Each side has drawn lines in the sand, painting itself into corners that prevent true dialog with the other party. The parties spend their energy invalidating the other and talking in extreme terms to their audiences back home rather than acknowledging that (1) there may be some validity to each other's points of view, and (2) that regardless of how they feel about the other parties and their views, progress can only be achieved by working together.
For the past few decades, the country has been divided almost evenly on many issues. Every time one side gains a small advantage, it acts as if it has a mandate to roll over everyone else and charges off to shift the country in its direction. Invariably, after a short while, there is a backlash that shifts things in the other direction, giving the other side a small advantage, which it then seizes as a mandate.
It's time both sides of any issue realize that they don't have a mandate and that theirs is not the only valid point of view. They need to realize they won't win unilaterally, at least not for long enough to make a difference, and that finding commonalities with the other side is the way to make sustainable progress.
In this debate, I don't think you will find too many people who thing a high deficit and large national debt is a great idea, no matter who you ask. I don't think that you'll find too many people who think that taxing an already struggling middle class is a good thing during a fragile economy.
If Republicans and Democrats stop talking at each other and start talking to each other, they will find they have a lot more in common than they think. If they can stop posturing to their base and working to undermine each other, they might actually find solutions that address our economic problems and promote future prosperity.