I now choose to vote in favor of the right to bear arms, less abortion, lower taxes, smaller government, a strong national defense, an aggressive foreign policy that supports freedom, immigration reform, and de-centralization of government authority, among other things. (More on immigration reform later.)
That having been said, I believe that the best option for Republicans as we move into Super - Duper Tsunami Tuesday is to vote for John McCain.
First, McCain is the most electable of the Republican candidates.
Barak Obama is the George McGovern of 2008. He is all the rage with the left, and the "youth." He is for an immediate pullout from Iraq, and, frankly, would do little or nothing in the war on terror, in spite of his bluster last summer about invading Pakistan if we can't find Osama in Afghanistan. Domestically, when push comes to shove and he has to start giving some definition to his promises of "change", most Americans are going to find that he is Progressive-off-the-charts, and he will go down in flames much as did McGovern (on whose campaign this then-idealistic 13-year-old worked his tail off.)
As for Hillary Clinton, she is not electable, unless the alternative is intolerable. She has this albatross around her neck named Bill, not to mention a lot of documents nobody gets to see, and she can't give us a good reason. She would have been better off releasing the documents last summer because they are going to come out, and they are going to come out in September 2008, and no one is going to be able to forget them before election Day.
In a race against either Barak or Hillary, I believe that many Americans would find Mitt Romney intolerable for a number of reasons, including his history in business as a cost/job cutter, and religious bigotry. (I am not one who wants a religious test for public office, but in general, Latter Day Saints bother me. Nonetheless, I could probably vote for him, especially given the alternatives.)
There is also the issue of record.
McCain is the co-author of the McCain Feingold campaign finance legislation. I don't like it, but I see a man who saw the problem and decided to do something about it. Likewise, the McCain Kennedy immigration bill, now defunct.
On the other hand, Romney has come somewhat late to the conservative cause. He was a Mormon who was governor of Massachusetts, but the history of "progress" during his tenure is troubling. Now he says that he has changed his mind, and that he is a true conservative.
That would be a little like me saying that I am the true conservative, when the truth the matter is that back in the day I seriously considered drafting a will at 21 because Reagan had been elected. I soon realized in my liberal delusions that the will would be useless after a nuclear war, which I thought was imminent. I may be a conservative now, but I am still hard-pressed to call myself a true conservative since I came so late to the party.
McCain on the other hand has an American Conservative Union rating of around 85%. That means that he has voted with the "conservative" position almost uniformly. Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter and others are fond of saying that McCain has stabbed the Republican Party in the back too many times. What I see instead is an inside outsider - and McCain really is an outsider, I suspect in part because of his POW experience - who has a few pet peeves that he is prepared to address without being an ideologue.
This makes them very attractive to the old media, because he makes headlines. That makes him more electable.
Finally, James Taranto, as he does so often, puts it into words better than I can:
Romney has emerged as the candidate of "conservatives," or at least of conservative political activists. The chief rap on Romney, though, is that he is not a man of conviction--that in his two runs for statewide office in Massachusetts (U.S. senator in 1994 and governor in 2002) he expediently took positions that are very liberal by GOP lights, and that differ drastically from the views he now espouses.
The conservative defense of Romney, we suppose, is that he didn't really believe those positions, whereas when McCain has departed from the conservative mainstream, he has been sincere and committed. Fair enough. But who is going to be a more loyal supporter in the long run--someone who agrees with you on everything, but insincerely, or someone who agrees with you on some things, disagrees with you on others, and is clear about which is which? [emphasis added}
Which pretty well sums up why I believe that John McCain is the candidate Republicans ought to vote for, and grit their teeth, remembering that politics is never pure.
No, they are never pure. I mean, really: do you remember that we're elected George W. Bush as a "conservative?" Give me a break, and give it to me when I received my "economic stimulus" check.