imageSo, it looks like the original plan was for John McCain to go to Washington, huddle with Republican leadership, figure out how to brand Democrats as obstructionists and then hold several highly-covered but ultimately pointless meetings about "ideas" he had for the bill long enough to disrupt the entire flow of the campaign but not so long that he wouldn't be able to whip out a bill for which he could take credit.

Unfortunately, Democrats and Republicans reached a compromise while he was en route to doing absolutely nothing. John Boehner first said there was no deal, then said there kind of was, then said there wasn't. And why?

Rep. Spencer Bachus (Ala.), the ranking Republican on the House Financial Services Committee, attended the meeting at which some say a deal was reached. But he later issued a statement saying he wasn’t authorized to negotiate or approve any deals for House Republicans.

“There was progress on many issues, but no agreement other than to continue discussions,” Bachus said.

He added that McCain is interested in using loans or insurance rather than having the government purchase the toxic debts of Wall Street institutions.

"We would prefer a loan or supplying insurance,” Bachus told reporters. “These are the ideas Sen. McCain tried to maximize. He feels strongly we have to design a program where taxpayers won't lose."

Bachus, wearing a “McCain-Palin” lapel pin, said he’d talked to McCain on Wednesday night and had breakfast with McCain’s advisers Wednesday morning.

Pretty much, the only goal of the bill for the GOP now is to get enacted a vaguely articulated set of goals that John McCain has kept secret up until...well, they're still secret, but whatever. The proposed bailout first came onto the Senate's plate last Saturday. It took John McCain until Wednesday to decide that he needed to not-quite-suspend his campaign in order to go ensure that Congress enacted a set of standards that he'd told abso-fucking-lutely nobody about.

Josh Marshall, I think, said this was like faking an injury in the fourth quarter of a game that you're losing, badly. This isn't that. In the NBA, there's a sometimes-endearing, sometimes-obnoxious practice where a team will keep or put in a player in the fourth quarter who's trying to reach some benchmark - a triple double, their 5,000th point, their first point, something. This is the GOP calling up their end-of-the-bench scrub in the last game of the season and passing him the ball every play until he finally makes a bucket.

Also, Nancy Unspellable Last Name from the McCain campaign just got called on on MSNBC. Yesterday, McCain could possibly come back and vote if the bill was to his liking. Twenty four hours later, it's inconceivable that anyone couldn't be right in the thick of things, trying to call shots. Was there no one available to think this through?