As far as I can tell:
Paulson brings a horrible, horrible plan to the table and asks congress to approve it.
American public goes 'OMGWTF' and panics and protests. Because what Paulson asked for was *really horrible*.
Congress spends a week refining the plan to make it less obviously horrible (not sure whether it was actually less horrible, but it sounded a lot better). Eventually, they reach bipartisan agreement that this is something both parties can live with.
Pelosi tries and fails to sneak the bill through without a roll-call as an amendment to a puppies for veterans measure (or something like that). Nope! Congress has to actually vote on it.
Representatives, when put on the spot and told to vote 'yes' or 'no' on what's still at its heart a version of a measure that the American public hates, a few weeks before the election, chicken out.
Everyone blames the other party for (a) supporting the bill, (b) not supporting the bill enough, (c) not convincing them to support the bill, (d) creating the conditions that made the bill necessary through incompetence, (e) deliberately creating the conditions that made the bill seem necessary, (f) hurting their feelings. No, I'm not making (f) up.
Supposedly, this will make it literally impossible to borrow money from anyone for any purpose, and therefore destroy the economy. It's probably true that if it did become literally impossible to borrow money, it would effectively destroy the economy. I don't see that actually happening -- I mean, there's always the mafia, right?