Whether you're happy that the Wall Street bailout was rejected by the House, or disappointed, one thing is abundantly clear - McCain went "all in" on the bailout, made it the single real-time test of his leadership. He quote-unquote "suspended" his campaign, so he could get down and dirty in the negotiations, and show how John McCain brings people together to get things done.
In fact, in a premature victory dance, this morning:
In a hard-hitting speech here before several thousand very enthusiastic supporters, McCain bragged about having played a leading role in the congressional agreement on a $700 billion financial sector bailout package.
"I went to Washington last week to make sure that the taxpayers of Ohio and across this great country were not left footing the bill for mistakes made on Wall Street and evil and greed in Washington," he said
It was a massive, massive fail.
Democrats delivered the votes they promised in the House. House Republicans bolted. The same House Republicans that John McCain took full credit for bringing into the fold. In fact, he was so confident that he thought he had enough in tow to pass a bill, he blustered about it all morning.
But, this wasn't just a failure in his self-created leadership test, it was a failure to even keep his finger on the pulse of his own party's caucus, showing himself to be utterly clueless as to where his House members stood, as late as this morning.
McCain likes to paint himself as the guy who can reach out his arms and bring people from all sides in for a big group embrace. This vote was when he was going to prove it.
Yet, instead, all he showed is that he's the lost, erratic, out-of-touch, flailing, impulsive gambler that the public is coming to believe he is.