The Dillard Doctrine

Urban Conservative Commentary on Politics & Life

Future Conservativism: A Counterinsurgency Strategy for 2009 and Beyond

On Friday, I looked at how this election amounts to the “last stand” for McCain, as well as the GOP and conservatives as they’re currently known (and hated). Today, I look at the three things that the GOP and conservatives must do post-the Obama ascendancy to evolve and maintain their relevance.

So, what if we don’t win this election? Suppose that McCain/Palin experiment doesn’t end the way the GOP and conservatives want it to? Facing a Democratic supermajority (the White House, the Congress….hell, just about every part of government save the conservative judges on the Supreme Court), what things must the GOP and the conservative movement do to win back the hearts and minds of Americans?

Listen to people that they haven’t listened to before..and go places they haven’t been before. You could also call this “increase minority outreach.”

You can’t talk about how to fix a problem if you don’t know what it is. You can’t tell me what the problems are in the black/Hispanic/Asian communities if you haven’t been there to see them. The GOP has got to begin going into the places that have traditionally made them uncomfortable, and where they’ve been unwelcome. And, probably most importantly, when they get there they have to listen to what the people say. The first time a large conservative contingent shows up in the ‘hood, there’s going to be a massive mutual distrust. That ain’t the time to show up and preach the conservative gospel, especially to people what have a standing stereotype of what being a “conservative” means to them.

Kill off their more extremist elements. Okay, some extremism is inevitable. However, you can’t go around raining death and destruction on every single person who disagrees with you…and that’s a mistake some conservative circles have made (and continue to). Here’s a couple major myths that are pushed by fringe conservative elements that need dispelling…quickly:

  1. The GOP, if placed in power, will not deport every single illegal immigrant out of the country. Sorry; everyone knows we have neither the manpower or money for that.
  2. The GOP will not attempt to “legislate” morality. More on this in my third point below, but conservatives have to face the fact that you can’t throw everyone in prison who doesn’t live up to your standard to morality. Plus, a closer examination of conservative “morality” might land some conservatives in hot water as well. Can’t have that, now, can we?!
  3. Conservatives have to let go of the idea that people who disagree with them are destined for the fires of hell. Now, I’m just as religious as anyone…but even I know that-at least in the Christian religion-Jesus died for my sins. With that said, if someone does something I consider a sin, even though I may not like it, I have to at least recognize that in the grand scheme of things, they will be forgiven for it.

Each one of these beliefs has been-in some way, shape, or form-pushed by one extremist conservative group or another. Memo to the conservative movement: keep going far right with your beliefs, and you’ll soon find yourself without an audience.

Settle for the middle ground more often then not. There’s always an avenue of compromise. Yes, abortion is bad…but when does not having one do more harm than good? How do we make immigration attractive AND convince people that legal immigration pays a lot more benefits than doing it illegally? Traditionally, when the GOP has always taken what they consider the “high” ground, it comes back to bite them in the ass at some point. Just like everyone else, there’s a way to achieve the desired end state-a united nation with a set of laws that we can all live with-without having to draw the “hard line” for every issue.

So, those are my thoughts. More than likely, the GOP and conservatives will have four years to remake their image into something people want to be associated with.

We’ll see what happens.




Written by Coby Dillard

September 16, 2008 at 1:04 pm

4 Responses

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  1. D,

    McCain will win this election.

    The current economic news will now focus sharply on the failure of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae/Lehman/AIG. This financial disaster began with the Clinton Administration policies to ease lending restrictions to open up the housing market to minorities.

    While there is plenty of blame in Congress to go around, keep in mind, the top three executives, Franklin Raines, Jim Johnson and Jamie Goerlick are Democrats. Raines and Johnson are advisors to Obama and Obama has taken more campaign cash than any other politician except Chris Dodd (D-CT) who is the Chairman of the committee that oversees Fannie/Freddie.

    As the Obama campaign tries to place the blame on McBush, it has now been shown that John McCain was eerily prescient on the collapse of Fannie/Freddie.
    John McCain partnered with three other Senate Republicans to reform the government’s involvement in lending three years ago, after an attempt by the Bush administration was killed by the Democrats in Congress two years earlier, in 2004. McCain spoke forcefully on May 25, 2006, on behalf of the Federal Housing Enterprise Regulatory Reform Act of 2005 (via Beltway Snark):

    “Mr. President, this week Fannie Mae’s regulator reported that the company’s quarterly reports of profit growth over the past few years were “illusions deliberately and systematically created” by the company’s senior management, which resulted in a $10.6 billion accounting scandal.

    The Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight’s report goes on to say that Fannie Mae employees deliberately and intentionally manipulated financial reports to hit earnings targets in order to trigger bonuses for senior executives. In the case of Franklin Raines, Fannie Mae’s former chief executive officer, OFHEO’s report shows that over half of Mr. Raines’ compensation for the 6 years through 2003 was directly tied to meeting earnings targets. The report of financial misconduct at Fannie Mae echoes the deeply troubling $5 billion profit restatement at Freddie Mac.

    The OFHEO report also states that Fannie Mae used its political power to lobby Congress in an effort to interfere with the regulator’s examination of the company’s accounting problems. This report comes some weeks after Freddie Mac paid a record $3.8 million fine in a settlement with the Federal Election Commission and restated lobbying disclosure reports from 2004 to 2005. These are entities that have demonstrated over and over again that they are deeply in need of reform.

    For years I have been concerned about the regulatory structure that governs Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac–known as Government-sponsored entities or GSEs–and the sheer magnitude of these companies and the role they play in the housing market. OFHEO’s report this week does nothing to ease these concerns. In fact, the report does quite the contrary. OFHEO’s report solidifies my view that the GSEs need to be reformed without delay.

    I join as a cosponsor of the Federal Housing Enterprise Regulatory Reform Act of 2005, S. 190, to underscore my support for quick passage of GSE regulatory reform legislation. If Congress does not act, American taxpayers will continue to be exposed to the enormous risk that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac pose to the housing market, the overall financial system, and the economy as a whole.

    I urge my colleagues to support swift action on this GSE reform legislation.”

    In this speech, McCain managed to predict the entire collapse that has forced the government to eat Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, along with Bear Stearns and AIG. He hammers the falsification of financial records to benefit executives, including Franklin Raines and Jim Johnson, both of whom have worked as advisers to Barack Obama this year. McCain also noted the power of their lobbying efforts to forestall oversight over their business practices. He finishes with the warning that proved all too prescient over the past few days and weeks.

    If Democrats are baffled as to why the current Wall Street meltdown is not benefitting Obama, one need not look too far into his campaign or his party to find the root causes for the Fannie/Freddie debacle.


    September 17, 2008 at 12:35 pm

  2. D.

    Cosigned. Good post. Not much else to say.


    September 18, 2008 at 12:29 am

  3. Like I said on JJP, this all goes in cycles. You’re in the same boat we were in several decades ago — and look how long it took progressives to finally pull themselves together, get practical, muzzle the extremists, and take the reigns.

    If you follow your first principle faithfully — listening — I will put big odds that the new core, the new principles of the conservative movement will NOT be the current ones. The new dividing lines of society and politics will NOT be the current ones. The stupid battles of the 1960s-70s are over. The new liberal majority will have some very good years, but there will be emerging opportunities. The language will be different, the constituencies will be different, but a new pole will form.

    If I were calling the shots for progressives — and I’m not, far from it — I would want to see us structure frameworks around and above society, the market, etc. Gone would be the days when we decry the market — rather, it will be about channeling incentives more intelligently.

    I guess I would take whatever core principles the Democrats articulate to the extreme, see where it falls apart, and design a counter-insurgency against that as the next lodestone of the next conservative movement.

    But that’s totally devoid of content, of course. It would take true prescience to see exactly how things are going to go wrong for progressives in, say, 12 years, which is when about when the Republican equivalent of Bill Clinton will come to power.


    October 3, 2008 at 4:35 pm

  4. D, I think your article puts forth a reasonable & rational platform. But it won’t succeed if people retain their closet racism. Somehow, the truth comes out. Also, what do “conservatives” have to offer minorities? I’m thinking you must know something I don’t know. My opinion of conservatives is that their policies benefit them & not me, that it is against my interests to support or join them. They want to allow corporations to operate without paying their share of taxes, and use MY TAX DOLLARS to keep corporations afloat when their CEO’s take the $ for personal profit instead of company savings or reinvestment (like they expect me to do). If my small pension gets stolen, why doesn’t anyone go to jail? If I steal something, I’m there! Why aren’t the “conservatives” who steal my pension asked to sell their yachts or collection of fabulous homes? Yet they don’t care if I even have health care & they don’t want to pay for poor kids to have head start, so that maybe they can become a CEO & steal all the $ too. I know you will say that stealing is not political per se, but I’m also speaking to a mind set that has a condescending attitude toward programs that they label “entitlements,” but have NO PROBLEM awarding no bid contracts to Haliburton or “losing” $hundreds of thousands of american cash dollars in Iraq. Honestly, D. When I think of republicans &/or conservatives, I think of white collar crime of astronomical proportions, and this does not appeal to me. I find it incredulous that John McCain (or Ronald Regan) would collect social security when he is wealthy. A REAL patriot would let the country keep this money when they don’t need it. To not do so is greedy, imo.

    D. In an attempt to not make this a whole other post, I’ll be brief. One of my beliefs is that black Americans are naturally conservative (we don’t like abortion, don’t want the government taking more of our money and interferring more in our lives). The problem with current conservatism is that those issues are presented in extremis; it’s either our way or you’re going to hell. That’s gotta stop. Be careful defining patriotism as who’s paying what; McCain’s earned his right to social security (and a military pension, by the way) just like any other American. Now, if he chooses to give that back (through charity or some other medium), that’s on him…but not doing so wouldn’t make him less patriotic. And I’d extend that same belief to anyone, regardless of where that seat falls on the aisle.


    October 3, 2008 at 6:28 pm

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