Why is government the center of the battle?
So we all are asking why the Republican leadership is so clearly irrational and so obviously ignore clear indisputable facts. Let me offer a reason, one I consider likely.
Who are these irrational conservative leaders?
I think they see the current economic downturn as normal and inevitable. It is a real bad patch for the holders of the conservative worldview because their worldview includes faith that there simply is nothing that can be done to prevent such downturns, and that in fact efforts to stop the economic downturn or even to alleviate its effects will be counterproductive.
Why do the conservatives think they should enforce their views on the rest of us?
What leads them to believe that this is an effective way of acting?
It looks to me as though the current Republican leaders consist of both religious and secular strong believers with this view. They live in mostly self-isolated groups of their own kind and reinforce each other. Socially I would guess that the conservative movement resembles movements like that of the Catholic Franciscans or the Jesuits. [Both of those were externally financed, as are the modern conservatives.] [Historical analogies are always very imperfect, but they provide an explanatory narrative not otherwise easily obtained. Use with great care.]
So what's next? How do we react to the conservatives?
Those conservative leaders see their role as leaders who hold the banner of their faith high as they trudge through the wilderness. They expect that the (uncontrollable) events will turn around and justify them. Then they will return to national leadership with greatly enhanced reputations for having suffered to expose The Truth. The secular conservative leaders look back to their myth of the way Winston Churchill was rehabilitated by the crisis of WW II. Their supporters want them to do exactly that.
So we have to convince the so-called Independents that they are simply wrong. Then we have to battle back against the True Believers who are trying to impress their views on all the rest of us. We aren't going to reach or convert the True Believers.
The True Believers are waiting for Obama to fail. They are convinced that Obama's failure is inevitable because he is attempting the impossible. They know that government cannot successfully prevent, ward off or shorten a Recession or Depression, and when the current one returns, so will they.
We better have an Army of Economists and researchers figuring out what really is happening. Knowledge, not Great Leaders, is the key to dealing with this. [Of course, Obama will be considered a Great Leader if he can orchestrate the knowledge and appropriate reactions to the current economic crisis.] History of the Great Depression is important. But so is modern economic model-making. Both must be accompanies with real, wide-open scientific discussion which is not hobbled by conservatives who refuse to listen to opposition.
Social Science better come through with some answers that work, or the True Believers will be back to enforce their ideologies on the rest of us.
Why are the conservative Republican leaders acting so irrationally?
They are in the same position as the Republican Party was in the 1930's. And for the same reasons. That's why.