I've been writing a series of blog posts trying to figure out exactly what John McCain was after with this campaign-suspension gambit. My premise is that McCain is a savvy operator who knows how to protect his own political interests. I figured he was looking for some way to shuffle the debate schedule, to move the foreign policy debate until later (when it could have more impact) or to bury/cancel the veep debate. Another theory was that he was trying to claim credit for a bailout bill that appeared on track to be done this week.

But instead, McCain seems to have made no effort whatsoever to bring the bailout legislation to closure. Indeed, he may possibly have sunk the whole thing. On the radio this morning, I heard David Corn of Mother Jones speculate that McCain may be setting himself up to rail against the bailout on populist grounds. But McCain and his running mate have already stated publicly that a bailout is needed to avoid a depression!

And now, after insisting it would be unpatriotic to campaign and debate before bailout legislation had been completed, is debating anyway, even though a deal is further away than it was when he suspended his campaign.

So I'm abandoning my assumption that McCain had some grand method behind his campaign suspension gambit. I don't see any method at all.

--Jonathan Chait