The Republican Party, and far too much of the Democratic Party, are market fanatics. That’s an ideological statement, but I think it’s also a fact with a lot of substantive supporting evidence. Fanaticism is both demonstrable and dangerous. You can see it in action simply by watching the Tea Party caucus in Congress. The impasse is a conscious and often explicit strategy and it’s rooted in the market religion.
I’m no fan of liberals, and too often the liberal solution to any given problem is horrible, but the current Democratic Party, the party of President Clinton, is pragmatic to a fault and so willing to compromise. Arguably, they are too willing to compromise. So the governmental impasse that is slowing down the economic recovery isn’t symmetrical, even if each side is ideologically more similar than is too often assumed.
The Republican strategy is different because it is founded in an irrational faith in markets that may or may not be cynical or self-serving. Do they really believe that the economy will take off if we were to eliminate environmental regulations? Is it simply that they get paid to say these things? It’s hard to say. What is clear is that the audience for the market religion has been consciously cultivated over the last three decades.
The idea of a “free market” is no more substantive than “creationist” theories; markets are many things but they are never free. Yet groups like the Koch brothers, and their allies in higher education, like the ACTA, continue to insist that any “exchange of ideas” about economics must treat the market religion as a rational system and not a faith. I think their creepy desire to collect email is a hunt for converts to their cult.