From Springfield Illinois, 2/10/2016:
The point I’m trying to make is I care about fixing our politics not only because I’m the President today, or because some of my initiatives have been blocked by Congress — that happens to every President, happens to every governor, happens to everybody who participates — anybody who participates in a democracy. You’re not going to get 100 percent of what you want all the time.
The reason this is important to me is, next year I’ll still hold the most important title of all, and that’s the title of citizen. And as an American citizen, I understand that our progress is not inevitable — our progress has never been inevitable. It must be fought for, and won by all of us. […]
We’ve got to build a better politics — one that’s less of a spectacle and more of a battle of ideas; one that’s less of a business and more of a mission; one that understands the success of the American experiment rests on our willingness to engage all our citizens in this work.
And that starts by acknowledging that we do have a problem. And we all know it. What’s different today is the nature and the extent of the polarization. […]
this isn’t just an abstract problem for political scientists. This has real impact on whether or not we can get things done together. This has a real impact on whether families are able to support themselves, or whether the homeless are getting shelter on a cold day. It makes a difference as to the quality of the education that kids are getting. This is not an abstraction. […]
… I do want to offer some steps that we can take that I believe would help reform our institutions and move our system in a way that helps reflect our better selves. And these aren’t particularly original, but I just want to go ahead and mention them.
He went on to mention money in politics, gerrymandering, and making it easier to vote.
One speech will not fix all that ails our republic but this speech, if anyone cared to listen to it, has a good roadmap.
Thank you, President Obama.