A friend of mine, a Catholic Democrat from Pennsylvania who voted Obama in 2008, sent me the following e-mail today, explaining why he chose with great reluctance to vote for Mitt Romney. I reproduce it (slightly altered to make reading easier) with his permission. Whether or not you agree with his conclusion, or how he arrived at it, I think you’ll agree with me that this is one voter who really thought hard about his vote:

Very, very reluctantly, with no illusions that he is honorable or the leader we need, and with full cognizance that by prioritizing some issues there are certain foreseeable disasters ahead on other issues, I am going to vote for Romney because:

1. From Front Porch Republic:

These considerations notwithstanding, the gravest reason I have for voting against Obama is to prevent the United States from becoming a country that will elect a man who represents a party that so brazenly supports abortion rights and gay marriage.  I have not lost my smarts to think that a Romney administration will do much to change federal policy on abortion and I’m not that hopeful for a savvy proposal on gay marriage.  But…if Obama wins I fear his victory will signal that a majority of the American people (who vote anyway) no longer care [about] protecting the unborn or the ways in which we rear the born.  Sure, Obama may fail in some of his pro-choice and gay marriage policies.  But a victory will mean that his pro-choice and gay marriage platforms were inconsequential in this election.  For me that would represent a turning point in the history of this republic….So I’ll vote for Romney, preferring a gradual to a more rapid collapse of those qualities that made the United States remarkable.

2. Even though I very much agree with this from Front Porch Republic:

If you can’t in good conscience vote for either of the two major candidates, don’t. Democracy is about expressing your preference. Too long we’ve consigned ourselves to the false choice of voting for the lesser of two evils. If we are satisfied with that dismal alternative, we’ll likely continue to get nothing better.

3. Here’s a partial record of how I formed my conscience:

a) Christians should always remember…

b) A Catholic summary.

c) The best reasons to vote for Obama were this and this

d) But Obama has no vision.

e) Obama has serious moral problems.

f) The best reasons to vote for Romney were this, this, and this.

g) But Romney is not trustworthy with respect to abortion or religious liberty; see this, this, and this, to say nothing of this and this.

h) And even if Romney is trustworthy on abortion, making it illegal might not be the best way to reduce the number of abortions; see here.

i) The best arguments for Romney are irrelevant, because they overestimate how much the presidency matters.

j) The two candidates are so, so similar once you step back and get perspective.

k) The two candidates are virtually the same on economics

l) … and very similar on foreign policy

m) Both candidates are dishonest in ways that mirror each other on taxes/budgets.

n) The media and both candidates collude in avoiding certain key issues.

o) The pro-life movement is disgracefully partisanly Republican, which means the possibility of being suckered is real.

p) Not every conservative is voting for Romney; see here, here, and here.

q) I am very wary of being coerced into voting when there are no good choices. See here, here,
here, and here.

r) And abstaining from national elections isn’t passive.

After all that deliberation, the Catholic Democrat from Pennsylvania came down for Romney. Well done! I say that not as a comment on the choice he made, but how he made the choice. I wish I had been so diligent in my own deliberation.

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