In following the issues in the Ohio 2nd on bizzyblog, I am again reminded of the Founding Father's idea that a citizen representative, not professional legislator, was the goal. In those states and municipalities where representatives are paid little and are not required full time, citizen representatives continue to serve well. One of the arguments AGAINST citizen representatives at the federal level is that the "bureaucracy" would run roughshod over the poor hapless local yokels. Worse, "everyone" knows you need a long term stable "bureaucracy" to keep the government running smoothly when elections "disturb" the normal flow of government operations.
However, the example of the State Department all but having their own agenda regardless of the President is an argument that the bureaucracy is already way out of control.
So, what to do?
First, get rid of the permanent politician. Term limits were designed to do so, but have not fared well at the federal level. Two suggestions: first, eliminate federal pensions, from the President on down to the janitor (exception: military). The average person with a desire to serve government will do so for a period of time, get some experience, do some good, and then bail to a private firm offering retirement plans.
Second, voters have to be willing to boot even good representatives after 12 years - Senate and House.
I'm even willing to start the Citizen Party, we have no candidates, just people willing to serve. Of course, we may not have many willing to serve as the first hurdle anyone seeking office has to deal with is the very intrusive prying into the past.