After reading this comment from Glenn Greenwald, I am even more convinced of my theory now than I was a few weeks ago:
The Government begins with demands for absolute power so brazen and absurd that anything, by comparison, seems reasonable. Thus, the law that will be passed does improve on the original Paulson Plan in certain ways -- equity shares under some circumstances, some oversight provisions and mild home-owner protections -- and people thus end up grateful for what is, by any measure, an extreme outcome, all because it's not quite as extreme as what the Bush administration began by demanding.
My theory is about the Sarah Palin "Baby-gate" story and it goes as follows: As much as I want to believe the original meme that it was Bristol Palin, NOT Sarah Palin, who gave birth to Trig Palin, it's not true. In fact, that story was COMPLETELY made up by the Republican spin machine so that when the real story of Bristol Palin's pregnancy came out a couple of weeks later, it would seem much less shocking. Yet another diabolically brilliant move. Respek.