One thing that surprised me in reading through various forums and message boards was the number of fans that Stannis won over to his side with this episode. Its seems that a lot of people were impressed with both his resolve and his determination to lead his men into battle. In direct contrast to Joffrey running to hide behind his mother's skirt, he was the fist man to the shore and the first man up the Ladders.
Stannis really does feel like a metaphor for Conservatives at times. He outwardly remains bound by his honor and loyal to his ideals of law and justice. But there is not room for pity or compassion in the man, and he allows his ideals to justify some pretty dishonorable and dark actions.
However Spoiler text:
His actions in Book 3 do make it a lot easier to envision him as an actual leader. And if you thought he was badd-ass in this episode with just a normal sword, he is pretty damn terrifying once they start figuring out how to forge 'Lightbringer'.