10/25/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

McCain Requests to Cancel Friday's Debate. Is he an Unstable Single Track Man in A Multiple Track World?

John McCain has said he's suspending his campaign and going to Washington to work on the economic plan to deal with the economic crisis.

He did something similar to this at the beginning of the Republican National Convention, when hurricane Gustav was approaching the Gulf Coast. It was a great excuse to disinvite George Bush and Dick Cheney from making what had been obligatory, but really, unwanted, undesirable appearances.

Now, McCain, poll results plummeting due to his economic commentary gaffes, seems to be pulling another cancellation play.

This time though, he doesn't have the cooperation of people in his party. He's made a commitment to engage in what has become a core tradition of campaigns -- a face to face debate. There has been much speculation over his ability to face Obama, even on the topic which is supposed to be his strong suit -- foreign policy and international relations.

But we know that for weeks, McCain's campaign team has refused to allow McCain or Palin to engage in question and answer, open discussions, let alone conversations with the press. He cancelled, for example, an interview with Larry King, after CNN purportedly gave a campaign staffer too tough a time.

A Fox News commentator spins this as "precisely the out of the box, maverick, in your face" style we are accustomed to from McCain.

But is this maverick action or does this show that McCain can't handle dealing with more than one issue, one crisis at a time? Does it show how McCain is undependable and can't be expected to follow through on what he commits to, especially if it's not something he really wants to do? Are we encountering examples of "the dog ate my homework?"

McCain seems willing to pull these "let's not be partisan" moments when it is convenient. He talks big about putting the country ahead of politics, but the circumstances have been such obvious examples where he benefits by taking these purportedly nation-first, "principled" withdrawals from commitments. One has to wonder how often he'll use the weather or discussions in congress to cancel important meetings with national or corporate leaders.

One thing's for sure. Obama would be very wise to not trust McCain for a split second.

Crossposted from