Fixes are possible. Put simply, reverse the "reforms" of 1974.
Abolish the individual limits on campaign contributions but require public disclosure on the Web. Democrats James Carville and Paul Begala recently proposed making this the basis of creating a new campaign-finance system. But beyond this lies the question of whether Democrats and Republicans want to fix Washington. Are they really separate parties, or just one entity--the Beltway Party?
I don't see how the Democrats have any practical or ideological incentive to stop the federal government's inexorable 70-year-long growth. This is what they want--more. For them, the Abramoffs of the world are reindeer pulling Santa's sleigh. By contrast, the Blunt-Boehner-Shadegg fight for the House leadership is an ideological argument over what Republicans should be amid a federal establishment that metastasized after the 1974 changes.
The failed 1974 Budget Act, which released the earmark and spending ghouls, makes clear that some workable form of presidential spending control has to be in the game. Presidential line-item veto power would require a constitutional amendment. Real rescission authority would help, but that has to pass through Congress and maybe a court challenge. Oh gosh, I almost forgot. Unlike from 1960 to 1994, the Republicans control Congress, and arguably all three branches of government. Does that matter? We'll find out this November and in 2008, when Republicans will either vote or sit.
Good article discussing how the reforms of 1974 helped create the lobbyist and special interest zoo that Washington, DC has become. Not all "reforms" are truly beneficial.