April 19th, 2009
09:00 AM ET
2 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. Jennifer

    The only way Republicans can return to national prominence is if they follow the leadership of people like this young lady.

    April 19, 2009 12:21 am at 12:21 am |
  2. Bob the Observer

    I find it interesting that a media that thought Sarah Palin was too "inexperienced" to be in a presidential race continues to take so much interest in this 24-year-old child of luxury who has never had a real job or had to live in the real world.

    Enough already. She's had a lot more than her fifteen minutes of fame. Can we let Meghan McCain return to her well-deserved obscurity?

    April 19, 2009 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  3. Sm

    Meghan is the future of the GOP. She's the only one who makes sense. She's so right about the past vs future. So what if the Bible belt won't like it. Don't vote it then. Megan is absolutely correct to point out that the World is changing around us. The bottom line is that the core of Republican ideology can still move forward devoid of old school conservatism. Let bygones be bygones.

    April 19, 2009 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
  4. Joe, Florida

    She's very smart and she's right on point. The old and the elite have always been of changing ways and times; it's plain human nature. Newt Gingrich and the rest of the pack still cling to Reagan and the Cold War of the past. Reagan was an admirable person on many areas, but the world is much more complicated today. These old guys gotta let go if they want to ever become nationally significant.

    April 19, 2009 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
  5. mypitts2

    The GOP must split. Their differences are irreconcilable.

    April 19, 2009 12:25 am at 12:25 am |
  6. Michael in Orlando

    How messed up it must be to belong to a political party that is so contradictory and full of self righteous blow hards! Yea, the party of "less government" wants to legislate morality, limit a woman's right to chose, and tell gay and lesbian americans who they can love and marry. A part of me hopes they continue to remain dated and divided so us liberals and insightful, open minded Americans can continue to dominate and influence fpositive legislation for a long time to come.

    April 19, 2009 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  7. Max

    Her speech reminds about environment, gay, tattoos and stuff is written in the same way as a speech I've heard before.

    I'm not sure, but I think that during the DNC keynote address, a certain Barack Obama talked the same way

    April 19, 2009 12:29 am at 12:29 am |
  8. Dimslie

    Meghan McCain??? Why not report on someone of greater public stature, say Roseanne Barr?

    April 19, 2009 12:29 am at 12:29 am |
  9. Sarah, Northern Colorado

    I've said it before and I'll say it again...this woman embodies what the Republican party's ideals TRULY are. I hope she runs for president when she turns 35.

    April 19, 2009 12:31 am at 12:31 am |
  10. Zion

    Now Meghan, I read the last paragraph, and the only thing that separates your views from a "traditional Republican" is...nothing but the music and style of clothing. I will be impressed when I hear a Republican admit that the government is necessary in some circumstances, but we want to minimize the necessary evil as much as possible.

    April 19, 2009 12:31 am at 12:31 am |
  11. Liza Heider

    I'm sorry, but why is Meghan MaCain in the CNN news? Is she interested in politics or merely letting everyone she has a tattoo and likes punk rock. Why should she get media attention? Oh, Meghan is concerned about the environment? WOW. Well, what's she doing about it? Driving her daddy's big SUV and living off her trust fund? Great. Can I get on CNN? I'm speechless! I know lots of people like her and they don't get on CNN. Go away Meghan. Come back when you really want to do something that matters. You're just a cute kid of a famous Republican Senator and that's all. Prove something to me. I love to wear black too. Maybe if I get a tattoo, I would be cooler and get to talk to people about it. Whoppee!

    April 19, 2009 12:31 am at 12:31 am |
  12. Aaron P

    Meghan McCain strikes me as one of the most refreshing, exciting, and positive (not to mention timely!) people to step onto the national political stage in my life. As a 20-something, I feel proud to consider Meghan a peer, a young and ambitious yet grounded and intelligent young woman who wants to make a difference in this country not by clinging to past ideology and rhetoric but by embracing change. I am a gay, left-leaning 27-year old musician and teacher from the Northeast, but I feel like I have a great deal in common with this Republican daughter of the former GOP candidate for president. Good for you, Meghan McCain, you appear to have a bright and influential future in your sights...glad to know you want to share it with the nation.

    April 19, 2009 12:35 am at 12:35 am |
  13. TJ

    The daughter of the candidate who was born with the silver spoon in her mouth is right about many things, except her vision of the future and what being a Republican is all about. Her father was a shining example of someone who only played to certain positions because he knew he had to in order to get elected, not because he actually believes them and stands for them. The problem with Republican candidates is not "obsolete positions" but rather, that so few elected Republicans actually believe them and are willing to fight for them. Being a Republican is about individual freedom and the American dream in its purest form. Meghan's mother's father knew this when he took a small beer distributorship and grew it to a multi-million-dollar company. Her political philosophies would have killed that business in its infancy with high taxes, exessive regulations, and under the current admnistration, most likely government interference with corporate governance.

    What many "progressive Republicans" fail to realize is that conservative principals, when properly defined and executed, have universal appearl across generations. Everyone wants the government to stay out of their business, pay less taxes, enjoy their Constitutional freedoms, and be rewarded for individual achievement. These same people don't think it the government's responsibility to do what charities do, or that entitlement programs improve the quality of life for most sectors. Marriage is the cornerstone of family, and family is the cornerstone of a healthy society. Out of family, there are natural support networks that help people through tough times without government aid, reducing the pressure on taxpayers, giving them more resources to help their own families as they see fit. Right-to-life is nothing more than protecting a human being's constitutional right to exist. These are not obsolete positions. They are core principals that stand for something, even those who wear black and have tattoos. Geez.

    April 19, 2009 12:35 am at 12:35 am |
  14. David Chacon from Alaska

    Meghan,
    I supported your dad until he picked Palin as his running mate. His choice was a terrible and unfortunate mistake.

    Keep up your work in building a new foundation for the Republican brand. I may yet have a chance to vote for a McCain (and woman) for president.

    Don't let the far right wing bully you – your future is your's to make.

    April 19, 2009 12:38 am at 12:38 am |
  15. 'coiny'

    now, if they would take up the cause of ending prohibition, then they may start getting some membership back. it is becoming obvious that Obama is going to continue the wasteful war on our own people, so , i'm ready to begin the switch back to the libertarian party, or possibly republicans ,IF they promise to end the drug wars.

    April 19, 2009 12:39 am at 12:39 am |
  16. Don Bee

    I'm starting to see glimmers of hope for the Republican party in people like Mehgan McCain. It must have been painful for her to watch her dad cowtow to the base of the party in the past Presidential election. So now she's speaking her piece and good for her. I would love to see her forge a Centrist Party with some like-minded Republicans, Independents and Democrats. I think they would send the current two has-beens reeling.

    April 19, 2009 12:42 am at 12:42 am |
  17. Rickymo

    She may be the first GOP person in a long time who is getting it right.

    April 19, 2009 12:43 am at 12:43 am |
  18. J S Ragman

    This young lady has way to much common sense to be Republican. I am hard-core Democrat but Meghan deserves to be listened to. This must be driving the Hate Radio crowd crazy. Stand your ground Ms. McCain because it is going to get ugly and personal from the idiot element in your party.

    April 19, 2009 12:45 am at 12:45 am |
  19. posey N.C.

    Megan Mccain just wants to be in the spot light and talking about other people is the thing that she knows. She should be a far left liberal because that is what she acts like. One day she will put her foot in her mouth.

    April 19, 2009 12:46 am at 12:46 am |
  20. Terry, TX

    Who cares what she thinks...she thinks she has lived long enough in the world to write on the future on any party....she's getting as irritating as Joy Behar....and thanks to the higher spirits...she is not an independent.

    April 19, 2009 12:48 am at 12:48 am |
  21. Anonymous

    Put a muzzle on her. Since when did a 24 year old that has never done anything been the voice of the GOP. Stupid and the left wing media is loving putting her on to divide the party even more.

    April 19, 2009 12:49 am at 12:49 am |
  22. Resplendent

    William F. Buckley, Jr., she ain't. As soon as she shows some qualifications to support the authority of her opinions then her comments will mean something. Until then her command of the spotlight shows more about the anti-Republican bias of the media and the celebrity-obsessed nature of media coverage than anything else. Like too many self-promoting poseurs she mistakes identity with achievement. Being the daughter of a long-time politician should give her statements no weight. Let's see what you can accomplish first Meghan, aside from just being famous for being famous, a la Paris Hilton.

    April 19, 2009 12:51 am at 12:51 am |
  23. Tom

    I think most people don't care what Megan McCain thinks.

    April 19, 2009 12:52 am at 12:52 am |
  24. Don - Crystal Lake, IL

    Good For Meghan!
    This young lady knows a few things her father sadly lacked. On top of that, she speaks plainly and, I hope, from the heart.
    It is true. The Republican Party is so out-of-touch with reality that I'm surprised they're still here. It's not just being "gay friendly" in their language, its facing the realities that this is a changing world. Like it or not, the world around us can not be governed from either the country club or the corporate board room. Sooner or later, the rank and file will rightly demand their fair share and throw those trying to force false issues down our throats under the bus. Wake up people! These last eight years showed us how arrogance can be its own poison.

    April 19, 2009 12:53 am at 12:53 am |
  25. Fay

    Good for her...glad she's confident & well spoken and passionate about what she believes in. There may be hope for the party yet.

    April 19, 2009 12:53 am at 12:53 am |
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