Well, I voted.
And it was an unbelievably LA experience. I went with my gut when I voted and find myself, perhaps for the first time since I joined this blog, differing from my co-blogger on a major issue. And while I still have my doubts about my decision, I believe, given the circumstances, I made the right choice. More on that anon.
The only place where one can vote early in LA is in Norwalk, a city that until today I had only heard of, but had never visited. It took me about 40 minutes to get there. On the way there, I saw my first “Hillary” bumper sticker in a while. On one freeway, I was tailgated by an oversize pickup even though I was in the right lane. Later, on another freeway, there was a slight traffic jam, all caused (as I would soon learn) by a Toyota Tercel puttering on (in the second left-hand lane) at about 40 miles an hour (that’s the equivalent of a man with a broken leg competing in a track meet).
When I called the County Registrar, they had told me I might have to wait if I arrived at 2. I go there at about 1:45 and waited no more than 10 minutes. Still, the woman at the counter told me it had been busy. I did see a steady stream of people coming in, but the line was never more than 3 or 4 deep.
This morning, when I woke, my heart was telling me to vote McCain while my head said Romney. I guess our hearts are closer to our guts and I went with my gut. I still have my problems with the Arizona Senator. When, after voting, I followed Glenn‘s link to Bill Quick’s explanation of why he’s not voting for McCain, I found that he spelled out some of my concerns with the Arizona Senator. (I expressed some of my own misgivings here.)
Despite this differences, Eric Scheie reminds us of the Gipper’s rule (also via Glenn) that “the person who agrees with you 80 percent of the time is a friend and ally.” And McCain has a lifetime American Conservative Union (ACU) rating of 82.3. (He also notes that the devil is “in the details” of that rule, so check out his piece and read the whole thing to see what he means.)
Even with his flaws, John McCain would be a much better president than Ms. Hillary. Most polls show him beating the former First Lady. Her victory, as Eric reminds us, would place the whole country “in a state of extreme dishonor, and it won’t much matter what the Republicans think or say.”
It wasn’t just his electability that swung me. It was that McCain has said (on more than one occasion) that he has “listened and learned” on the immigration and now supports border enforcement first. And, as I noted earlier today, he did tap Ted Olson, one of the most respected conservative jurists, to co-chair his Judicial Advisory Committee.
But, the real thing that moved me to John McCain was his steadfast stance on the War on Terror. In a comment to a post where I contemplated voting for Romney or Thompson, frequent commenter ILoveCapitalism linked a chart which showed that on issues that blogger had selected, Senator McCain voted with the two Democratic presidential contenders on all but one issue, surrendering Iraq to Iran.
While that chart was quite selective and did not show the Senator’s common ground with conservatives on other issues, it reminded me (yet again) that John McCain has never wavered in his support of the war in Iraq, despite disagreeing (until recently) with the president’s strategy and despite polls showing increasing opposition to the operation.
John McCain is not my first choice for the Republican nomination, but he has proven himself on the most important issue of the day, as he put in his phone message, the war “against radical Islamic extremism.” He has moved right on other important issues. Time will only tell if I erred today in my vote. But, if John McCain continues to campaign on conservative ideas, shows more grace (tha he has) to his chief rival for the nomination and taps a respected conservative as his running mate, then my hopes will not be misplaced.
But, as I said, time will only tell. And it’s up to conservatives to keep reminding this man of the values of our party, so that if elected, he will know how to govern. And let us to that in a civil manner.
UPDATE: In the Wall Street Journal two conservative legal scholars offer a lukewarm endorsement of McCain. They focus on the judicial appointments the next president will have. The piece pretty much summarizes my views on the Arizona Senator (at least on the judicial issue, but on other matters as well) (Via Instapundit).