In a working direct democracy, the government cannot pass legislation that'll piss a majority of the people off. Unfortunately, and that's not even limited to the US of A, a lot of people are amazingly stupid. But to get back to your examples:
How about another tax hike
Roads, schools, firemen and, well, every other public service need funding. If backed by valid reasons, few people will contest a tax hike.
how about making driking and driving laws so strict that using mouthwash 10 minutes before driving to work will put you over the legal limit
You don't get convicted on a breathalyzer readout (not in Europe, anyways. The strange things you folks overseas do are, well, strange). You'll get taken to the nearest hospital, lose a couple drops of blood and with a bit of a delay you'll be on your way without a charge. Use an alcohol-free mouthwash before your next important appointment and you're good. And again, most people prefer a couple of mouthwash-related blood alcohol tests to hordes of drunk people in control (or lack thereof) of two tons of speeding metal each. Cars are dangerous. Operating dangerous machinery while drunk is deadly.
how about the war on drugs and the laws against certain harmless ones like Pot
That one is quite sad. Basically it boils down to dumb people being afraid of things they don't understand. It's not entirely the politicians' fault, though. Check the voting records of, say, Switzerland, where public votes have been had: the disappointing turnout was some 65% of naysayers. Broaden your horizon: pot consumers tend to be in the 15-30 age bracket, and there's a whole bunch of voters aged 30+ and lots of them don't see a reason to legalize.
how about all the regulations that drive up the costs of consumer goods
Can you spell Nanny State? A lot of people do and really like the concept of it. In any case, it's easier to just regulate everything than find a great balance; and it's easier to just nod things through than propose a better alternative.
how about the laws about speed on straight roads in the middle of nowhere with no traffic
As far as I know, none of the satellite-based have left their trial stages. Save for those, you're good to go: as long as you are concentrated enough to see and react to any speeding cams, patrol cars and wild life from far enough, none of these will bother you. It's quite logical: If you speed only as much as you can actually handle, you won't be arrested because you'll already have slowed down to the speed limit in the event of a checkpoint. If you couldn't manage that, you were demonstrably going faster than you can handle and should get ticketed.
In any case, speeding cams get approval ratings of around 70% in the UK. Speed limits probably even higher. This is not the government working against you, it's the government working for the majority of voters.