Maybe it's smart positioning to be against the bailout. It's unpopular and, like the Iraq war, will most likely remain so even if it works. And I know conservatives dread having it lorded over them by liberals for the rest of their lives. As Pat Toomey of the Club for Growth put it: "Many politicians are using the current struggle to make free-market capitalism the scapegoat for the economy's troubles when in fact government played a major role in getting us into this mess."
If I were in Congress, I'd vote for the bailout, and then press hard for tax and entitlement reform before the annual deficit hits a trillion.
But I don't think being for the bailout means you're either buying into the efficacy of big government or into the theory that the credit crisis is a free-market failure. Rather than risk a financial collapse, the MellonHeads might want to spend more time making the case how big government caused a mess only big government can fix and how we can avoid a repeat.
UPDATE 2:25PM: Pethokoukis's next post, on his back-and-forth with Newt Gingrich, is worth a read, however.