I don't think this was quite a fair accusation to make. Within this single paragraph itself, you start to down-playing the legitimate basis for the question. You asked whether specific functions of government were not being filled. Yes. The shutdown represented exactly such an instance, but you instead pivot to questioning how much damage it was "really" doing. In fact, complaints about the function of government are not a partisan phenomenon. Legislators from both sides of the aisle have bemoaned the lack of opportunities to actually legislate, and long time office-holders characterize this period as unusual. Objective statistical analyses are supportive of this notion, as the latest Congresses have been some of the most unproductive in modern history. This is interesting because contrary to conservative rhetoric that they want to be judged by the number of new laws they stop, I'd point out that they too have legislative priorities that aren't getting through. As your own post notes, a whole pile of their proposals from the House are sitting around unacted on. Finally, bills that are typically passed without any great measure of partisan controversy have had an extremely difficult time passing, as in the 3 years it took to compose a 5 year farm bill. It would perhaps be fair to characterize this as an artifact of broader polarization in the country. Alternatively, one could argue over the degree to which any of these single data points represent a meaningful, actionable trend. But I don't think it's fair, in light of all this, to simply accuse someone of cloaking partisan concerns in more lofty sounding rhetoric. Both in the short and medium term past, the government has functioned more smoothly than it is now. Asking how we could improve it isn't inherently partisan, even given the way Ghost asked the question.