Last Sunday, Rachel Maddow gave a speech at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. It's an excellent talk: Maddow's main point is that the high temperature fighting that goes on between opposing factions on cable news is not bad for the media - ratings and revenues for that kind of thing are through the roof -- but it does not contribute to governing the country. Just like mortgage swaps mean that banks are no longer invested in keeping people in their homes, when a person like Sarah Palin or Sharron Angle can use FOX News to play at politics without actually having a stake in governing the nation, they have no interest in actually solving the problems our country faces. That lack of investment in actual solutions, and ability to gain political traction (and raise money) without actually doing the work of governing, is, from Maddow's perspective, bad for politics and bad for government.
She said the lines between governing and campaigning have been erased, and the climate of intense campaigning usually reserved for the final days of political campaigns exists constantly now.
This climate, she said, creates problems for governance. As an example, she said that newly-elected Republican congressmen have been told not to join committees because committee membership is bad for future campaigns. “Committees are where Congress does a lot of its work, in, you know, making laws and stuff,” she said.
(We're still looking for a transcript if you see one online please leave a link in comments - thanks).
UPDATE: Heather: I did not find transcript but did find an embeddable video.