McCain Must Be Worried

John McCain's signature issue is campaign-finance and lobbyist reform, an issue he picked up after getting embroiled in the "Keating 5" scandal. It's his main legislative achievement, his main appeal to independent voters, and the pillar of his "Straight Talk" public persona.

So you might think it would be the one issue on which he would not flip-flop. You'd be wrong.

According to Roll Call, McCain has agreed to vote to remove a key piece of lobbying-reform legislation that he had until now strongly supported. That measure would require certain "grassroots" organizations to register as lobbyists and disclose their fundraising activities.

I put "grassroots" in quotes because the reform is aimed at what government-watchdog groups call "astroturf" organizations: those that are in fact huge entities, often funded by big businesses that want their involvement kept hidden. There are astroturf groups on the left and right, advocating on any number of issues.

Whether or not you approve of the reform, the point is that John McCain has strongly supported it -- putting him at odds with conservative groups that vehemently oppose it.

McCain's sudden reversal on this comes amid reports of his troubles solidifying support in his run for the GOP Presidential nomination. This is a sure sign that he's worried -- and that he feels the need to beg at the feet of hard-right conservatives for support. Mitt Romney, who's been kissing those feet for quite a while now, must be smiling.

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