If one views McCain’s decision to suspend campaigning as a campaign gambit — and it’s hard, in this cynical world, to see it outside that context — it appears to be one that paid off.
Congress reaches a deal, he appears at the White House with an air of having gotten the job done (WITH Obama, thereby emphasizing bipartisanship over grubbing for personal electoral advantage), and he goes ahead with the debate Friday night, having made the gesture to put the nation’s business first, yet not having the painful choice of either a) blinking first and showing up without a deal on the bailout or b) being the cause of the absurd spectacle of Obama standing there facing an empty lectern.
If nothing else, he’s shifted the focus to himself more than otherwise — which can easily work against him still, of course. Instead of "leader who puts the country ahead of politicking" he can look like "reckless gambler who will risk it all on a throw of the dice."
But we’ll see. Things are moving fast today.