NO METHOD, JUST MADNESS…. According to a pool report, John McCain boarded his plane earlier this afternoon with his wife, top aides, and Rudy and Judith Giuliani, all headed for Mississippi. What was the atmosphere like on McCain’s plane? According to the report: “utter confusion.”

Republican consultant Craig Shirley, who advised McCain’s presidential campaign earlier in the cycle, noted the bizarre developments. “It just proves his campaign is governed by tactics and not ideology,” Shirley said. “In the end, he blinked and Obama did not. The ‘steady hand in a storm’ argument looks now to more favor Obama, not McCain.”

Shirley added, “My guess is that plasma units are rushing to the McCain campaign as we speak to replace the blood flowing there from the fights among the staff.”

Utter confusion among squabbling aides. I can’t wait for this finely-tuned machine to start running the executive branch of government. It’s going to be awesome.

Jonathan Chait, who’s been arguing that McCain must have some kind of clever plan guiding a seemingly erratic strategy, finally gave up today.

McCain seems to have made no effort whatsoever to bring the bailout legislation to closure. Indeed, he may possibly have sunk the whole thing. On the radio this morning, I heard David Corn of Mother Jones speculate that McCain may be setting himself up to rail against the bailout on populist grounds. But McCain and his running mate have already stated publicly that a bailout is needed to avoid a depression!

And now, after insisting it would be unpatriotic to campaign and debate before bailout legislation had been completed, is debating anyway, even though a deal is further away than it was when he suspended his campaign.

So I’m abandoning my assumption that McCain had some grand method behind his campaign suspension gambit. I don’t see any method at all.

In my heart of hearts, I suspect every decision made by McCain and his campaign staff is driven by short-term thinking and immediate gratification. It guided their thinking on picking a running mate (despite the fact that Sarah Palin is a bad joke), on attacking Obama on Fannie Mae (despite Rick Davis and the rest of the lobbyists on staff), on “suspending” the campaign, skipping the debate, etc.

A friend of mine emailed me the other day, summarizing the entire McCain campaign in three words: “Ready, Fire, Aim.” Just the kind of approach we need in the White House, right?

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.