Despite my initial ambivalence about John McCain’s decision to suspend his campaign and come to Washington to help hammer out a bailout deal, I later concluded his “gambit had paid off” when his rival “capitulated and agreed to come to Washington for a summit organized by President Bush.”
Yet, the one thing which troubled me about McCain’s bold move was that he didn’t leave himself any wiggle room to participate in tonight’s debate. Â I wish he had said something like this: “Should we make headway toward reaching a bipartisan compromise on a bailout bill, I’ll fly down to Oxford to debate Senator Obama.”
As a result, the MSM has portrayed his move as an “about face” (or so CNN was spinning it when I was doing my cardio about an hour ago.) Â The normally even-handed (but left-leaning) Chris Cilliza concluded that McCain blinked. Â Even a smart young conservative blogger hasÂ questioned McCain’s consistency. Â Yet, if he does well tonight, it won’t matter much to those who watch the debate (while it will to the chattering classes).
Had McCain made the caveat I wish he had made, the media would not have been able to level the charge, particularly given the progress he has made in helping air House Republican views.