"In truth, McCain's dramatic announcement Wednesday that he would suspend his campaign and come to Washington for the bailout talks had wide repercussions.
Democrats, eager to reach a deal before McCain could claim credit, hunkered down and made real progress ahead of his arrival. Conservative Republicans in the House reacted as well, according to aides who were part of the talks."
While that is certainly interesting (inasmuch as it was assumed his announcement was a distraction), more important is that once he arrived on the scene, he may have helped stop progress on a bad bill. According to the Post, McCain stood up to the White House and GOP leaders who were ready to acquiesce to the Democrats on the Paulson plan, and said:
It is possible that this may turn out well for all of us -- and also be good for John McCain, too:
"I appreciate what you've done here, but I'm not going to sign on to a deal just to sign the deal," McCain told the gathering, according to Graham and confirmed by multiple Senate GOP aides. "Just like Iraq, I'm not afraid to go it alone if I need to."
For a moment, as Graham described it, "you could hear a pin drop. It was just unbelievable." Then pandemonium. By the time the meeting broke up, the agreement touted just hours before -- one that Sen. Lamar Alexander (Tenn.), the No. 3 GOP leader, estimated would be supported by more than 40 Senate Republicans -- was in shambles."
"McCain has been trying to help the House guys, trying to get their ideas into the broader bill," said a senior Republican Senate aide. "If McCain can do that, he can bring 50 to 100 House Republicans to the bill. That would be a big damn deal."