(Or, why I would hold my nose and support Romney)
Politicians: Their guys (and gals) are all liars. Our guys always tell the truth. So we tend to believe our guys. As a result, we detest the opposition and our own standard-bearers are typically a shade less evil or else completely virtuous.
Take Mitt Romney. Having spent the primaries in the Not Romney camp, every previous turn he took claiming he didn't want to be Reagan rang true for me. He's supposed to be in my camp so I took him at his words. He was a progressive. Those words were not good, so I didn't like him.
My point is this - we hold those on our own side to a different standard than those of our opposition. We do so at our own peril. Obama says something bad and we expect it and it reinforces our perception of him. Obama says something good and we dismiss it (assuming that some day he does say something good). That's to be expected. But when Romney says something good we are predisposed to disbelieve him because he used to believe in global warming and not Reagan.
But what if Romney was lying back when he was running for governor of a very liberal state and he's telling the truth now? What if he has grown in his conservatism? There is a chance he is telling the truth when he espouses real conservatism. Perhaps the etch-a-sketch comments doesn't mean he really is squeamish on conservative values. Maybe it really is just a political tactic to win the White House and it slipped out.
Without Romney's history we may be more inclined to believe he was foolishly telegraphing his election plan than exposing his true colors as a liberal or a moderate or a life-long opportunist and not a temporary one. But there's that darn history of liberalesque comments.
What is a conservative voter to do? There really are only two options. Vote for Romney, or don't.
Voting for Romney plays on the possibility that he is a conservative masquerading as a liberal (both past and near future) to win elections. If that is the case he may govern as a conservative. If that masquerade is in fact real - he's a RINO - then we are straddled with a less liberal liberal than the uber-liberal liberal in the White House now. In other words, the dose of poison will at least stop flowing so quickly. Perhaps with pressure properly applied it can even be slowed to a trickle. That's clearly not ideal and it is probably a much more likely scenario than the masquerade fantasy noted above. But it is still a better outcome than the "don't vote for him and stay home election day" option.
The last option is the equivalent of allowing the 'cure' to kill the patient. Subjecting the country to 4 more years of Obama will bring terrible damage to the country - not only economically but also in terms of liberty. It's not a suite of great choices facing conservative voters, but selecting the least objectionable option is going to have to suffice.