It's also worth pointing out that McCain's choice of Sarah Palin as his running mate was supposedly made without really doing any research on her at all (not even Google, apparently). From what I've heard, she was on a list of prominent Republicans, and he based his decision on the fact that she was a woman who had a reputation for being a maverick and speaking her mind (I'm willing to believe that he was not, at that point, aware of the contents of that mind). Of course, it was a poor decision made without enough consideration or forethought.
But it's worth considering that a man who expresses an interest in a running mate because she's a woman who's willing to speak her mind, is probably not the sort of man who thinks women should be meek and submissive and all that other crap. The fact that he's raised a daughter to be outspoken and politically active also points in that direction.
And yeah, I agree with bronxelf about McCain's change, although it was sort of gradual during the Bush years. I think he felt that his unwillingness to embrace the religious right played a role in his loss in the 2000 Republican primary race. It was over the next few years that he started moving more to the right on social issues.
I wouldn't be surprised if he's having a bit of an "Ariel Sharon" moment, where he realizes that he's not got much time left and wants to undo some of the damage that he's done while he still can.
Still doesn't explain why he voted for the Blunt amendment, though.
He pulled a Captain Ahab and Jaharpwn'ed her. - Trout