It's all debatable

Bailout? Or no bailout?

Debate? Or no debate?

At this point your guess is as good as any.

It’s kind of hard to describe everything that happened yesterday in Washington, D.C.

Around 1:30 p.m., it appeared that an agreement had been reached on that massive $700 billion bailout plan everyone says we need to prevent an economic meltdown.

Then Democrats and Republicans huddled at the White House with President Bush.

What happened in that meeting is debatable, which is kind of funny since tonight’s first presidential debate between John McCain and Barack Obama continues to be in limbo.

It sounds as if Republicans suddenly wanted new terms, specifically moving to seek a bigger share of private funds, instead of taxpayer money, for the bailout.

There is actually talk of one rather unbelievable scene. And that is of Treasury boss Henry Paulson, the man who crafted this proposal and who stands to literally be the new Master of the Universe if it’s approved, getting down on one knee and begging the two sides not to blow up the deal.

Maybe we all ought to join him today. At this point we likely could do worse than prayer.

Because if something is not done on this package today, there’s a belief that we might not have one, prayer that is, at least economically.

Of course, all of this is being done in the backdrop of the presidential race.

And how the matter is being “spun” depends on who is talking. McCain backers are hailing him for his decision to suspend his campaign and head to D.C. to work on the bailout plan. It’s being called leadership and putting country first. McCain is still not committed to attending tonight’s debate unless there’s a deal in place.

Obama supporters instead say McCain injected partisan politics into the process and the whole thing blew up in his face. They vow to be at the debate tonight regardless of whether McCain shows up or not.

Democratic senator Chris Dodd, who heads the Senate Finance Committee, went so far as to call the proceedings “a rescue plan for John McCain.”

The two sides will go back at it today.

Here’s my best guess. Some kind of deal will be hammered out this afternoon. All sides will smile and shake hands and claim they all came together for the good of the country.

With at least the framework for the deal in place, McCain will show up for the debate, which is supposed to focus on foreign policy but which I guess will quickly morph into a discussion of what transpired the past few days.

Buckle your seat belt, it’s going to be a bumpy day.