I'm a furloughed government worker and very frustrated at the lack of compromise from both parties. I know the overall perception of government workers is not very high, but we do provide a service for those programs many individuals and companies benefit from every day. My work is no less demanding than many private sector employees.
My assessment of this impasse really falls on the reality that the Democrats are too far left and Republicans are too far right to come to a consensus and compromise. Their ideologies are way too divergent.
I think the Republicans believe the only way they can bargain is to use the budget and debt ceiling because the Democrats won't discuss changes to their legislation.
Democrats have a way of accusing Republicans for holding the public hostage due to the right wing. But a reasonable person who views both parties would have to conclude a lack of negotiation on either side. We need a president regardless of party to be a mediator and who is willing to consider both sides. I don't see President Obama being that man.