Meghan McCain: She’s What’s For Dinner

Meghan McCain has a lot of conservative panties thoroughly bunched.  It’s not just that she’s the spawn of failed presidential candidate John McCain, or that she’s only been a Republican for a year.  It isn’t even her fairly mild attack on Ann Coulter.

The real reason conservatives have declared Meghan McCain public enemy du jour is that she’s a Republican with media visibility who dares to challenge conservative orthodoxy.  Her columns don’t rail against the “drive-by media” and she doesn’t pepper her appearances with accusations of RINOism and odes to Rush Limbaugh.  She embraces Republican principles, and rejects conservative demagoguery.  But perhaps her greatest affront is in having the gall to stray from lockstep adherence to partisan dogma on the issue of gay marriage.

Here’s an excerpt of Meghan’s current column, My Beef With Ann Coulter:

I am not suggesting that extreme conservatism wasn’t once popular, nor am I suggesting I should in any way be any kind of voice for the party. I have been a Republican for less than a year. Still, even after losing the election, I find myself more drawn to GOP ideals and wanting to fight for the party’s resurgence. And if figureheads like Ann Coulter are turning me off, then they are definitely turning off other members of my generation as well. She does appeal to the most extreme members of the Republican Party—but they are dying off, becoming less and less relevant to the party structure as a whole. I think most people my age are like me in that we all don’t believe in every single ideal of each party specifically. The GOP should be happy to have any young supporters whatsoever, even if they do digress some from traditional Republican thinking.

I’m often criticized for not being a “real” Republican, and I have been called a RINO—Republican In Name Only—in the past. Many say I am not “conservative enough,” which is something that I am proud of. It is no secret that I disagree with many of the old-school Republican ways of thinking. One of the biggest issues from which I seem to drift from the party base is in my support of gay marriage. I am often criticized for previously voting for John Kerry and my support of stem-cell research. For the record, I am also extremely pro-military and a big supporter of the surge and the Iraq war.

Peg Kaplan is the only blogger I follow who wrote something positive about Meghan’s column.  The rest of the blogospheric criticism is what you’d expect: Meghan is a tool with no credibility who should shut her trap because Conservatives don’t care what she thinks. There’s also the ever popular insult levied at right-leaning women that all she has going for her is her shapely backside.

Hey, come to think of it, this story sounds all too familiar: a bright, attractive Republican woman opens her mouth, only to have factions in her own Party clamoring for a chance to shut her up with as much snark and venom as they can muster.  Sarah Palin endured this treatment from the self-anointed conservative intellectual elite during campaign season, and Meghan McCain is getting it from conservative ideologues who didn’t bother to show up at the polls and then bitched when her dad lost the 2008 presidential election.

And really, what better way to bolster their conservative bona fides than by purging Meghan from the Republican Party.  Just imagine all the contented purrs and affectionate tongue baths they’ll get from their ideological bretheren when Meghan McCain’s RINO head is mounted right above the fireplace.

Of course, that will do nothing to undermine the chances of a permanent Democratic majority, but who cares about winning elections when you can win the conservative pissing contest?  Members of the Republican Party really can’t seem to help eating their own.

Meghan isn’t trying to offer sophisticated political analysis.  She’s a politician’s kid with a unique perspective on Republican politics and a bigger than average soapbox thanks to her father’s recent candidacy.  But that doesn’t make her views on the Republican Party any less instructive.

Michael Steele should be taking notes here: there are tons of liberty loving, fiscally conservative Meghan McCains out there, and most of them are registered Democrats because of what they’ve heard about the angry, hateful bigots in the GOP. It’s self-defeating for Republicans to ignore Meghan when her wing of the Party could be just as reliable at the polls as this nebulous “Republican base” we hear so much about.

The base can do their damnedest to oust Meghan from the Party, but she seems to have intuited what many GOP leaders refuse to acknowledge: undying fealty to conservatism is not a criterion for membership in the Republican Party.  Like many conservatives, Meghan believes in a strong military and thinks Bobby Jindal is a brilliant rising star in the GOP.  Why should anyone care if she feels the label “progressive Republican” gives her a little bit of hipster street cred or gasp, best describes her positions?

As for Meghan’s beef with Ann Coulter, she’s hardly the first faithful Republican to find Ann’s style too abrasive.  I never had much interest in Ann until I saw her on Red Eye. In a more relaxed setting, she has a good sense of humor and comes across as far more thoughtful and much less combative than I expected.

I respect Ann Coulter’s amazing talent for manipulating the media into airing just the right sound bytes to rile up her faithful fans and enrage her detractors.  She’s like Rush Limbaugh with an education.

But Meghan McCain doesn’t need to like or even respect Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh to be worthy of membership in the Republican Party.  Simply believing in Republican ideals is just fine.  And despite threats to the contrary, the chattering classes can’t actually lock her out of the Republican clubhouse or revoke her GOP decoder ring.

Meghan McCain and Ann Coulter are both welcome in my tent.  I probably wouldn’t seat them next to each other, but they’re both welcome.

Comments

8 Responses to “Meghan McCain: She’s What’s For Dinner”

  1. Jimmie on March 11th, 2009 7:18 am

    Actually, my problem with her is that she’s neither bright nor particularly Republican. She is getting publicity far beyond what her skill as a writer or her political insight merit simply because of her last name.

    The post of yours shows more writing chops than Miss McCain has shown in her entire brief and vapid career.

    As I said, she’s Paris Hilton sans leaked video.

    Oh, and to correct your characterization about my post. I didn’t say she had a shapely backside. I said she had a “nice” one and that it’s pretty much the only thing that set her apart from the other brand-new Republican media darling, David Frum.

  2. Schreiber on March 11th, 2009 3:12 pm

    Ms. Public

    Some quick political calculus:

    “…there are tons of liberty loving, fiscally conservative Meghan McCains out there, and most of them are registered Democrats because of what they’ve heard about the angry, hateful bigots in the GOP. It’s self-defeating for Republicans to ignore Meghan when her wing of the Party could be just as reliable at the polls as this nebulous “Republican base” we hear so much about.”

    plus

    “Why should anyone care if she feels the label “progressive Republican” gives her a little bit of hipster street cred or gasp, best describes her positions?”

    Equals

    “me too” Republicanism and another 40 years in the wilderness.

    Liberty is not the same thing as liberality, to say nothing of libertinity. Fiscal conservatism is ultimately incompatible with social liberalism, unless by social liberalism one means: do whatever you want, so long as you pay for it by yourself. Accepting the notion that one needs “hipster-street cred” in order to show that one isn’t an “angry hateful bigot” like all those other Republicans one is always hearing about is to cede so much rhetorical ground to the left that you’ve lost the argument before it’s begun. And if Progressive-Republican describes anything (other than a state of confusion about one’s core principles) it’s a center-left party oppossed to a left-of-center party.

    If that’s the future of the Republican party, then the hell with it.

    Sorry for the long reply.

  3. About That Backside… : The Sundries Shack on March 11th, 2009 4:12 pm

    [...] “undermin[ing] journalistic standards” because my post on Meghan McCain was linked in this post Jenn Q Public behind the words “shapely [...]

  4. Sara on March 12th, 2009 12:01 am

    I love Meghan’s blog and her twitter posts. Yes, she has an audience because of her father, but she is representative of young, female, moderate Republicans, like myself. I feel so alienated by the Republican party. They seem to have created a very strict criteria for membership, and I think the message is that if you can’t meet their standards, then they don’t need you. The Republican party is either going to split or drive itself into obscurity with its hate-filled divisive language. Thanks for this great article! Read my blog at http://www.embracingamerica.blogspot.com

  5. Rob Taylor on March 13th, 2009 6:32 am

    “Liberty is not the same thing as liberality, to say nothing of libertinity”

    Is that because Liberty is is a real word?

  6. nomoreGOP on March 16th, 2009 11:49 pm

    ..’some members of the Republican Party are addicted to this circular firing squad they’ve got going. Let’s see how far that gets them.”

    best quote I’ve heard so far about the douchary (since making up words is the new thing to act smart in here) of the Republicant’s lately.

    Good riddance :-)

  7. Beth on March 20th, 2009 1:29 pm

    STANDING OVATION!

    Agree with everything you said, Jenn!

  8. Laura Ingraham’s rant on the O’Reilly Factor about Meghan McCain | MY Vast Right Wing Conspiracy on March 20th, 2009 1:37 pm

    [...] UPDATE again:  AMEN!!! Jenn Q. Public nails it! [...]

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