Or did he have a plan at all?
He's getting too much credit for being strategic. I don't even think Palin was a strategic decision. It seemed to me he was being pushed and prodded so much by the wingnuts that he finally threw up his hands and gave in to Palin. Though she wasn't his first choice, he genuinely seemed to like her in the beginning, when people were enraptured with her mooseburgers and lipstick. He's got to be regretting it now. But he seems loyal and protective of Palin, which is why they tried to discredit the press.
McCain doesn't strike me as a deep thinker and that doesn't matter to republicans because they hate government. McCain still thinks there can be "victory" in Iraq. Old line thinking. His aides probably offer him strategy but he seems like he does what he wants -- that mavericky thing, which is really lack of thoughtful consideration.
Here's how I saw the past few days. First, he sees the polls and he knows Palin is not ready to debate so he suspends his campaign to go to Washington as a front and tries to get all the debates moved. He may have genuinely thought he was doing a good thing.
George decides to save McCain from his attempt to interrupt the negotiations and announces he's called both Obama and McCain to Washington, as if to say, McCain was right, they both needed to be there.
McCain realizes he made a boneheaded move, since all he did while he was there was smile broadly and go to lunch, and decides he had best get his butt to Mississippi, where just maybe he can out-debate Obama.
Here's what Newsweek says:
At first, I was willing to give McCain the benefit of the doubt on his "amazing gambit." As I wrote yesterday, if he, Obama and Bush had emerged from Thursday's White House summit having ratified the fragile agreement between Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, the Administration, congressional Democrats and Senate Republicans--four of the five parties necessary for consensus--I would've said "no harm, no foul." McCain may have been irrelevant, but at least he wouldn't have been a destructive force. In that case, debate away. But instead he's proven to be a bull in a china shop--or, more accurately, a bull that 1) misleadingly says the china shop is in disarray before he enters; 2) vows not to leave until he cleans up; 3) enters and shatters everything in sight; 4) blames everyone else for the damage and 5) leaves, claiming a job well done.
Here's what happened yesterday, according to the chronology I've cobbled together from news reports. Read the rest