Could McCain pledge to serve only one term? Could he challenge Obama to more debates? Could he announce a bi-partisan cabinet?Why would people freaked out about the economy take solace in John McCain serving only one term? They don't seem to want him to serve even a single term right now. Why would McCain challenge Obama to more debates? Because he's done so well in the last two? And announcing a bipartisan cabinet is the sort of thing that captures the imagination of David Broder and his ilk, but I find it hard to see why an Ohio machinist who is out of work is going to flock to McCain because he's going to make Blanche Lincoln his Secretary of Education. This seems less like a list of things McCain can do to get elected, and more a list of things that Beltway pundits would be able to endlessly dissect for a week or so. And you can add mentioning Bill Ayres to that list.
Ultimately, I don't see how John McCain can win over people freaked out about the economy. He doesn't get why people are worried because he's a national greatness conservative. Grousing about these sorts of things suits McCain not at all. He wants America to accomplish Great Things, even if it doesn't matter what those great things happen to be. It's not like McCain hasn't said anything about the economy--the problem is that he's said too much, and he's said the wrong things at the wrong time. He's come up with too many ideas to sort through, though the comfort is that it's unnecessary since his plans are universally loathed. He's talked about tax hikes and spending a lot. It hasn't broken through. Obama's message, though, has resonated well, McCain needs to appropriate it.
Maybe the best thing that McCain could do to get elected is to announce that he's dumping Sarah Palin for Barack Obama. Or that Obama will be his Chief of Staff or Secretary of the Treasury. Which is to say that I don't think he's going to be able to turn things around. In fact, I expect him to be especially sedate in this debate since he's going to be facing Obama across a table, and McCain can't bring himself to look at the guy.