So what kind of leadership has John McCain offered the nation during his campaign's "suspension"? Well, we know that he sat in on a meeting at the White House with Barack Obama, the president, and Congressional leaders, where House Republicans offered a scaled-back alternative to the bailout. According to the Washington Post, "Obama and [Democratic House Banking Committee Chairman Barney] Frank peppered [House Minority Leader John] Boehner with questions about the new proposal." Meanwhile, the New York Times, citing "people in the meeting" reports that McCain "sat silently for more than 40 minutes, more observer than leader, and then offered only a vague sense of where he stood."

What about seeking consensus and taking on your own party? House Democrats would like to include in the bailout a provision that would allow bankruptcy judges to renegotiate mortgages on primary residences. This is something Obama frequently proposes on the campaign trail, yet the Post again tells us that Obama believes "the provision, which is fiercely opposed by the banking industry, should not be included in the bill." However, McCain has apparently offered little such parity. Before showing up the White House, McCain met with House Republicans, where he learned of their opposition. As another Times story recounts, McCain later told ABC that "he had known going into the White House that 'there never was a deal,' but he kept that sentiment to himself." The Arizona senator hasn't said whether he supports the House Republican plan or not, but there's no evidence that he urged them to join the consensus plan. And, says the Times, "there was no evidence that he was playing a major role in the frantic efforts on Capitol Hill to put a deal back together again."