I think you are looking right past the people who are helping, who have stepped up, volunteered, and are doing something. The priority isn't on giving the community fast response times. That is not a goal in and of itself. It is on making Clojure better.
>Said resources are a lot more finite than they could be.
That is arguable. If hundreds of people came up and said they wanted to help there would be real challenges in managing their efforts. It is something we'd have to grow into, in any case. I still contend dropping all impediments to rapid, ill-curated contributions is a recipe for a complete mess. As it stands, the 30-day report here (http://dev.clojure.org/jira/browse/CLJ) says 14 issues created, 14 resolved. So, we are at least keeping up, and many times doing better than that. The best way for folks at large to get involved is to patch bugs. Defect issues with patches are our first priority. I don't see any reason why we won't soon approach the no-known-outstanding-bugs state I used to maintain by myself in the early days. Enhancements are low priority.
Helping out at a higher level is something you earn by participating. If someone I don't know says they've screened a patch from someone else I don't know, what am I supposed to do with that? There is an ever-growing circle of people I trust, and, to the extent they have time to work on Clojure, I am taking advantage of that.
>There are many capable folks in the community who would be willing to help.
Being willing to help and helping are two different things. Helping means doing what needs to be done, not just what one feels like doing. If I gave someone commit rights and they whipped through and applied all outstanding patches they wouldn't be helping me or Clojure, however good it might make the patch submitters feel.
I guess Clojure is just too conservatively managed for your taste. That's fine, but I think it is the appropriate route for a language, even if it means it is somewhat slower and more of a hassle to participate in than the latest github project du jour.