The Dillard Doctrine

Urban Conservative Commentary on Politics & Life

My Long National Nightmare is Over

An interesting thing happened on my way to Christiansburg, VA yesterday.

Got into a beef with Jack Turner, one of the moderators at JJP, over some comments made at McCain/Palin rallies on Monday. Apparently, someone at a McCain rally, in response to the question “Who is the real Barack Obama?,” shouted “terrorist!” And then there was this, from the Washington Post:

“Now it turns out, one of his earliest supporters is a man named Bill Ayers,” Palin said.

“Boooo!” said the crowd.

“And, according to the New York Times, he was a domestic terrorist and part of a group that, quote, ‘launched a campaign of bombings that would target the Pentagon and our U.S. Capitol,'” she continued.

“Boooo!” the crowd repeated.

“Kill him!” proposed one man in the audience.

Neither McCain nor Palin responded to these statements.

I said yesterday that the statements were inappropriate, but you can’t control what your supporters say, and that if the candidates took the time to respond to every single stupid thing that was said by a supporter, the campaigns would come to a grinding halt. Jack, and others, countered that McCain/Palin’s silence on the statements implied consent, and that they should have called out the statements as inappropriate. They further called out the rallies as an attempt to incite hate and racism.

Tempers flared, things got way out of hand…which is bad when you’re responding on a BlackBerry while driving through the mountains. So, to Jack, for the inappropriateness on my part, I apologize.


There’s more to the story. Again, from the Post:

Worse, Palin’s routine attacks on the media have begun to spill into ugliness. In Clearwater, arriving reporters were greeted with shouts and taunts by the crowd of about 3,000. Palin then went on to blame Katie Couric’s questions for her “less-than-successful interview with kinda mainstream media.” At that, Palin supporters turned on reporters in the press area, waving thunder sticks and shouting abuse. Others hurled obscenities at a camera crew. One Palin supporter shouted a racial epithet at an African American sound man for a network and told him, “Sit down, boy.”

And, finally, from the debate last night-which I can’t, in good conscience, call a McCain victory:

McCain seemed uncomfortable, jumping up from his high chair to march towards the audience, rambling in his answers, and sometimes forgetful, Ewen Macaskill and Suzanne Goldenberg write in today’s Guardian.

At one point, he referred to Obama, with a dismissive hand gesture, as “that one” – a reference that caused some in the audience to wince, and that seemed likely to go down as the debate’s most memorable moment.

Death of a candidate. Death of a campaign.


My standard for racism is pretty high. I’ve let some things ride; even defended some statements by seeing the intent of them and not focusing on the words chosen. However, at this point, it’s become way too much. It’s obvious now. While the Democratic Party has it’s share of racist history, some-though not all-elements of the Republican Party have chosen to display their racism openly.

And that, I can’t support.

McCain has-most likely, finally and irrevocably-lost my vote. The stickers are coming down today (except the one that’s glued to the car; gonna have to work on that one without damaging the paint any more). Unfortunately, this probably puts me in the category of not voting, because I still disagree with the Obama/Biden ticket, in terms of policy, on multiple levels.

So, any further coverage of the election from here on (as I’m going to the McCain/Palin rallies in VA on Monday) will be for historical purposes only. I’ll try to write objectively, and remove the partisanship. My arguments on Iraq and the War on Terror will be limited to my differences in policy, and to correct misinformation. I leave it to my few readers to check me on that.


I’ve told people-my family, and on other blogs-that my biggest nightmare was that McCain would slip up and say something on national TV that he really shouldn’t. My prime examples were calling Obama “boy” or-worse-the n-word. At which point, I said, I would confess my sins, declare neutrality, and move on.

Sins confessed. Neutrality declared.



Written by Coby Dillard

October 8, 2008 at 8:05 am

6 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. D., I’ve been impressed with your efforts to remain even-handed throughout this campaign, and also your attention to policy rather than theatrics. I agree with your values and sympathize (but don’t usually agree) with your policy preferences. As a Democrat who has been disappointed with his party for many years, I also empathize with how you’re feeling right now.

    Think of this way: it takes a rude shock to shake the losers out. In the next few years, there will be leaner, meaner Republican party, and maybe some interesting new ideas. And – hopefully – begin to appeal to people’s better nature rather than manipulate fear and hatred. You know, I disagreed with the man’s policy agenda, but Reagan had a real knack for tapping into people’s optimism.


    October 8, 2008 at 9:03 am

  2. D: Well said. Carry on YOUR interest/mission in the political realm!

    “Ain’t gonna let nobody turn me ’round.” should be your mantra.

    Don’t let disappointments STOP you!

    Continued Blessings on the WIFE and you.


    October 8, 2008 at 1:50 pm

  3. D,

    You must let your conscience guide you.

    From my viewpoint, I agree that candidates cannot be held responsible for what is said about the opposing candidate from a supporter in crowd, a blog poster, a telepundit, etc.

    Furthermore, if silence is mplied consent, then the standard must be evenly and equally applied.

    ‘That one,” “That guy.” No big deal in my opinion. Dismissive, yes. Racist, no. But that is just my opinion.

    D. It’s only a big deal to me when viewed towards the prism of the patter established the days before. I’ll be at the McCain rally in VA Beach on Monday, and we’ll see what the environment’s like. At this point, my conscience is completely confused.


    October 9, 2008 at 10:59 am

  4. […] My Long National Nightmare is Over […]

  5. I’ll be at the McCain rally in VA Beach on Monday, and we’ll see what the environment’s like. At this point, my conscience is completely confused.

    In some situations (and I have the feeling this is one of them) confusion is actually valuable. People often want to immediately clear up confusion because it is uncomfortable — but in some cases it can function usefully, IMO.

    I know you’re talking about your conscience, but for me “learning” goes really seriously deep and I would likely include conscience as part of that. So after reading your statement here, I went back and found some stuff I wrote some years ago, trying to make explicit the connection between confusion and learning.

    I’m sorry if this is too much or otherwise not useful. I guess I’m in a state of being really impressed with you as someone who is learning right now, who is more interested in what is actually going on than what you want to be going on. It always calls to me, when people are in this space. I’m better these days at not getting too involved in situations like this, but still it’s in my nature to respond and engage on this kind of thing. Again, I’m sorry if what I am doing here is annoying, not useful, etc. I sometimes assume things will be useful and they are not.

    But — Here’s what I wrote a while back about confusion and learning:


    I think that in a society that is so fixated on expertise and one-dimensional right answers, it’s necessary to learn the value of confusion as part of learning. I remember when I was doing some research some years ago, I got frustrated by my confusions, by things not making sense, until I realized that my confusion itself was a marker, a signal that something was going on that was significant.

    It was a shift for me, it was about learning to value confusion as part of analysis, movement toward clarity, and even wisdom. Sometimes confusion is a precursor to clarity. Sometimes confusion happens when I am on the edge of something shifting in my understanding. It is confusing because I am in transition — and if I rush the process, I lose something important.

    Also, there’s a lot [for me in this society] that just doesn’t make sense. If we get upset at ourselves for it not making sense, maybe we miss the point. I mean, maybe it just *doesn’t* make sense and we need to learn from that too.

    And then, too, sometimes confusion is an indication of issues below the surface or of assumptions that are not explicit. I am really confused about the current conversation in [a group I was part of at the time.] I am not entirely sure what anyone is talking about, and my efforts at clarity have just led to more confusion for me. I actually mentioned this in [another conversation] tonight – I said that that I’m working with a group and that I am confused about what the heck we’re even talking about at this point. I said that I don’t really know what it is, but I know it is important. I think that my confusion is a signal that whatever we’re dealing with goes deeper than what [two of the members] are actually debating.

    Without confusion, it would be too easy for me to mistake the surface debate for the deeper underlying issues and questions.

    Anyway, D, from experience and observation over at JJP and now with this — I trust that whatever happens and whatever observations and conclusions you may come to, you will be honest about it with yourself. And I have a whole lot of respect for people who are willing to do that, including you.


    October 9, 2008 at 6:51 pm

  6. Let’s be careful to get the logic correct on “ties to racism”. If McCain is supported by racists, that doesn’t make him a racist.

    Silence in the face of racism is bad, but it’s not necessarily racism. The problem is that it’s hard to interpret silence. It surely isn’t repudiation, which is appropriate. Silence sends the wrong message by not sending the right message.

    You could look at some of the ways that Obama/Biden deal with Palin and — I hope — come to similar observations. I don’t think McCain/Palin are racists, and I don’t think that Obama/Biden are sexists (in the sense of a sexism that resembles racism).

    I’d look at their policies more than I’d listen to their campaign rhetoric. Having looked at their policies, of course, I’m still undecided.

    D. Strictly on policy, I’m with McCain-if for no other reason than the war and national security/foreign policy. Having said that, though…his message last week was lost in all the craziness that became his campaign. McCain’s a fighter, but he’s not a good dirty fighter; he should really leave that to someone else. I was at his rally in VA Beach today, and the atmosphere was decidely less confrontational than that shown at the rallies last week.

    Jim Vernon

    October 13, 2008 at 1:57 pm

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: