Lincoln was right: You can't fool all of the people all of the time. But you don't need to. All you need is a working majority, and one way to achieve that is to convince folks that your side is all about principle while the other side is all about air-headed opportunism. That, in essence, is the theme the right has used for 40 years to deregulate finance in ways that led straight to the 2008 meltdown.
But what if it turns out that the right doesn't actually believe in the free-market "principle" it peddles? What you'd have is a giant insult added to an egregious injury.
How to interpret the response of George Will that you see at 7:30 here as anything but conservative incoherence? Will has made a career attacking as "nanny-state" liberals people who want to use government to temper market outcomes. But he can't reconcile his free-market principles with his real-world preferences.
This is the sort of cognitive dissonance that produced the system which blew up in 2008 -- and which, despite everything, is running neck-and-neck with Obama. Does that say more about public gullibility, or about Obama?