Astounding isn't it how politicians keep finding new ways to disappoint - new ways to fall short of any residual hopes we have on wicked social, economic, and environmental problems.
This underperformance explains why faith in the problem solving capacity of democratic representation is collapsing, and why the glib simplicity of populism attracts many.
Professionalisation has ensured that parliamentary politics is now a game played almost entirely to the advantage of its practitioners.
Unembarrassable ministers stick like limpets to asinine "talking point" scripts crafted to sidestep pressing issues of public concern.
Those caught in the most egregious boondoggles such as the sports rorts scandal, doggedly resist resigning despite community outrage and even when forced out, depart on the narrowest technicality to facilitate an early return.
Others such as Emissions Reduction Minister Angus Taylor who, among other things, sent a forged document to Sydney City Council (and a friendly newspaper) replete with fabricated claims about the council's international travel bill, feel no obligation to explain who confected the document, how he came to have it, and why?
Events in the US show, not merely that democratic accountability has evaporated, but how brazen governments are becoming in the low expectation environment they have themselves created.
Despite the evidence, not one Republican senator agreed that the Donald Trump had obstructed Congress and only one - Mitt Romney - agreed that by unfreezing military aid to a friendly government while seeking a political favour, Trump had breached his oath of office.
A majority to convict in one house became a minority in the other, lickety-split. Trump's defenders saw no value in providing even a fig-leaf of genuine rigour before agreeing he had acted "perfectly".
Why test the evidence when you can jump straight to positioning the President's accusers as treasonous assassins?
Despite a growing public clamour for decisive climate action, there are worrying signs that the political class is tooling up for war.
In just three years, Trump has remade the party of Lincoln and Reagan in his own vainglorious image - a signature moment surely in America's surrender to authoritarianism.
In Australia, a nation now seen around the world as the cooked canary in the global coal mine, a brutal summer of death and habitat destruction has simultaneously hardened community resolve to confront a climate emergency, and emboldened support for yet more coal-mining.
In circumstances one would think ideal for a growing centre-ground political consensus, there are worrying signs of further polarisation.
In Tory-governed Britain there is progress, but not in reactionary Australia - a country hamstrung by third-rate leaders gifted in stirring fear and division, but unwilling to do the hard work of consensus-building.
Coal workers, a small subset of the workforce, have been elevated to most valued Australians status. Their economic future is now ranked ahead of the vast majority of workers in other industries whose livelihoods and assets may be directly threatened by global warming.
Where was that protection as the Australian car industry died?
Yet on both sides of the parliamentary establishment in Australia, a surfeit of righteousness and ambition makes egress from this cul de sac functionally unlikely.
Personnel changes and feckless leadership tilts - even unsuccessful ones such as the latest Barnaby Joyce debacle on February 4 - portend an even more difficult debate on emissions, just as the community pulls together.
Consider the two wingtips of mainstream Australian politics. On the left, the Greens party has now switched to Adam Bandt - a rhetorical heavy-hitter whose language stokes the base, but seems less suited to the project of productive cross-party talks or building his own party's preparedness to give ground.
"These catastrophic bushfires have happened at 1 degree (of warming), Scott Morrison's plan is for at least three times as much pain, three times as much suffering and three times as many deaths at least, because that is what is in store for us if we keep on going the way the government has us going," Bandt said in his first press conference as leader.
So blunt was this that it was Labor's Anthony Albanese sounded Morrison's defence.
"Being engaged in abuse ... in my view, isn't a great way to bring people with you," the Opposition Leader told the ABC. "I don't think that you advance your cause, your objective, by coming up with strong rhetoric that has people who agree with you agreeing with you even stronger." True.
Now jump across to the Nationals on the right wing.
Michael McCormack is the Deputy Prime Minister (no less) but is leader of his party pro-tem following his near-death experience in the Barnaby Joyce challenge.
Only weeks ago, McCormack, remember, slammed "pure, enlightened and woke capital city greenies" for having the temerity to even mention climate change in the context of the fires.
Yet if anything, McCormack can be expected to ratchet up that kind of intemperate language now in the hope of keeping Joyce and his fellow pro-coal hardliners - Matt Canavan, George Christensen among them - at bay.
So, despite a growing public clamour for decisive climate action, there are worrying signs that the political class is tooling up for war.
The Chinese have a saying that the best time to plant a tree was ten years ago. Australia has already lost a decade of economic adjustment and powerful international diplomacy to dumb politics.
Addressing the National Press Club yesterday, an upbeat Chief Scientist, Alan Finkel insisted that we should nonetheless remain optimistic.
"We're on our way, we can do this," he said. The question for our politicians is "can they?"
- Mark Kenny is senior fellow at the ANU's Australian Studies Institute and hosts the popular podcast Democracy Sausage.