The standard objections still apply. The presumptive GOP nominee is full of balloon juice on a number of issues and ran a campaign that used a fair measure of mendacity to achieve its aims. I would strongly prefer a standard-bearer who has a better grasp of economic issues, who has a thicker skin, who is less likely to reach for the cudgel of government sanction at the slightest provocation. I would definitely prefer someone who valued the First Amendment more. Most of all, I would have preferred a system that would not let the citizens of states that will not support the Republicans in the fall select the Republican candidate. It's telling that a large number of Senator McCain's victories have been in "blue" states.
Still, you play by the rules as they are established. And it's always important to remember that, in this country, we buy candidates off the rack. It's well-nigh impossible to find a candidate who is precisely tailored to your views on all issues. Not one of the candidates on offer this year fit my views as well as I might have liked. But in the words of the retail industry, it's all ready-to-wear.
Since I can't buy a Romney suit this year, or a Fred Thompson polo shirt, I have to choose from what's available. And the choices that are left are either McCain, Clinton or Obama. Do I want to take a chance on Barack Obama, a guy whose campaign is filled with vague nostrums, a content-free mantra of change (to what, precisely?) and an increasingly bizarre cult of personality? Do I want to return of the Clintons, with their venality and their bad faith? Or do I support McCain, with his prickly personality but also a genuine commitment to many things I hold dear? And who is more likely to listen to my concerns?
No matter who wins in the fall, the country will survive. I know many people of intelligence and good faith who will support choices that I cannot support. I understand and share the anger and frustration that many of my friends and colleagues feel over the way the campaign has developed. Still, even when the choices aren't what you might want, the choice still remains to be made. If McCain is the best available choice, and there is no question that he is, that's who I choose.