However, whether it's government spending, the surge, or the right to life -- there is no doubt that John McCain would be dramatically better than either Democrat.
Granted, the folks who argue that the conservative movement would be better off if Hillary wins, have a point. Conservative organizations would flourish with her in the White House (unless she were to call the IRS on them, that is). And being in the wilderness for a few years might also lead conservatives to re-examine themselves, and become purer.
Still, I believe the stakes are too high to take this gamble. The long-term damage to the country that a Hillary Clinton presidency could bring is simply too severe. As Hugh notes, having Democrats control both the White House and Congress would be devastating. (As a side note, one good prospect of having Hillary and McCain as the nominees is that McCain mght have some good coattails which could help our Senate and House candidates.)
Should McCain hope to gain the support of other conservatives, he will need to give a good (and sincere) CPAC speech and continue surrounding himself with good conservatives.
But this is a two-way street. We need to do our part, too. It's equally important that enough conservatives keep the lines of communication open to him, so that he is surrounded by conservative advisors, staffers, and mentors. Conservatives mush have a way to punish bad behavior, and encourage good behavior. But McCain isn't likely to be open to embracing conservatives if they are kicking sand in his face.
A true patriot, Hugh Hewitt is right to call on conservatives to rally behind the nominee, whomever that is. I would also urge the winning side to be equally gracious in welcoming former foes into the fold, "with malice toward none."