Nah, refusing to debate is the smartest thing he’s done since accidentally bringing Palin on board.
The trailing or weaker candidate is always the one demanding debates. The leading candidate has little to gain and everything to lose.
And in McCain's case, a record he's running from like a scalded dog. And he sure doesn't want a public debate with radio and TV coverage where a strong challenger would point out his long list of flip/flops and election year conversions and attacks of amnesia.
And I'd say McCain is definitely a political coward. Debates between the leading candidates have become pretty standard part of the political scene for statewide and nationwide races. McCain is hiding from his record, and doesn't want it discussed before a large, statewide audience.