It's John McCain against Mitt Romney. John McCain is a fine conservative with whom we'll always agree 80% of the time and disagree 15-20%. That's a lot better than the alternative and a lot better than the other guy, who some conservative pundits are mistakenly backing in this race.
John McCain has an 82.3% lifetime conservative rating in Congress. Overall, he’s far more conservative than Romney, a lifelong liberal who just last year forced government mandated health insurance in his state and just last week advocated extremely liberal government intervention to solve an economic crisis in Michigan that cannot be solved without the common sense solutions that McCain supported and Romney opposed.
There are many among the grassroots who believe as you do, that McCain is too liberal. It seems that this is because conservative media has only highlighted the few times that McCain supported anti-establishment legislation. In each of these cases Thompson (viewed as the “clear conservative” candidate although he’s to the left of McCain) was right there with him, as were many other conservative senators, yet Sen. McCain took most of the flack. His immigration policies are perfectly aligned with President Bush and are to the right of President Reagan as well as of Rudy Giuliani.
The way I see it we have a practical choice to make. We can support an electable conservative war hero with an 82.3% conservative rating, a candidate who is more conservative than Presidents Ford, Nixon or Eisenhower and who poll after poll places ahead of Hillary, Obama and Comrade Edwards, or we can nominate a candidate who’s a lifelong liberal (although he now supports some major conservative issues) and lose the general election to a Barack O’Hillary tag team that’s more liberal than McGovern.
It’s not just that Rudy would have been a disaster in the all important Midwest and that opposition to Romney is so intense, even among Republicans, that he can’t win. It’s also about the fact that both are far more liberal than Sen. McCain, yet somehow the opposition to them was/is less. As Ronald Reagan said, if someone agrees with you 80% of the time, chances are they’re your friend.