MCCAIN’S BAILOUT GAMES…. When it comes to the response to the crisis on Wall Street, the McCain campaign decided a few days ago on a political strategy. McCain aides blasted Barack Obama as “indecisive,” and crafted an ad describing Obama as “mum on the market crisis.”

So, we can obviously expect bold leadership from John McCain then, right? Well, not so much.

If Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain doesn’t vote for the Bush administration’s $700 billion economic bailout plan, some Republican and Democratic congressional leaders tell ABC News the plan won’t pass.

“If McCain doesn’t come out for this, it’s over,” a Top House Republican tells ABC News. […]

McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds told ABC News’ Jake Tapper that McCain has not made a decision one way or another.

Democrats see the writing on the wall here — if they work with the Bush administration on the bailout plan, but McCain and congressional Republicans oppose the measure, it becomes a cudgel for the GOP for the rest of the campaign. Everyone is looking to see what McCain is going to do, because if he goes along, it’ll open the door to bipartisan support. If he balks, Dems aren’t going to go out on a limb with Bush and Paulson on their own.

And so McCain, after ironically accusing Obama of remaining “mum” and being “indecisive,” has concluded he just doesn’t know what he wants to do next, and doesn’t want to talk about the bailout proposal for a while.

McCain did say yesterday that he’s looking for a variety of things in the bailout package before he makes up his mind, including “greater accountability,” a “path for taxpayers to recover the money,” “complete transparency,” and a mechanism to prevent Wall Street executives from profiting from taxpayer money.

That’s not a bad list, but it would have sounded far more impressive if Obama hadn’t already presented a nearly identical list 48 hours earlier.

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.