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A Stroke of Genius By McCain?

That’s what Dick Morris thinks of John McCain’s decision to insert himself into the negotiation of a proposed bailout package:

McCain has transformed a minority in both houses of Congress and a losing position in the polls into the key role in the bailout package, the main man around whom the final package will take shape. …

Knowing how unpopular the bailout is with the American people, the Democrats are not about to pass anything without broad Republican support even though their majorities permit them to act alone. Instead of signing on with the Democratic/Bush package, the House Republicans are insisting on replacing the purchase of corporate debt with loans to companies and insurance paid for by the companies, not by the taxpayers. That, of course, is a popular position. McCain would be comfortable to debate this issue division all day. …

The Democrats are not about to be stubborn. They know their package is a lemon and need the political cover of Republican support. So the Republicans can write their own ticket…and they will. John McCain will be at the center of the emerging compromise while Obama is out on the campaign trail kissing babies. If the deal is cut before Friday’s debate, my bet is that McCain shows up in triumph. If it isn’t, he shows up anyway and flagellates Obama over the differences between the Democratic package and McCain’s.

By Monday, at the latest, the Democrats have to cave in and pass the Republican version. They don’t dare pass their own without GOP support, so they will have to cave in to the Republican version. Then McCain comes out of the process as the hero who made it happen when the president couldn’t and Obama wouldn’t.

One problem with that scenario is that the Senate Republicans appear to be doing what they can to sell out the House Republicans. Still, I hope Morris is right.

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