I tend to agree with you on this...the checks and balances.
My personal politics don't really fit into any party, they are so far left.
I guess I have more of a socialist leaning, if anything.
When I do vote, I try to think of what will be good for America and the State of Washington, as a whole. This is definitly coloured by my ultra-liberal mind and heart, but I try to get the whole picture involved.
I have really thought about politics more in the past 15 years, or so, than I have ever done before. And it all makes me crazy. I have pretty much quit watching the news, because it makes me want to rip my hair out.