McCain’s Tenuous Supporters Desert Him

Prior to the election, we spent a lot of time chronicling various right-wing figures who had, at one point, publicly declared their loathing of John McCain only to subsequently turn around as Election Day approached to admit that they would, after all, vote for him. 

High-profile leaders like James Dobson and Paul Weyrich were joined by the likes of Rick Santorum and Richard Viguerie in undergoing this transformation.  But now that the election is over and McCain is back to his job as a Senator, it seems that some of his one-time supporters have decided that it is now safe to revert back to form.

For instance, Viguerie had never been much of a fan of McCain’s and even mulled over the possibility to backing Ron Paul … until McCain named Sarah Palin as his running mate, at which point he became an ardent supporter.

But the support was short-lived, because earlier this month McCain rolled out a new PAC and Viguerie wasted no time in calling it a joke:

On Wednesday afternoon, Senator and former presidential hopeful, John McCain, announced the creation of his new grassroots organization named “Country First.”

Commenting on the new organization, Chairman Richard Viguerie stated, “Senator John McCain is a General without an army. He’s attempting to lead but he has no followers because his trumpet does not sound certain.”

Like Viguerie, Santorum was also a last-minute supporter of McCain’s, thanks in large part to Palin.  And now Santorum too has thrown his opportunistic support aside, penning a column predicting that McCain will become Barack Obama’s “ace in the hole” in order to rescue his reputation:

In McCain’s mind, however, losing the presidency will not be the final chapter of his life story. He knows the path to “Big Media” redemption. Working with the man who vanquished him in November will show them all the real McCain again.

Remember, it was this onetime prisoner of war who led the charge to open diplomatic relations with Vietnam. If that past is prologue, and McCain’s legislative record is any guide, he will not just join with Obama but lead the charge in Congress on global warming, immigration “reform,” the closing of Guantanamo, federal funding for embryonic-stem-cell research, and importation of prescription drugs.

But McCain won’t stop there in his effort to rehabilitate himself in the media’s – or maybe his own – eyes. He will forge common ground on a long list of initiatives that go far beyond where he has gone before, including the stimulus package.

Alas, the two White House rivals now stand positioned to help secure each other’s place in history.

There is a line from a “Simpsons” episode where Mr. Burns joins Homer’s bowling team in a spirit of camaraderie and then steals the team’s championship trophy for himself, to which Homer laments “I guess some people never change. Or, they quickly change and then quickly change back.”

That pretty much sums it up.