I'm just going to crib Krugman on this:
Urk. I just gave up on the presidential press conference. When Obama declared that Americans rejected Democrats in part because “We were in such a hurry to get things done that we didn’t change how things got done,” I checked out.
Nobody cares about this stuff — they care about results. Nobody really cares about earmarks; they’re just code for spending less (less on somebody else, of course, not me). Nobody cares about civility and bipartisanship, which in practice are code for Democrats giving in to Republican demands. Nobody cares about parliamentary maneuvers: we can argue about the role of health reform in the election, but I bet not one voter in 50 knows or cares that it was passed using reconciliation (as were the sacred Bush tax cuts we must, must retain).
If Obama had used fancy footwork and 2 AM sessions to pass a big public works program, and this program had brought unemployment down, Republicans would be screaming about the process — and Democrats would have comfortably held control of Congress. Remember the voter backlash against the way Medicare drug benefits were passed? Neither do I.
Oh, by the way — nobody cares about the deficit, either.
People's obsession with bipartisanship, "changing the tone" "reaching across the aisle" amounts to two things: they are sick of listening to gasbags on TV and they want their preferred policies enacted (which they always believe is the bipartisan position.) If by "changing the way Washington works" he means ending the fighting, then he's being idiotic.
If, however, Obama means they want to get the money out of the system and stop the lobbyist driven transactional politics, then I think he might be on to something. That's a process that does alarm people, even though the media (which skims a huge amount off the top) pooh-poohs it. I'm guessing that if the political class doesn't make some move to counteract this, they are going to find themselves with some third party bids, possibly from both sides. The Democrats would be idiots not to work that angle hard before that happens. (Sadly, they are making sounds like they are going to try much harder for a piece of the pie instead.)