I firmly believe corporations are sitting on mountains of cash for the simple reason they do not want to see the economy recover before the election. If unemployment cracks the 8 percent level, Obama will win.
I think that you are giving businesses too much credit in that they can be so organized that they can deter all their members from taking actions that would individually be beneficial for them. They are in a competitive environment so if one or two competitors can gain an advantage, either in profitability or market share or both, by investing and spending money, the rest would jump right in.
Yes, I can see a few ideological committed folks holding back but not the mass majority.
As has been explained on this board numerous times, it is the lack of demand by the firm's customers, whether it is other business, government or consumers.
An interesting fact that I have read is that even though there is stock bounce when a Republican becomes president/takes over Congress because investors believe the business climate would be more favourable to business, it is actually the reverse. The economy and therefore individual businesses and stocks actually do better when the Democratic party is in power, since they tend to pump more money into the economy than a Republican regime would.