the other team and then you hit them as hard as you can. They do it because, for one side to win, the other has to lose. And they do it because, if they don't do it, they're off the team. Football has no place for conscientious objectors.
The honest truth is that that's how politics works, too. We've got two teams. And only one of them can win the election. So they line up and they hit each other as hard as they can. They don't cooperate because the rules don't let them cooperate. They don't agree because agreeing means losing — and losing is political death. Losing means you can't help the people you came here to help.