April 19th, 2009
09:00 AM ET
7 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. Dan

    Meghan shows a nice path to the future. It remains to be seen how these views resonate with the entire GOP.

    April 19, 2009 01:45 am at 1:45 am |
  2. A.S.

    Golly, the mad dogs will eat each other alive. Who's got the TV rights. I'm getting the popcorn ready now.

    April 19, 2009 01:49 am at 1:49 am |
  3. Obama 2012

    I so love her candidness. She is a good example of what the Republican Party needs to revive themselves again.

    April 19, 2009 01:50 am at 1:50 am |
  4. Joshua Philbin

    Wow a Republican I would vote for. I dont consider myself Democrat or Republican and would have even voted for her father had he not chosen Palin. Sorry lived in Wasilla when she was mayor. My choice was made the day he choose her and reinforced the following months.

    On topic again. I hope to see Megan more in Politics.

    April 19, 2009 01:56 am at 1:56 am |
  5. republicanturneddemocrat

    And it took her this long to figure this out?! All people who are Democrats have known this since the beginning. This is nothing new!!!!

    Interesting how blinded many Republicans really are. I am glad that Meghan McCain has seen the light. Perhaps she can inspire a few people in her party to see it the same way.

    Good for her to finally wake up. Now if only the rest of the Republicans can see it!

    April 19, 2009 01:56 am at 1:56 am |
  6. Steve Bryant

    Meghan is right about the schism within the Republican Party. I am 60 years old and have been a moderate republican who votes for moderates of both parties for over thirty years, I'm a fiscal conservative who believes in a small government. However, I am very open minded about social issues and believe that these things are better left up to personal choices without government intervention. My Christian beliefs are strongly held, but I do not consider myself a right wing conservative who labels himself Christian. Rather, I believe committed Christians should be disciples of Jesus Christ who respect other religious beliefs and even those who have no spiritual beliefs.

    There is very little room for people like me in the very right-leaning Republican party and that is a shame. It is right to have a civil disagreement about the past, present and future of the Republican Party. Perhaps a war can be averted, but likely not. There must be an open-forum discussion of these issues or the Republican Party is doomed to eventual extinction.

    Steve Bryant
    Wichita, KS

    April 19, 2009 01:57 am at 1:57 am |
  7. Dr. John

    I continue to be impressed by Ms. McCain as one of the few who don't tow the party line and bow to the talking points. She's actually a smart, energetic woman who's not afraid to think for herself. I know that the talk-radio wing of the Republican party hate this woman. I'd consider that an honor. Her father would have probably done better had he chosen her for a running mate rather than Alaska Barbie.

    April 19, 2009 02:00 am at 2:00 am |
  8. Texas Leftie

    I am in love. This is just who the Republicans need.

    April 19, 2009 02:00 am at 2:00 am |
  9. Bill in Austin

    Finally, a voice of reason within the GOP and will they listen? All you have to do is look at the current policies that the GOP is putting forth to fix the economy. They are the same policies that got us into this mess. Yet, the old relics of the GOP are too stubborn to adapt to the everchanging country and world. Then look at the faces we are seeing every day on the talk shows-Gingrich, Delay, McConnell, Boehner, Morris, Buchanon. If there are new ideas, they are drowned out.

    April 19, 2009 02:01 am at 2:01 am |
  10. Liberal Hippie

    Man I hope a lot of you diehard GOPers comment on this. It will be so delightful to read the anger and fear. I sincerly hope this is the future of the GOP....it seems more; tolerable.

    April 19, 2009 02:01 am at 2:01 am |
  11. Thank You

    Go Meaghan. Thank the Lord someone is knocking some sense into the GOP (and I vote Dem. 90% of the time- because I feel like most Republicans are out of touch with my generation).

    I sure hope the Republic leadership is listening to Meaghan. There is a very real problem that they need to fix or we are going to (just as during the Bush era) lurch too far to one side (the Left in this case).

    Let's please learn to disagree politically, but agree that we are all in the same boat giving opinions on how best to sail this ship.

    April 19, 2009 02:03 am at 2:03 am |
  12. Dean Phillip

    Wow!! This woman will be a force to be dealt with... democrats start worrying!

    April 19, 2009 02:12 am at 2:12 am |
  13. Nick L.

    You go girl!

    April 19, 2009 02:16 am at 2:16 am |
  14. Jim In Asheville

    Because she talks trash about her party it's newsworthy to CNN. Does anyone really care what Meghan McCain thinks about politics? The tattoo is more interesting than her political views. I'm not sure how she is different than almost every other twenty-something that is trying to find their way away from their parents. Oh yeah, and she has "gay" friends. Wow! I'm sure the risk taking of having sexual deviants as friends will score points with the effete media.

    April 19, 2009 02:17 am at 2:17 am |
  15. jason

    a few more like here and the gop might actually become respectable

    April 19, 2009 02:21 am at 2:21 am |
  16. ER Doc

    Hey John! This is what happens when a career politician plays the middle of the road too long. Someone close to you reveals that your "moderate maverickness" has even confused your own family. "I love punk rock", "I have a tatoo". The mainstream liberals will use this person to embarrass the Republicans and give her all the praise in the world just because she is obviously a liberal herself. Doesn't matter how rediculous she sounds, or how inexperienced she is. Suddenly she is the voice of the young Republicans. Meanwhile a former successful mayor and now successful governer is constantly trashed for being inexperienced and unprepared. You should be following Sarah Palins every word. She is a republican, she is experienced, and she is much more accomplished and intelligent than anyone in the current administration. Truth hurts.

    April 19, 2009 02:22 am at 2:22 am |
  17. jason

    a few more like her and the gop might actually become respectable

    April 19, 2009 02:22 am at 2:22 am |
  18. S.positive

    I think the RNC is Toast... and they desrve it. You do not gain with HATE.

    April 19, 2009 02:23 am at 2:23 am |
  19. Brad

    ...and it will be beautiful to watch. The Republicans sold their souls to pander to the religious right and now they are trying to hijack the GOP. It looks like they may succeed in doing so...thus assuring control by the Democratic Party for decades to come.

    April 19, 2009 02:23 am at 2:23 am |
  20. Independant Climate Activist

    Awesome, I agree with almost everything she said, and I voted for Obama. If more Republicans were like her I would switch. Love small government and environmentalism, not so sure about her foreign policy views though.

    April 19, 2009 02:23 am at 2:23 am |
  21. Anonymous

    meghan mccain = so cool!

    April 19, 2009 02:26 am at 2:26 am |
  22. Perusing-through

    The Republican Party is pretty pathetic when a young 24 year old Megan McCain speaks with "more wisdom" than Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin, and Texas Gov. Rick Perry combined. Republicans like Florida Gov. Charlie Crist and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal never looked or sounded so good.

    April 19, 2009 02:43 am at 2:43 am |
  23. Kevin -- Indiana

    Meghan McCain is completely right in her assessment.

    Unfortunately, it's too little too late. If you are going to make a change, do it when it matters. Not when you've become an embarrassment to the rest of the world and are forced to change out of shame. It's like denouncing racism in the 90's after fighting the civil rights movement tooth and nail. Why don't you guys actually take a real risk?

    April 19, 2009 02:43 am at 2:43 am |
  24. afrikaneer

    Republicans are patetic.

    April 19, 2009 02:44 am at 2:44 am |
  25. Johnny DC

    At what point do we, the Republican party, acknowledge that Meghan McCain has been paid off by Democrats to deliver blow after blow to our party in the hopes that it contributes to the public outlook that our party is weaker and weaker?

    It's one thing to contribute constructive criticism, but by now, we have to admit that she is simply fueling the fires of our adversaries against us, no? It looks a whole lot like she is anti-Conservative, and anti-Republican.... not to mention, against her father altogether. Perhaps she wants to get rich off a future book. Maybe she has the Audacity of Conservative Views already penned?

    April 19, 2009 02:44 am at 2:44 am |
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