I've been strongly leaning this way for some time, but I've finally come to certainty on it.
1. Life issues. Yes, ESCR is still a huge problem, but he is opposed to cloning and there's a "yet" in his statements on the issue which means he's not dogmatic in his support and can be moved to change. Couple that with his lifelong anti-abortion voting record and support of the cloning ban, and his position is far from radioactive to pro-lifers.
1a. Judges. I know the Alito story, but if that's the sum total of the qualms about it, then I think we're in pretty good hands. Especially with Ted Olson on board.
2. Torture. Despite some strenuous recent claims, he's resolutely anti-torture. Only an idiot would say that torture won't occur in the future, but that's a damn sight from arguments in favor of making it official policy. McCain won't.
3. Foreign Policy/Terror War. I have to agree--I want our nation's foes to blink and worry more when they make their calculations. McCain will do that.
And as to the mad bomber/crazy John stuff floating around--what kind of 'psycho' wants to ban torture and close prison camps? Doesn't exactly fit the "unstable"/"kill 'em all" template.
3a. Iraq. The man put his neck on the line in favor of a surge strategy long before it was implemented. You can make superb arguments criticizing going to war in the first place--I'll gladly acknowledge them. But a precipitate withdrawal would lead to a horrific humanitarian disaster, would demoralize those foolish enough to have bet on America in the first place and would paint a bullseye on the nation's back.
4. Spending. The national debt is what is weighing down the economy. Whatever else has been hurled at the man, "spendthrift" is not among those epithets. He's a spending hawk, and harpooning the spending monster will do more for the economy than anything else, in the long term.
5. Global Warming. I don't care where you are on this issue--we have to do more to lessen our dependency on petroleum. McCain recognizes that, regardless of what you think of his reasoning behind it. And the risk of man-made climate change is not something I can shrug off easily, even if I agree with concerns about tyrannical "solutions."
6. Ability to work with Democrats. Given that the blue party will control Congress for the foreseeable future, that's a decided positive.
7. Character. I like the man. He spent years in a Communist prison hellhole when he didn't have to. Courage and a willingness to stand for principle are in vanishingly short supply these days. Being able to point out those virtues to my children is a bonus.
8. The Democratic alternative. Despite some virtues in both the remaining Democratic frontrunners, they are both worse in every category above (substitute "Republicans" in number 6).
For what little it's worth, there you go.