The Dillard Doctrine

Urban Conservative Commentary on Politics & Life

McCain, the GOP, and the Conservative Movement at Thermopalye

(This is the first of a two part spiel on the future of conservatism. Background for the uninformed: the movie 300)

What does this year’s election cycle say about the future of the conservative movement? What does it mean when the Republican nominee for president has to go to the far right-arguably, further right then himself-to finally begin to garner some enthusiasm for himself and his campaign?

My take: that this is the last stand for John McCain, as well as the GOP and conservative movement in America as we currently know it. Let’s take a look:

John McCain: Let’s face it, campaigns are draining processes. This one especially, as it’s been more brutal than any in (at least my living) history, as well as longer. I have no doubt about McCain’s physical fitness for the presidency, but let’s be honest for a second. He is 72. If he loses, does he have the strength to give it another go in 2012? Does he even run for his Senate seat again? I loved his acceptance speech a week ago, but after further review, the end sounded like his Leonidas moment:

Stand up, stand up, stand up and fight. We’re Americans, and we never give up. We never quit. We never hide from history. We make history.

Compared to:

No retreat, no surrender. That is Spartan law. And by Spartan law, we will stand and fight … and die. Leonidas (from the movie 300)

Two men, making their last stand against what they percieved as a threat to that which they love most: their country.

The GOP: Two words: Sarah Palin.

I’ve stated before that, as a matter of strategy, the GOP would be better off grooming and growing its future stars (Pawlenty and Jindal were the two I mostly mentioned, but Palin could be included as well) for life post-the Obama ascendancy. Let the pendulum swing as it will, build your hope for the future, and put it into play when the country rights itself (no pun intended).

Apparently, someone smarter (?) than me disagreed with that theory.

The Palin selection, while bringing the desperately-needed enthusiasm to the McCain campaign, isn’t just a political ploy (let’s be honest here!), but a sign that the GOP wants to distance itself from the “old guard” and inject fresh blood into the party. A noble experiment.

But is this the time for such a gamble? Facing the creation of what will come to be recognized as the greatest grassroots movement in political history (yeah, an insurgency of sorts), the GOP places someone who it could bet its future on at the front line of what’s nothing short of a brutal struggle.

Remember the scene where the Spartans form their phalanx against the charging Persian horde? Is it too difficult to see McCain, Palin, and the few publically acknowledged Republicans in that position, staring down the Obama insurgency as it continues to gather steam?

The Conservative Movement: It’s been said that, sometime in mid-late October, the conservative movement will revert to the last available-at that time-tool to try and when the election: their “whiteness.” I take exception to that, cause all conservatives ain’t white.

After months of not jumping up and down about John McCain, conservatives have found their rallying point in Sarah Palin. Now, they’re coming out of the woodworks to support the McCain/Palin team.

A parallel:

Yet they stare now across the plain at 10,000 Spartans commanding 30,000 free Greeks! The enemy outnumber us a paltry three to one; good odds for any Greek.

Now, put McCain and Palin and their “10,000” Republicans at the command of “30,000” conservatives. And place them in front of the reported 2 million donors to the McCain campaign. Not looking good, huh?

Conservative beliefs have been viscerally distorted and disparaged over the last eight years of the Bush Administration, and by various fringe elements. There’s very little chance of a true conservative making any sort of political progress this year (unless they’re running again someone with a large target on their back; the ensuing William Russell/John Murtha battle in PA comes to mind). Let’s be honest again: conservatives aren’t in style anymore.


To me, the 2008 election season has been like one long funeral procession, with the GOP as we know it and the conservative movement making their slow march towards a violent, brutal death at the hands of the Obama camp and a generally pissed off electorate. Then, when all hope appeared lost, someone said:

Nothing is inevitable here.

Is the McCain/Palin team strong enough to hold the line? And, if they can’t, what’s the next step?




Written by Coby Dillard

September 12, 2008 at 9:15 am

2 Responses

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  1. Like a phoenix rising from the ashes of the Republican spending spree, conservative reformers are rising up – Palin, Jindal, Sanford, Shadegg, Pence, Coburn … no, this is not a funeral, but just the beginning of a long fight for fiscal and moral sanity – and American survival in a world that does not wish us well.

    D. Fiscal sanity, definitely. Moral sanity that doesn’t resort to extremism to make its case, yes. And in order to win that fight, there’s some changes-some as policy, but most as strategy- that we as conservatives have to make in order to effectively make our case to the American people.


    September 12, 2008 at 1:28 pm

  2. Love the 300 parallel. Reminds me of my days teaching at Norfolk State.

    The Palin selection isn’t a political ploy?

    I would love for more elaboration on this. Most would agree that she was not the most experienced choice on the list, if on the list at all. To say she is a departure from the old guard is an understatement, and an injection of new blood is laughable.


    September 18, 2008 at 12:44 am

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