John McCain has reversed course again. He's on a plane to Oxford, Mississippi where he'll take part in the first of three scheduled presidential debates with Barack Obama. McCain for the past couple of days had been saying he wouldn't participate, preferring to concentrate on joint White House/congressional talks on a federal bailout for the U.S. financial system.
The topic for Friday's debate is supposed to be American foreign policy. I wonder if either the candidates or moderator Jim Lehrer will be able to stick to that subject -- and if they do, whether viewers will stick around. This doesn't seem like a propitious moment for yet another rehash of whether the troop surged in Iraq worked or not. What's relatively unexplored in this campaign, and what everybody wants to know is what the candidates think about the financial bailout: whether it's necessary or wise, and what to do about the conditions that created it. Gotcha! questions about who's agriculture secretary of Kazakhstan are not going to hold anybody's attention.