The first time something unexpected happens, there's a strong reaction. The more often it happens, the more we get used to the fact that it will happen, and we become numb to it. It's true of any form of stimulus. (If women understood this, they'd rule the world.)
So, the lack of shock value isn't because we keep lowering the bar; it's a result of the fact that no matter how tall the pedestal, our leaders keep falling down.
Who in their right mind wants the stress of running the free world for a measly $200k or so a year, when you can make 100x that in the private sector with equivalent skills? That same question pares down lots of great candidates for cabinet posts, etc. We're left with flawed people who have any variety of psychological issues running the joint, because everyone else is still in their right minds.
If we had it to do over again, I wonder how different a new democracy would look given the results of our experiment thus far.
First, I think the Oath of Office would have several new codicils. It might take 30 minutes to get sworn in but it might just eliminate some of the bullshit in the next 48 months.
Second, you have to take LSATs to get in law school, MSATs to get in Medical School. I think a really well written test should be developed for President and Congress. BSSATs. At least from this point on future Senators and Presidents would know Sunnis and Shiites and that Canada was NOT "overseas". It might also be good to have some advanced Economics in that test, if for no other reason to see who takes their shoes off to use their toes to count.
Seriously, I think there are plenty of people who would run that are in the business world but they won't get elected because they don't say the right things to get elected to the Presidency. Perot, Forbes, Bloomberg, Rockefeller [Nelson and J]. Someone like Bill Gates or Michael Dell have the ego, money and skillset to do the job but whether they would have the passion or inclination is another question.
There are literally hundreds of half Billionaires from the Dot.com era and Wall Street that have a better skillset. The problem is, the parties want politicians who they can control and they can't control a Jack Welch or Bill Gates.