“I love you. Now, please change.”
That is the message Meghan McCain has for the Republican Party. Ms. McCain said she fell in love with the GOP while campaigning for two years with her father, John McCain. However, in spite of her newly minted affection for the Republican Party, she believes that in order for the party she loves to attract more young people like her, the party needs to be reshaped to reflect the views held by the hip generation of which she imagines that she is a part.
What changes does she think the GOP needs to make? It needs to be hip and edgier. She laments the perception that there are no Republican politicians who are exciting enough that anyone would want to wear his or her likeness on a piece of clothing. What a short memory she has. Her father’s vice presidential running mate, Sarah Palin, inspired the creation of numerous t-shirts, sweatshirts, and pins with her face on them. She also attracted crowds of tens of thousands at campaign appearances. However, that must be of little consequence to Ms. McCain, since those tens of thousands were the regular folks from the heartland of America who make this country work. They were not the Hollywood types or MTV crowd who wore Barack Obama adorned dresses at mutual admiration societies masquerading as video music award shows.
Ms. McCain also has a dim view of ideological conservatives. She thinks the Republican Party gives too much attention to Ann Coulter, whom she described as “offensive, radical, insulting, and confusing.” Rush Limbaugh is also unacceptable to Meghan, because he is the “extreme right-wing” and “dangerous” for the party — perhaps an unsurprising description in view of Rush’s hesitant and belated endorsement of her father in 2008. So whom does Ms. McCain think Republicans should turn to for political and cultural advice? None other than Russell Brand. A British “comedian,” Brand took time out of his MTV Music Awards hosting duties in September of last year to beg Americans to vote for Barack Obama. He also decided to insult and malign not just Sarah Palin, but her entire family:
I am obliged by broadcasting law to show some balance in this situation, which means, uh, the Republicans might be alright. Sarah Palin. She’s a VILF! A vice president I’d like to…fumble, fondle, I dunno. I do feel a little bit sorry for her daughter, getting pregnant, poor kid. Is it a boy? Is it a girl? It’s a P.R. stunt. Come on. Be honest.
Meghan McCain thinks Rush Limbaugh is dangerous and Ann Coulter is offensive but she thinks Russell Brand is “freaking hilarious” and recommends that “everyone” listen to him. Really? Republicans should embrace the unfunny rants of a man who ridicules and degrades them?
Ms. McCain’s most recent complaint is that the Republican Party is not progressive, particularly when it comes to gay rights. In an April 13 article she said that the GOP uses “anti-gay rhetoric” to “whip up the base” and she used as an example a quote from an unnamed conservative congressman: “If we don’t save marriage, we can’t remain pro-life.” I agree with Ms. McCain that there is an illogical connection between the issues of life and marriage. However, to maintain that marriage should be limited to a man and a woman is a far cry from anti-gay rhetoric. If that were the case, then Barack Obama must also be “whipping up” anti-gay sentiment, since his position on the question is virtually identical.
Though Ms. McCain’s efforts may be well meaning, she displays a weak grasp of the foundation and philosophy that is conservatism and the Republican Party. Perhaps she needs to reread a quote from one of her gay friends. His view embodies the conservative and, therefore, Republican philosophy well: “Where I stand politically doesn’t begin and end with my sexuality.” Conservatism, which must remain the core of the Republican Party, does not begin and end with anyone’s sexuality, race, creed, or religion. It is a philosophy that values an individual because of his unalienable rights.
Ms. McCain is like an ideological carpetbagger. A moderate, she floats into the political culture on the wings of her father’s name in order to set Republicans straight and push them into what she defines as the mainstream, a mission eerily similar to the one her father engaged in for many years. It is unfortunate, for the sake of our Republic, that John McCain was defeated in November, despite his moderate leanings. However, if the Republican Party were to follow the advice of another McCain, the result would be more electoral defeats, further shrinking of the Republican base, and more blurring of the differences between the two parties.