John McCain, the man once widely described as a moderate GOP maverick, has surprised many observers by pledging support for Arizona's controversial new immigration law. Commentators have cited this new hard-line stance on immigration policy—and similar shifts on climate change and banking reform—as proof that the Arizona senator is moving to the right. This perceived political transformation may simply be due to an August primary contest against a hard-line conservative opponent, but many former supporters aren't happy. Has McCain abandoned his moderate roots? (Watch Bill O'Reilly ask McCain why he's changing his positions now.)
Not a maverick, but an opportunist: John McCain's strength as a politician has been his willingness to be "his own man, a maverick, a courageous loner," says Tina Brown in the Daily Beast. But by compromising his values and using the support of the likes of Sarah Palin to "pander to the Tea Party," he is wrecking that hard-won reputation. "It’s like the Hanoi Hilton in reverse ... under political torture it seems he’ll say and do just about anything."
"Shame on John McCain"
McCain's stayed the same. Liberals just can't accept it: John McCain was, is, and remains a conservative, says Boris Epshteyn on FOX News. Liberals believe he is "somehow one of them" because he is genuinely committed to bipartisanship. They shouldn't forget he has fought against "drastic" health-care reform and tax hikes throughout his political career. It seems they are now so "blind in their disdain for anything and anyone conservative," they're criticizing him for being what he's always been.
"The Left's vendetta against John McCain"
He's just adapting to his political circumstances: This is not the "buccaneer of the 2000 presidential race," says Mark Z. Barabak at the LA Times. Nor is it the "more conservative 2008 presidential nominee." He may insist he hasn't changed, but he's "moved rightward" on a wide range of issues. Why? He's adapting to a new political reality, one characterized by "economic anxiety and anti-incumbent undertow." Perhaps changing tack is the only way to win.
"McCain adapting to face a challenge from the right"