April 19th, 2009
09:00 AM ET
4 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. Al, California

    GOP split is inevitable. There is some 20+% of our citizens who, sadly, will support religious fundamentalists and extremists – the base of GOP. But if moderate conservatives will manage to create a viable party, and take conservative democrats, this will be good. Myself, I am progressive, liberal democrat – but it is always good to have a sensible opposition.

    April 19, 2009 12:55 am at 12:55 am |
  2. Steve

    I'm liking this young lady more and more. It's good to see there's at least one Republican who is in touch with the real world.

    April 19, 2009 12:57 am at 12:57 am |
  3. Sean the thinker

    Some Republicans simply don’t people get it? The country is changing!!!! The national consensus is no longer that of the Conservative White male. The population of minorities (Blacks, Hispanics, gays/lesbians and yes-Muslims) are increasing in this country at a far greater rate than Whites. As a result, there is a shift in consensus regarding political and cultural ideology. I'm not suggesting anything negative or racist about this, however I am suggesting that we all do a critical analysis of the world we live in and come to the reality that this isn't the same world as it was in the 50s, 60s, 70s or 80s. This is why the Republican Party is losing and will continue to lose. Michael Steel is trying to get this message out to Republicans. If the Republican party want to reemerge, it needs to reach out to others including minorities who share their values but hate the divisiveness. However those who have a financial interest in people being mislead (Hannity, Limbaugh, and Coulter e.g.). Continue to thwart the progress of the Republican Party with their platforms of political obstructionism and divisiveness.

    April 19, 2009 12:57 am at 12:57 am |
  4. savysaby

    Couldn't have said it better myself..........a leaning to the middle democrat with independent tendencies.

    smart cookie Ms. McCain, now only if someone would listen.

    But i doubt it.

    April 19, 2009 12:58 am at 12:58 am |
  5. Sashka

    Go, Meghan, go!

    I love you girl! Who would've though that not all Republicans were morons. LOL

    April 19, 2009 12:58 am at 12:58 am |
  6. Skylar in Bowling Green, KY

    Meghan McCain is right. Though I'm a Democrat, I know that the vast majority of my Republican friends support gay rights and are gay inclusive, and many of them are equally as concerned with the environment as I am. Meghan's generation – of which I am proud to be a part of – do not see these as negotiable issues.

    The Republican Party needs a face lift, and they need to realize that people like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter and – yes, even Sarah Palin do not appeal to a younger, thinking audience.

    The Millennial generation is here, and we're willing to listen. But only if you have something intelligent, constructive, and thoughtful to say.

    April 19, 2009 01:00 am at 1:00 am |
  7. CPO Ricker

    Ms. Megan McCain does not write laws, vote on bills, or propose legislation. She has nothing to do with national politics. You have more stories about Ms. McCain than President Obama. You deliberately report this to subliminally portray Republicans in a negative undertone. Whose running this blog, Susan Roesgen?

    April 19, 2009 01:02 am at 1:02 am |
  8. Greg W

    While I disagree with the Republican Party on most issues, Meghan McCain is a glimmer at the end of a dark tunnel. Unlike most Republicans which cling to an antiquated version of conservatism, McCain is seeing and, more importantantly, speaking up on how the Republican Party can survive into the next generation.

    Admittedly I wouldn't shed any tears if the GOP were wiped out in the next ten years but it is admirable to see a young person wise enough to see the faults and propose solutions.

    April 19, 2009 01:05 am at 1:05 am |
  9. Brent

    I might come back to the republican party if adopt some of the changes Meghan and other moderates mention. I believe the soul of the republican party has been kidnapped and being held hostage by backward thinking non-progressive types that don't believe in global warming, think the world will end if I marry my male partner and try to force their morals on to everyone. Come back to the center republican party, there is a base here too.

    April 19, 2009 01:09 am at 1:09 am |
  10. Jack

    She like Politics, She wants to be her Father's successor,

    Just Like the Bush and Clinton and Clinton family.

    Family successorship in politics is becoming a trend in US, like the old Kings and Queens era.

    April 19, 2009 01:16 am at 1:16 am |
  11. Jack

    She like Politics, She wants to be her Father's successor,

    Just Like the Bush and Clinton family.

    Family successorship in politics is becoming a trend in US, like the old Kings and Queens era.

    April 19, 2009 01:16 am at 1:16 am |
  12. Patrick

    Having tattoos and what music you listen to does not define the future.

    April 19, 2009 01:17 am at 1:17 am |
  13. marie

    She is the only Republican i respect.

    April 19, 2009 01:18 am at 1:18 am |
  14. Mark

    "The 24-year-old daughter of former GOP presidential candidate John McCain". Who cares what this spoiled little girl thinks? What makes her so newsworthy? Because daddy is a senator? What is she a member of the aristocricy?
    The problem with the GOP is there are far too many RINO's in control and no more Conservatives left. Her father along with the Bush-Blueblood support for Illegal Alien Amnesty lost them my support and probably cost McCain the election. These priviliged born with a silver spoon in their mouth type Republicans have destroyed the GOP which inturn has destroyed my country. By the way, keep your sexual matters private. There are far more important things at stake.

    April 19, 2009 01:20 am at 1:20 am |
  15. Robyn

    "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." - Meghan McCain

    Unless you are doing missionary work, I can't see why you would be associating yourself with the Republican Party. The Republican leadership stands for bloated, inefficient government that benefits those who contribute to their campaigns.

    Massive welfave handouts for defense contractors who provide nothing that actually makes Americans safer. Devastation of the environment at the whim of corporate robber barons.

    Gays are nothing more than convenient cardboard cutout targets for Republican intolerance and government intrusion into the most private aspects of every citizen's life.

    In short, the Republican party of today stands for Ignorance, Fear, Hate, and Greed. Hopefully, they will remain out of power until they can offer something more to America than slogans and gimmicks.

    April 19, 2009 01:20 am at 1:20 am |
  16. Rob Stumpf

    Meghan, no hard feelings, but please. Shut up. Before you start telling people that have been around for years what to do, gain some life and political experience first. Thanks.

    April 19, 2009 01:21 am at 1:21 am |
  17. Susan

    He or she who hide their wrongs , does the wrong things still. The instant you step out from the dark into the light and begin to feel guilty about your thoughts and actions as a Rep., you will know how wrong you were to be a Republican. Change is the only way for you to go right now.

    April 19, 2009 01:23 am at 1:23 am |
  18. Carrie in CO

    Sounds like she might have been a better candidate than her dad, and he should have consulted her before picking Palin.

    Or – maybe his whole campaign was a gift to his daughter, I'm sure we'll be seeing more of her.

    April 19, 2009 01:31 am at 1:31 am |
  19. don kraus

    Meghan is the only Republican I've seen who shows some courage. The rest of the GOP says "no," waffles, or just sticks to its old 18th century guns. She is the new face of the Republican Party after those other fools lose the mid-term elections.

    April 19, 2009 01:31 am at 1:31 am |
  20. eve

    well, Megan is not social conservative, but fiscal conservative.

    Good. I have no problem with people being fiscal conservative, only the wing nuts who think they are better than anyone else.

    April 19, 2009 01:36 am at 1:36 am |
  21. Ivan

    The Republican Party's stance on religion would be abhorrent to the Founding Fathers of our Country. That is proven by their inclusion of the seperation of State and Religion, which is the goal of the religious right base of the Republican Party.
    The Republican Party's base that believes that national security over rides the Constitution of the United States would also be repugnent in the eyes of the Founding Fathers and the signers of the Declaration of Independence.
    Why do you think people risked their lives to come to the "New World", because they lived with State Religion and no checks on Government Powers. (The Constitution is the restainer of Government's power over the citizen)

    April 19, 2009 01:39 am at 1:39 am |
  22. Mad Dog

    Amen....I am a moderate. This lady has hit it right on the head.

    When the far right is still trying to hijack the GOP.....it is NEVER good for America. Be careful lady.....Rush and Sean and Newt and Ann and the rest have their own plan......it is called ratings and book-selling....all aboout greed.

    I wonder where the far right outrage over spending was when W was in office. There is a certain element of the GOP who thinks Obama did all this in a mere 90+ days......what hypocrites.

    Newt would sell his soul to get back in .....Palin WILL do anything to stay in....all these radical neocons....well it is nice to see someone in the GOP with a refreshing outlook instead of saying "NO!" all the time and shouting socialist

    Newt

    April 19, 2009 01:40 am at 1:40 am |
  23. Sunny

    I am a democrat and I can see where this is going. Dems get ready, if this philosophy grows within the rank and file of the republican center and a bit to the right...ohhh... I wonder what the futue of Ann Coulter, Rush L., Sean and Nuthead Mark Levin will look like if this philosophy grows...a decade of arguments down the drain for these old jobs.

    April 19, 2009 01:41 am at 1:41 am |
  24. Sean

    Thanks Meghan...iam a Democrat but you give GOP some hope.

    April 19, 2009 01:42 am at 1:42 am |
  25. abbie barnard

    Megan McCain hit the nail on the head. I am in total agreement about the GOP right now- but she is a little late. I think many have anticipated the turn of events that has led the party to display such blatant and utter disrespect toward each other. Wake up !!! You wanna know why your party is not succeeding? Allow me- Could it be due to your inability to relate to the average American and their struggles on a daily basis or the endless bickering between what the GOP used to stand for vs. what is needs to stand for? Enough! How about diffusing the "drama" and the ubiquitous "no" response to ideas presented by others whom are not standing on the sideline waiting for our economic woes and international affairs to resolve themselves but actually care enough to put forth some innovative, creative and viable ideas that could potentially get our country back on track. Our president is trying and requesting your assistance. Accept defeat, swallow your pride and put your country first.

    April 19, 2009 01:45 am at 1:45 am |
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