John McCain and House Republicans combined to blow up a tentative deal on the Wall Street bailout. The White House, Senate and House Democrats, and Senate Republicans were in, apparently — for better or worse. As was Barack Obama.

Think Wall Street (and your favorite big bank) desperately needs liquidity? Then McCain’s playing with a four-alarm fire. (Not to mention your pension.) Think it’s all hokum and taxpayer money down the drain? Then McCain’s your hero. But remember what progressive economist Dean Baker said in Raleigh Tuesday: Done correctly, the $700 billion “bailout” shouldn’t cost the taxpayers a dime in the long run. (Update: Paul Krugman’s not up, either, for seeing if the McCain side is right.

McCain’s got no plan of his own, but does seem to have signed his name to the napkin that describes the House GOP plan: No capital gains taxes for two years and mortgage insurance (by AIG?) for these under-performing loans. But gang, insure them at what value?