Another Maverick reference. John McCain is a gambler. Not in a calculated risk-taking good way. He is a gambler in a destructive, in need of a twelve-step program way. McCain is the kind of gambler who will go all-in with a pair of deuces showing and a seven of spades hole-card.
Like that other former fighter pilot-turned-politician, Duke Cunningham, McCain takes risks just because they are there. The riskier the better and to hell with the odds of success.
Take, for example, his suspending his campaign last week. He had no plan for what to do afterwards. He didn't think ahead, he just rolled the dice. Because he had no plan he ended up looking, and being, meaningless. By crawling back to the debate like he did he embarrassed all of his right-wing supporters who had called the suspension brilliant. McCain was like the husband who, having lost the mortgage money at the race track, asked his wife for her wedding ring so he can hock it.
Sarah Palin was another rash gamble. He made her too important to the campaign, even overshadowing himself. He overplayed the Palin hand like a Texas Hold'em player who overplays a bottom-end straight draw hoping to chase his opponents from the pot. Against a seasoned professional it is a hopeless strategy.
McCain is a reckless gambler. He doesn't study the Racing Form with a betting strategy. He just throws his money at longshot after longshot. It's an adrenaline rush, an old guy version of flathatting. McCain's style of gambling is exciting. You never know when McCain will up and do something insane. However, an insatiable desire for excitement and reckless behavior are not the best traits for a President.