So the deal that was rumored to be in the offing fell through. I'm overseas right now so I'm depending on the web and CNN International. CNN International is reporting that the deal fell through largely because of divisions between the White House and Congressional Republicans, particularly in the House of Representatives (the House of Reps is known to be more ideologically polarized - I can explain why if anyone is interested). CNN International is also reporting that both Republicans and Democrats are saying that McCain has been surprisingly silent in the meetings. In other words, McCain's bold posturing about suspending his campaign was not backed up by any substance...not even bad substance.
The problem seems to be mainly disunity on the right. From what I gather, the Democrats are largely on the same page: They want more oversight over the money, restrictions on using the money to pay CEO's their golden parachutes, and inclusion of some help for individual mortgage holders. But the Republicans are deeply split. The White House says, "Trust us" as usual. They want a blank check for $700 billion to be spent by the Treasury Secretary without oversight or check on his authority. House Republicans want provisions on bankruptcy that would allow judges to modify mortgage terms if they are involved in a bankruptcy case and a bigger role for private money instead of tax payer funding bail outs.
What this is means that is that even as the Democrats and the White House begin to make progress towards a compromise, the House Republicans are able to disrupt it by causing problems within the Republican Party - not because of their legislative power (which is rather small). If even a few Senate Republicans get on board with the Democrats in a compromise with the White House a deal would pass. But if House Republicans rebel, they would threaten McCain's Presidential campaign, and I think that is what this is really about. By injecting himself into the process, McCain offered himself as a hostage to the ideologues in the House. I think it will go down as one of the most boneheaded political moves in the last century.