Which is: If you're going to try some crazy gambit to shake up the race and reverse your slide in the polls, don't make it one that relies on the good graces of a Democratic Congress. As Ben Smith reports, Harry Reid isn't exactly playing along here, which seems like a major problem for McCain:

A Democratic source says Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid just spoke to John McCain today, and told him on the phone that it "wouldn't be helpful" for him to return to Washington.

Reid spokesman Jim Manley tells Politico's Martin Kady II that McCain called Reid about an hour ago, and said “Harry, I hope we can sit down together, and act quickly.” Reid simply “read back to him his statement” from earlier in the day saying it wouldn’t be helpful. McCain also called Pelosi to give her a heads-up.

--Noam Scheiber