Okay, maybe it's not quite that simple. Close, though.
But to understand politics in America, you have to realize that while the Democratic Party is a liberal party, the Republican Party is not a conservative party. Theirs is not a symmetrical relationship.
The Republican Party is not even the party of free enterprise. It is merely the party of established big business, which often has a decidedly anti-free-market bent and is more interested in maintaining the status quo than in freeing up the economy.
This gives Democrats a tremendous advantage, in that the ideology of liberalism is cohesive. They are the party of "change". Let's say it another way: they exist to tear down established institutions. It doesn't matter what the institution is, they are happy to hit it with a wrecking ball.
But what is the ideology of the Republicans? It's hard to dress up "we like to look out for our rich friends" as a philosophy. So they bang the drum of "conservatism" if they think it will win elections. But there really is no such thing as a conservative ideology -- not now, nor ever. William Buckley and many others strove to create one, but the sad fact is what we see as conservatism is simply a loose and quarreling coalition of people who are in conflict with liberalism. Those who fight liberalism tend to congregate around the Republican Party more or less by default -- there's nowhere else to go.
So the Republicans are glad to accept their votes and their money, but more often than not have no intention to further any other agenda but that of taking care of their rich buddies. In fact, on an issue such as the Great Bailout, there's something in it for Democrats and Republicans. For the Democrats, there's the taking down of Wall Street; for the Republicans, there's power-brokering and cronyism.
This leaves out conservatives: those who want smaller government, those who like economic freedom, those who want a smaller tax bite.
Not in the cards, guys. You may have won this round. But the fight's not over. God bless them, a few Republicans stood up for economic freedom today. All that means is, in round two, Bush will have to promise the liberals something a little more evil to get more Democratic votes on board.