April 19th, 2009
09:00 AM ET
6 months ago

Meghan McCain warns of looming civil war in the GOP

Meghan McCain addressed a group of gay Republicans in Washington Saturday.
Meghan McCain addressed a group of gay Republicans in Washington Saturday.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Meghan McCain warned a group of gay Republicans Saturday that there was "a war brewing in the Republican Party" – a war between the past and the future.

"Most of the old school Republicans are scared s***less of that future," she told a gathering of the Log Cabin Republicans, a group of gay and lesbian party members.

The 24-year-old daughter of former GOP presidential candidate John McCain pushed back against critics upset over her comments to CNN that she wanted President Obama to succeed, and played down her recent headline-grabbing feuds with conservative commentators Ann Coulter and Laura Ingraham. "I did not expect my frustration with what I perceive to be overly partisan and divisive Republicans to cause a national incident," she said.

"I feel too many Republicans want to cling to past successes...I think we're seeing a war brewing in the Republican Party," she said. "But it is not between us and Democrats. It is not between us and liberals. It is between the future and the past...

"I am concerned about the environment. I love to wear black. I think government is best when it stays out of people's lives and business as much as possible. I love punk rock. I believe in a strong national defense. I have a tattoo. I believe government should always be efficient and accountable. I have lots of gay friends. And yes, I am a Republican," she told a cheering crowd.

Last week, McCain signed a deal with Hyperion to write a book about the future of the Republican Party. She said Saturday that embracing new technology wouldn't solve the party's problems. "Republicans using Twitter and Facebook isn't going to miraculously make people think we're cool again. Breaking free from obsolete positions and providing real solutions that don't divide our nation further will," she said. "That's why some in our party are scared. They sense the world around them is changing, and they are unable to take the risk to jump free of what's keeping our party down."

On Monday, McCain wrote an opinion piece urging the Republican Party to use more gay-friendly language. "Of all the causes I believe in and speak publicly about, this is one of the ones closest to my heart," she wrote in a blog post on the Daily Beast titled 'Memo to the GOP: Go Gay.' " 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."

McCain's father, former Republican presidential candidate John McCain, does not support same-sex marriage but opposed a constitutional amendment five years ago that would have banned the practice, calling the legislation "un-Republican." Speaking to the Log Cabin Republicans Friday, former Bush and McCain senior advisor Steve Schmidt publicly endorsed same-sex marriage.


Filed under: Meghan McCain
soundoff (241 Responses)
  1. J.L.

    Republicans need new blood. Younger clones of current politicians enshrining the same tired old ideas do nothing to increase the Republicans ever-narrowing base. Who knows, maybe someone like Meghan McCain can change this trend... I may not agree with her politics, but I think she's right in what she says. But of course, I'm sure there's going to be a ton of right-wing nut jobs that are just going to start laying their hate upon her... let the character assassination begin...

    April 18, 2009 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  2. videodrome

    Now this young lady stands for what the GOP should be about. It should be about fiscal responsibility, strong national defense and personal freedom.
    It is NOT about conservatives vs. libs, and it is NOT about conservative social issues.
    If the GOP wants to suceed in the 21st century, then they need to get rid of the religious zealots and the people that want to obstruct progress.
    You tell Meghan, more power to you.

    April 18, 2009 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
  3. kathy

    If Meghan McCain is the future of the Republican Party, then she is exactly the reason why there needs to be a new Conservative Party in America. She's an immature, bratty, attention-grabber, trying to live off her father's failed campaign.

    April 18, 2009 11:56 pm at 11:56 pm |
  4. William in Mount Dora FL

    Maybe there's hope for Republicans.

    April 18, 2009 11:57 pm at 11:57 pm |
  5. T in NV

    I am a democrat and I think she is a smart woman. I have always said that I do not understand Republicans. They say they are pro-states rights and anti-government in people's personal lives, BUT they are anti-gay marriage and anti-abortion. They want to discriminate against people and tell then they can't be married, and they want to tell woman whether or not they can have an abortion. It is hypocrisy. I think that some Republicans are hateful and hypocritical. She will garner a lot of moderate and independant support as well as many democrats. She is pretty amazing.

    April 18, 2009 11:57 pm at 11:57 pm |
  6. Julie

    McCain picked the wrong person for his VP – Meghan was right there under his nose the whole time.

    April 18, 2009 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  7. djsjs

    I'm the biggest liberal, and I'm pretty sure I'm in Love with Miss McCain.

    She's the best republican there is.

    April 19, 2009 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  8. John Starnes Tampa Florida

    Good for her! A heart, intelligence and empathy....things long missing from her father's party.

    April 19, 2009 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  9. CJ/PA

    As a registered Democrat, I must say I'm very impressed with Meghan McCain, and as far as I'm concerned, she makes more sense than anyone else in the GOP right now. You go girl - keep up the good work. You have more common sense in your little pinkie than all the right-wingers put together. If more Republicans thought like you, it would be a better world, and a more peaceful, open minded and tolerant one as well. Don't let "them" silence your voice!

    April 19, 2009 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  10. Phil

    Who cares. She is the daughter of a failed Republican who acts like a liberal.

    April 19, 2009 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  11. Joe the Student

    Why is Meghan McCain the last voice of reason in the GOP? And I say that as a Republican myself!

    April 19, 2009 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  12. Avram

    When I was a senior in high school (I graduated in 1978) I was a registered Republican. But that was when I thought the Republican party was the party of Barry Goldwater - the party that was for strong national defense, fiscal restraint, and that was Libertarian on social issues. Then I saw Ronald Reagan climbing into bed with the religious right, and I switched parties. I switched becauseon my political agenda social issues trumped all others, and I could see the direction in which the Republicans were headed. So, for me, Meghan McCain's views are a breath of fresh air.

    April 19, 2009 12:06 am at 12:06 am |
  13. Brian

    I am not sure I would agree with all of her views, but she is well spoken, intelligent, and well worth hearing. why can't the republican party put someone like her out there instead of the foolish idiots they keep clinging to????

    April 19, 2009 12:06 am at 12:06 am |
  14. rich

    Keep talking Meghan. I think you have a bright future in politics some day. You are practical in your thinking and thats a good thing. And I say this as a non Republican.

    April 19, 2009 12:09 am at 12:09 am |
  15. Chris

    Too bad she won't be old enough in 2012 to run. She and Steve Schmidt are about the only ones in the G.O.P. that sound sane nowadays. Until the rest of them dump the mantra of "fear and smear" I'm voting for Democrats.

    April 19, 2009 12:09 am at 12:09 am |
  16. John

    Its a myth that the GOP is split along old/new age lines.

    Rather, the GOP consists of an unholy alliance of three main subgroups: economic elitists, fundamentalist zealots, and anti-government wingnuts. They are only marginally tolerant of each other.

    The day of reckoning when they finally clash with each other may be at hand. Let's hope they do.

    April 19, 2009 12:11 am at 12:11 am |
  17. Maggie

    That sounds like she has her head on straight een if she does appear to be a little fuzzy about her stand on gays therefore in my book I thin k she needs to stop the ence stadlling. She is either for or against and her dad is not for th gay movement because he knows it is immoral ans i hope for Meghan's sake she will study what gays are all about. It is unbiblical and God condemms it. If He had wanted for samd sex marraiges he would have created a mn's body with the same organs a woman has to be able to bear children. He put us here to propagate the earth and I do not think it is possible for a man to bear a child in the same way a woman can. Hie word says that a sexual relationship is normal between a male and female but for the sam sex relationsips it is abnormal and sinful and an abomination.

    April 19, 2009 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
  18. thetruthisoutthere

    She makes a pont about attempting to gain ground with the younger base. The Republican party is wallowing in the past while America is becoming ever more a multi-cultural melting pot. The country grows younger and more diverse while the GOP seems to want to narrow its base, thus eliminating new blood and ideas. If they don't change they will be routed worse in 4 years than they were last November. And no, Sarah Palin is NOT progress – for every vote she adds, she loses two.

    April 19, 2009 12:14 am at 12:14 am |
  19. Jon

    Wow! I am really starting to respect Ms. McCain! She is a strong voice for the moderate wing of the Republican party, and definitely a brighter voice for the future. Certainly she is channeling much of the "maverick" her father lost during the campaign.

    April 19, 2009 12:14 am at 12:14 am |
  20. Thunderballs

    Uhh....is this chick kind of cool? She seems to make more sense than any Republican I've heard from in years.

    April 19, 2009 12:14 am at 12:14 am |
  21. Richard L

    Maybe someday Meghan will come out of the closet - as a Democrat. She seems to be too openminded to be a Republican.

    April 19, 2009 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  22. Sharon

    I too believe that government is best when it stays out of people's lives, so I'm pro-choice and pro same-sex marriage. Until the republican party accepts those, I'll stay registered a democrat. I wish you luck taking your party back from the ultra-conservative religious folks who stole it, Meghan.

    April 19, 2009 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  23. lil bucca

    Poor Dear. Mommy dearest should make sure make sure little Meaghan takes her medicine and gets back to the 'home'.Seems she is confused about what is normal and traditional in the good ole USA.Probably because daddy dearest spared the rod. Lil Meaghan missed out on a good spanking as a child. She would have a keener respect for true values if that would have happened.

    April 19, 2009 12:19 am at 12:19 am |
  24. Dave

    Cool

    April 19, 2009 12:20 am at 12:20 am |
  25. Alex

    Megan McCain is both uninformed and incorrect as to her assumption that the older generation is scared "sh–less." I say bring it on Megan and we'll see who outlasts the other. I suspect you have never been involved in any serious fight in your life so allow us "Old Farts" to show you what it takes. Daddy has always provided the "Silver-Spoon in the mouth." It is also now apparent that the Democrats are not the real opposition in this fight. It's the wanna-be new breed who happen to call themselves Republicans.

    April 19, 2009 12:21 am at 12:21 am |
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