MCCAIN’S ‘SURREAL’ CONFUSION…. Yesterday, John McCain swung by Capitol Hill, not to advance the negotiations on the bailout proposal, but to coordinate strategy with House Republicans. Faiz highlights this gem from the Washington Post’s coverage:

Boehner and McCain discussed the bailout plan, but Republican leadership aides described the conversation as somewhat surreal. Neither man was familiar with the details of the proposal being pressed by House conservatives, and up to the moment they departed for the White House yesterday afternoon, neither had seen any description beyond news reports.

At 1:25 p.m., McCain left Boehner’s office through a back door, walking across the Capitol’s rotunda to the applause of tourists. Graham conceded the group knew little about the plan the nominee had come to Washington to try to shape.

So, this week, McCain talked about a bailout proposal he hadn’t read, and a few days later, had a meeting with lawmakers about a competing proposal he knew nothing about.

No wonder McCain sat silently while the grown-ups talked about fiscal policy at the White House yesterday; he couldn’t think of anything substantive to contribute.

I sometimes get the sense that McCain is a con man, perpetrating an enormous fraud, hoping desperately that he can get through the next 38 days without anyone noticing he doesn’t know what he’s doing.

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.