Waiting For McCain
Last night I was driving on the freeway listening to Mara Liasson tell me all about McCain's debate gambit and realized that the news media was going to cover the story with a "waiting for Biden" vigil. It's their favorite kind of story. They can spend the next two days speculating about something they can't possibly know the outcome of. What's not to like?
It's possible that Bush actually thinks he helped McCain by demanding the meeting and dragging Obama back to Washington. But I think he may have thrown a monkey wrench into his mavericky plans by trying to get both candidates to hold hands and accept the bill. Mccain desperately wants to vote against this thing, but if he has to accept it, I have no doubt that McCain didn't want to be anywhere near him at the moment, preferring to be seen marching into meetings from which emerge details of his hard knuckled demands that everybody "stop the bullshit."
Of course, I've been wrong about this before. I assumed that when Bush defied all logic and initiated the surge after having just lost the congress to anti-war Democrats, that he'd seriously messed up McCain's electoral hopes by taking away his ability to run against the administration on Iraq from the right. It didn't work out that way. The surge ended up having some press friendly short term success so McCain took credit for it and now he's seen by too many people as some kind of foreign policy oracle.
So, it's theoretically possible that could happen now. He may be backed into supporting the bailout in which case he has to hope that it works fast and that they can diffuse the "economy story" long enough for him to get elected. One thing you can bet on is that if McCain votes for the bill, he will certainly take credit for having knocked the heads together to make it happen.
And if it happens before tomorrow, he'll say it was a result of his cunning, well-timed threat to cancel the debate and force a resolution. I don't think it will work, but it's all he's got.
Update: A deal has been struck among the congressional negotiators. No details yet. Also no word on whether the House republicans and the Bush administration agree. And we still don't know if McCain will vote for it (or Obama, for that matter.)
Oddly, and very surprisingly, Gallup's daily tracking and the new WSJ/NBC poll show McCain and Obama tied. Very wierd.
Update II: more evidence that McCain may be leaving his options open in order to vote against the bill.