It’s a sad state of Republican affairs when the bloggy daughter of a failed presidential candidate is the voice of reason in the party. Meghan McCain, who used a public fight with Laura Ingraham to boost her visibility and score a six-figure book deal, is not someone we’d first pick to rally behind. She’s not as well informed as her supporters give her credit (though every twentysomething has, by definition, some level of naivete). She’s not as nuanced in the slick game of politics as she needs (despite her insistence that she won’t play those games). And she’s not as skilled in persuasion as she believes (preaching only alienates people). But she’s been given room on websites like The Daily Beast to make her case, and it’s a reasonable, albeit whiny and sometimes alienating one.
Most interesting for any conservative Republican — and those descriptors are not mutually exclusive these days — is McCain’s dedication to gay rights. It’s not a sign of her abandoning party ideals; it’s a sign of her youth, and not in the pejorative sense.
McCain grew up among openly gay people, and understands their plight for equal rights not as a political mind but as a literal friend to our own kind. She just has a louder soapbox than most.
This week she’ll address the Log Cabin Republicans, the suffering gay Republican organization that’s played host to a brewing civil war that just last week ended with the formation of splinter group GOProud. It’s clear gay Republicans do not fit one mold; some are more socially conservative, while others are simply fiscally conservative, which is arguably the true defining trait of a Republican.
When it comes to McCain, she’s explaining how Republicans can still be Republicans — supporting small government and fiscal responsibility — while still being decent human beings, and supporting gay rights.
“At the most basic level, sexual orientation should not be a factor in how you are treated,” she writes. “If the Republican Party has any hope of gaining substantial support from a wider, younger base, we need to get past our anti-gay rhetoric. … I am determined to build a more-inclusive GOP not by making us “sound” more inclusive, but by doing it.”
Credit must go to McCain for speaking so bluntly, and charging her own party with anti-gay rhetoric. Being homophobic is not a campaign platform that should be rewarded. Motivating the base by rallying behind discriminatory causes and legislation is despicable.
But for all McCain’s good intentions, the GOP will not change because she asks it to. Michael Steele will not issue a memo or talking points that suddenly encourage tolerance or inclusiveness. Rush Limbaugh‘s bread and butter of hateful vitriol will not disappear. And Vermont Gov. Jim Douglas will not hold a press conference to admit he was wrong on gay marriage.
But McCain doesn’t need to reach the party’s elders. She needs to reach people in her own generation, particularly of her own sexual orientation. Straight men and women who leave middle- and upper-class homes to attend university and then enter the professional world. Folks who will have gay friends in college, but might be tempted to turn their backs on them in the voting booth. It’s these folks who will be most influenced by the outreach of McCain, and the peers who mimic her.
Until, however, those generations come into their own, and begin ruling the Republican party, the GOP should not have our support. At its core, the party is an entity that thrives on and cheerleads classifying gay people as second-class citizens, undeserving of equal rights and protections. Donating money to the GOP, giving Republicans our votes, and lobbying on their behalf is — in THE NOW — tantamount to steering those dollars, votes, and breath against our own rights. No pretty blonde white girl, with her five-dollar words, famous sirname, and giant soapbox, is going to change that. Not yet.
She is really awesome as a Republican, but that Memo of hers fails to mention Proposition 8 at all. Also you can see her stanch partisanship when she tries to paint Obama as not Pro-Gay.
“President Obama, for instance, is also against gay marriage—a dirty little secret many of my gay friends were shocked to discover. But you’d never know it because he always “sounds” so inclusive.”
She fails to mention that Obama was against Proposition 8 unlike John McCain who endorsed it. Other than that she is really awesome and I wish her the best of luck.
The Gay Numbers
Why should we listen to her? Because she supports gays. What generation of Republicans do you think she represents? She does not represent Republicans that I know. I know a few. Most of them under 40. A majority under 35. A plurality is probably around 25-30.
luvz her!!!!!!!!!!!i’ll take the positive anyday
@The Gay Numbers: I think what this article is implying that perhaps, as the younger generations are getting older, along with them, they don’t have the hang ups about LGBT people like their predecessors have.
And no, YOU don’t have to listen to or support her. But if she’s able to make sense to her peers about gay rights, then by all means let her speak. WE are the only ones that would gain from her speaking out and supporting our rights to her political party.
While I applaud her stance on civil rights – and lack of heterosexist ideology (meaning she doesn’t feel she deserves “special” rights just because she’s straight) – I am still diametrically opposed to anyone who believes “profit” is the “cure” for all problems.
The space race, government reaction to the typhoid, etc. all showed that in the abscence of a quickly obtainable profit – or one that has social – but not direct monetary benefit – fail to evoke business solutions.
“Cures” are not profitable – “disease management” is.. and sorry – but be educated – take a look at the crop of HIV meds – most if not all mechanisms they employ were discovered by government sponsored scientists – and then turned into medications by profit seeking firms – few if any were pure pharmaceutical discoveries.
(I.e. Protease Inhibitors being one notable exception – that was however, based on pure science and discoveries by university scientists).
So – the two go hand in hand – yet Meghan and the republican party still can’t face being anything other than a socialist party – one that favors socializing losses and individualizing profits.
While I do not believe in the republican ideals, I do commend Meghan McCain for trying to change her party. The republicans have gone so far off the deep end these days, it is great they have someone trying to reason with their extremism. Will they blacklist her? Only time will tell!
The Gay Numbers
@mb00: I am saying the article is wrong. A young republican is still a republican. Like the Log Cabin Republicans, and more to the point- the pro-choice Republican groups (yes they existed) that does not mean they are the great majority. Indeed, I remember back when I was 18 seeing the pro-choice Republican groups saying they would represent the norm of the GOP one day. It’s been 18 years, and nothing has changed. In fact, it’s gotten worse. My point is about not confusing a voice in the wilderness for the whole tribe. She is not,a nd will not be the GOP base, even amongst the youth.
Remember how change happens – slowly, incrementally, one person at a time. The Republican Party will likely retain its emphasis on conservative social values, but the current anti-gay stance won’t last. Society changes, and political parties change with it. Just look at the Democratic Party’s evolution on racial issues. The GOP will, within a generation, shift away from its anti-gay platform. Just watch.
I like her. She’s quick-witted and clear in her message: She does not come across as someone reading a speech, rather speaking her beliefs. I’m not encouraging her to run for office, but I can appreciate her ability to shine under the bright lights.
I can understand, and probably agree with, someone having issues with anyone these days claiming Republican as their party affiliation. Some pretty words won’t wash away the recent past.
However, I can not understand gays of any variety not welcoming Meghan’s message to her own party. It takes bigger balls to stand up and deliver the message to those who disagree, than to preach to the choir. She earns some respect from me for doing it.
I don’t have anything against her personally. That being said I think the last election let Republicans know that people are tired of their small minded vendetta against gay Americans so now they are going to start trying to look moderate. They aren’t most of them do not believe gay people deserve equal rights and aberrations like Meghan McCain don’t change that.
The Gay Numbers
@Jamie: So like with race, they will see the light when it doesn’t matter.
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