Paul Or McCain?

A reader writes:

Just wanted to add to what I'm sure is a mountainous stack of e-mails applauding your formal endorsement of Ron Paul for the GOP nomination. I'm also fully in agreement with you about John McCain's virtues and vices. I'm a soup-to-nuts, Cato Institute-type, Reason Magazine-subscribing limited government libertarian. Ron Paul has been my guy from the first. I also admire what you do in John McCain, and if not for Paul, I'd be a McCain backer.

McCain's a solid free-trader (at a time when the tide runs against the policy), a  moderate tax and spending cutter, pro-life yet mostly tepid on social policy, and best of all, a torture abolitionist. I agree completely that he was, and remains, dead wrong on Iraq. And yet I'm beginning to oscillate more, not less, between Paul and McCain. It's for one conservative reason: timidity.

McCain will be a force for good in many ways, whereas Ron Paul is, by my lights, mostly right about everything (except immigration, on which McCain, significantly, takes a better position). Paul's philosophical perfection unnerves me.

I am confident that our wrong policy in Iraq will at least be better regulated, and stewarded more competently and cautiously over time by McCain than by the intractable Giuliani or the spineless Romney. McCain does not share the blindness of Bush or the wanton indifference of Cheney, and is apparently willing to modulate his position to suit reality, rather than the reverse. I am less confident that a Paul presidency would succeed in withdrawal. I think his party would mutiny and others would cave. I intended to vote for Rep. Paul in the primaries and sit out the general election. More and more, the easily pleased impulses in me drift this Paul supporter toward McCain, though never away from the good doctor.