And so it all comes into focus. Per Marc Ambinder, it seems that chatter on the Hill is that John McCain will come back to DC to destroy any compromise on a Wall Street bailout, rather than save it:
My colleague Nora McAvalnah tells me that sources close to Senate Democratic leadership now fear that McCain's true motivation for calling off his campaign and coming back to DC is simply to cast a "no" vote against the bailout, despite his private statements to the contrary. And it's a smart maneuver: nothing says "maverick," like voting against Bush and standing with the American public, who remain very wary of the proposal.
If McCain votes no, that kills it. Republicans who wanted to vote no will feel they have the cover, and will bail out (pun intended).
What's that gain McCain? Well, besides him being able to be on the opposite side of George W. Bush (and lumping Obama in with the President), it keeps a deal from being reached, and thus a reason to weasel out of Friday night's debate. McCain, by destroying the deal, will be able to say they're now working on a timeline of hours, not days, and there's not a second to spare.
It puts Obama in a tough spot, because McCain, through his vote, will have put everything back to square one. Negotiations for this deal took about a week. Now, they'll have to craft a new deal before the weekend is done.
Country First or Running Like Hell From George Bush and Debates First?