Deathbed Conversion Meaning

(idiomatic, usually sarcastic, often politics) An abrupt, last-minute change in one's professed beliefs, principles, or point of view in order to escape a serious threat or to increase one's chances of success.

Example: 2011 Dec. 16, William Grimes, "Christopher Hitchens, Polemicist Who Slashed All, Freely, Dies at 62," New York Times (retrieved 28 May 2015):
  Mr. Hitchens discussed the possibility of a deathbed conversion, insisting that the odds were slim that he would admit the existence of God.
1996 Nov. 17, "Whatever," Newsweek (retrieved 28 May 2015):
  The dilemma was how to propose a big tax cut and still look credible. Dole knew that the Democrats would mock him for a deathbed conversion.
2002 July 16, Richard A. Oppel Jr. and David E. Sanger, "House Passes Bill to Combat Corporate and Securities Fraud," New York Times (retrieved 28 May 2015):
  "A deathbed conversion" was how Representative John LaFalce of New York State described the House Republicans' change of heart.
2010 Feb. 10, Andrew Grice, "Brown's insurance against defeat," Independent (UK) (retrieved 28 May 2015):
  Gordon Brown's deathbed conversion to electoral reform may look like pure opportunism and widening the goalposts for his team just as the match kicks off.