It's hard to ignore the reality that we have become a very bitter country. Politics is the means by which we address societal challenges. It is rarely a pretty process, and the rancorous tone of the debate has become dispiriting. Real change comes from us not from government. Ask yourself; what type of energy are you bringing to the world?
I have often thought that political science outside the public policy process is generally an exercise in intellectualism. Not that there isn't a place for the straight up study of political theory. For goodness sake, pure political philosophy got us Rousseau, Voltaire, Locke, Marx, and many, many more, but we should not pretend that there is direct or easy applicability. That said, I think that the biggest failing of the study of public policy, public administration, and/or public affairs is that it often neglects political science, which risks making the process of public policy formulation irrelevant and esoteric. The two disciplines need one another. No one need Tom Coburn, though. What a blowhard! He is such a budget hawk that it blinds him to everything else. That type of single mindedness is really simple mindedness.
Another thought... it could be that the reason politicians like Coburn don't find direct applicability in political science is because they fail to comprehend the research and are unable to think abstractly and draw the lessons out of the research. I think many elected officials want to be presented with an orange and then be told that it is an orange and that means... XYZ. Do some critical thinking, people!!!