Wall Street Journal columnist Kim Strassel, writing for an opinion section that has always eyed McCain warily--the WSJ edit board reently attacked for not ruling out a tax hike as part of a Social Security reform deal--is not impressed with his role in the bailout battle:
Presidential campaigns live in fear of a Dukakis-in-the-tank moment. The question is whether John McCain just had his.
Sen. McCain's decision to rush to Washington for bailout negotiations, to suspend his campaign, and to issue a bipartisan statement with Barack Obama, has been spun by his team as an example of putting "country first." Mr. McCain's fellow Republicans have latched on to that theme....
This crisis has thrust Mr. McCain back in the limelight, and reminded conservatives he's at the top of the ticket -- not Mrs. Palin. The base's longtime worry about Mr. McCain has been his economic instincts. That worry has been renewed.
McCain finds himself in a very weird and dodgy position here, in which he risks infuriating either the populist right or the economic elites--and, if he's not careful, possibly both.