Frankly, considering those same leaders had carried on such a high-profile, torrid political love affair with Romney for months, the partner-switch was just a bit unseemly. After all, just the day before they ran breathless into the arms of McCain, Colorado's Republicans had turned out to support Romney in their Colorado caucus with nearly 60 percent numbers.
So for those of you keeping track of these things, the tally now stands something like this: Ron Paul has got the Internet and Douglas Bruce. Mike Huckabee has James Dobson. Everyone else is a McCain man.
After pouring in time and money and passion for Romney, state GOP leaders like Attorney General John Suthers, U.S. Sen. Wayne Allard, former Gov. Bill Owens and former U.S. Rep. Bob Beauprez immediately announced they are now squarely with McCain. University of Colorado president Hank Brown and Rep. Doug Lamborn also think McCain's just super.
That's how these things work in politics. When your guy loses, you align yourself with the winner.
But do they really know what they're getting into?
To be sure, the mainstream media have been engaged in the same political love affair with McCain in which Suthers and Allard and Owens and Beauprez and Lamborn and Brown now find themselves. McCain's a "maverick," according to gushy media reports. He's a "straight-talker." He's "willing to defy Republican orthodoxy."
He also wants the United States to occupy Iraq for a hundred years, a thousand years heck, a million years, as he recently said.
Let's put it another way: When you have Dobson on the same page with liberal journalist and former Bill Clinton aide Sidney Blumenthal, you just know there's trouble ahead.
To wit: Dobson, the founder of Focus on the Family, who finally endorsed Huckabee after Romney dropped out, has painted McCain as a dangerous wolf in sheep's cloth. This is from the McCain-bashing statement that Dobson issued in time for Super Tuesday:
"I am deeply disappointed the Republican Party seems poised to select a nominee who did not support a Constitutional amendment to protect the institution of marriage, voted for embryonic stem-cell research to kill nascent human beings, opposed tax cuts that ended the marriage penalty, has little regard for freedom of speech ... and has a legendary temper and often uses foul and obscene language."
In a January 2007 Salon profile of McCain, Blumenthal, a consummate Washington insider, provided more illuminating detail.
"McCain's political colleagues ... know another side of the action hero a volatile man with a hair-trigger temper, who shouted at Sen. Ted Kennedy on the Senate floor to "shut up," called his fellow Republican senators "shithead,' "fucking jerk,' "asshole,' and joked in 1998 at a Republican fundraiser about the teenage daughter of President Clinton, "Do you know why Chelsea Clinton is so ugly? Because Janet Reno is her father.'"
"Within the Republican Party, nearly everyone who has had serious dealings with McCain distrusts him (including traditional Republican moderates, not just conservatives)," Blumenthal continued.
In a more recent investigative piece published by the online news organization AlterNet, journalist Joshua Holland offered further insight.
"[Switching positions has] long been the trend with McCain, who claims that he's spent decades "fighting for the unborn' when stumping in socially conservative states, but has at least tacitly defended Roe v. Wade in the past. He voted against the temporary Bush tax cuts saying at the time that the nation has never cut taxes "in a time of war' but is now pledging to make them permanent as a central promise of his campaign."
OK. So, according to Blumenthal and Holland and other progressives, McCain is a scary, scary neocon. According to Dobson, McCain is a scary, scary liberal. And, for many of Colorado's top Republican leaders, McCain is their new heartthrob.
Whoever said politics makes strange bedfellows was dead on.