September 2, 2008 5:29 a.m.

TPM Reader ES

Someone ought to look into McCain’s actions of late — going all in on un-vetted Sarah Palin; betting on the impact of Gustav; even staking a claim on Iraq the way he did.. And I’m sure there are more. Betting on a position to take AGAINST Bush. Then FOR Bush. They seem suspiciously like the actions of a compulsive gambler. It’s a way of thinking. Go all in and then hope to draw an inside straight. My guess is someone smarter than me could put together and entire profile. But he acts like an addict – and he keeps doing it again and again and again.

I’m not 100% on board with this readers list. But his overall point is right on the mark. My list wold be Georgia, Palin and Gustav. Politically at least, McCain’s Georgia high-wire act clearly worked for him, the substantive irresponsibility notwithstanding. Palin is turning into the white water rapids of presidential picks. And the decision to all but cancel and then try what I imagine will be a cold start on Tuesday … well, I don’t discount the huge challenge Gustav’s extremely untimely arrival created for McCain and the GOP. And it did seem like there was a chance that if Gustav had been an epically catastrophic event and he gave his acceptance speech while simultaneously helping to shore up a levee or rescue cats from roofs in flooded neighborhoods, it could even have turned into a political coup.

But in each of these cases you do have a pattern of high stakes gambles, with limited information available to make a reasoned decision and a pattern developing of an erratic style of leadership lurching from one crisis to the next. I’m sure a lot of Republicans can see that too.

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