April 19th, 2009
09:00 AM ET
3 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. Zeitgeist

    Powell still thinks he's a rpublican too...

    April 19, 2009 02:46 am at 2:46 am |
  2. Paula Lacey

    Meghan has a high IQ. She should be listened too. She is also very pretty.

    April 19, 2009 02:54 am at 2:54 am |
  3. Tex

    Too Bad. The Republican party I believe in is CONSERVATIVE. Period.

    April 19, 2009 03:03 am at 3:03 am |
  4. Perusing-through

    Meghan McCain is right. You have (1.) Sarah Palin in a constant skunk-spitting debate with Levi Johnston; (2.) Rush Limbaugh praying for the POTUS to fail and thereby the nation to fail; (3.) Texas Republican governor Rick Perry threatening to take his state out of the Union; (4.) and S.C. Senator Burr promising to start a run on the banks.

    April 19, 2009 03:06 am at 3:06 am |
  5. Craig - Hastings, MN

    Could she the lead scout for the return of the party of Abraham Lincoln? Probably not, but her views seem to be a bit more rational than those of the extremist factions of the present day GOP

    April 19, 2009 03:08 am at 3:08 am |
  6. Anne

    I can't figure out why, all of a sudden, Meghan McCain is such a star. And I will never figure out why gays and lesbians think the rest of us should have to hear about their sexual preferences. I don't want to hear about anybody's sex life. When I am working or otherwise interacting with you, why should I care what you like to do with your partner? I don't want to hear anybody's dumb stories about how they met their husbands or wives. I don't want to hear about anybody's wedding, either, unless I've been invited, and then all I really want to know is the date, time, level of formality, and where the gift registry is. Save the tears and tantrums over the bridesmaids' dresses for somebody who gives a hoot. If the only reason you're talking is so you can tell me what kind of sex you like, SHUT UP AND LEAVE ME ALONE!

    April 19, 2009 03:12 am at 3:12 am |
  7. Mitch Parker

    Ms McCain is a useful idiot for the Far Left.

    April 19, 2009 03:14 am at 3:14 am |
  8. Tom

    This story is Exhibit No. 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,002 demonstrating that the quickest way to become a darling of the leftist useful idiots of the Washington press corps is to be a self-described "Republican" who speaks like a fundamentalist leftist. The Washington press corps' dutiful fawning over Steve Schmidt over the past few days was Exhibit No. 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,001.

    April 19, 2009 03:26 am at 3:26 am |
  9. Democrat

    haha. funny.

    April 19, 2009 03:27 am at 3:27 am |
  10. COfan

    I think I am in love!

    April 19, 2009 03:31 am at 3:31 am |
  11. Pat

    Congratulations Meghan I think your 100% right. I hope you pervail and will try and assist whereever possible.

    I"m tired of neo-cons talking about abortion but not of the 30 million that go to be hugry or about the 49 million that will wake up without health care – I don't remembe r when basic health care became a privallage and ont a basic human right.

    I wonder about the people that believe that gay marraige will destroy the institution of marraige but should'nt they first outlaw divorce ? The reason they don't is that this is not really about your rights or mine its about taking away all out rights if they don't succumb to a narry religious fanaticism.

    April 19, 2009 03:32 am at 3:32 am |
  12. Jeff

    it's totally weird, but i actually like Meghan's realistic view of the current republican party. i'd like to see more of her.

    April 19, 2009 03:32 am at 3:32 am |
  13. CA Girl

    Can someone elighten me as to what qualifies her all of sudden to be the Republicans' voice?

    Besides being John McCain's daughter has she even completed high school to speak for the party or does money immediately qualify you in the greedy Republican group?

    April 19, 2009 03:40 am at 3:40 am |
  14. Brian Wilson

    Just like her father, Megan has no principles either. If the Republican party drops social conservatives, I and at least 30% of my fellow Republicans will switch to the Democrat party, ensuring total Democrat control of this country. My goodness, didn't the McCain's show us that pandering doesn't work this election cycle? At least the Democrats have a principled stand on issues, however flawed, vs. just pandering for votes. I suppose it is possible to be a pro-life, pro-marriage Dem and I suspect their ranks will swell.

    April 19, 2009 03:40 am at 3:40 am |
  15. Jim D. in Costa Mesa

    Finally! A Republican with a brain. It's only a matter of time before they get rid of her. She's cool!

    April 19, 2009 03:42 am at 3:42 am |
  16. Erik in Real Pennsylvania

    Maybe the new generation of young Republicans, who wisely don't care all that much about what other people do in their private lives, will realize they're just Libertarians after all: smaller government, fewer taxes, a free market economy, and minding your own business.

    April 19, 2009 03:53 am at 3:53 am |
  17. AZjay

    I'm sorry, but Meghan McCain is wholly UNqualified to speak to any issue regarding the GOP. Both her and her father are nothing but Democrat liberals who happen to self-identify as Republicans. The only reason Meghan gets any press at all is because she sounds exactly like every other Democrat the liberal media adores.

    The GOP is not even close to "civil war." If anything, it's fixing to oust the very liberals who have been destroying the party from within. Then these self-proclaimed "republicans" will have to go back to the left-wing halls from which they sprang and real Republicans will be back in charge of this great nation.

    Ask an REAL Republican and they'll tell you the same thing I've written here.

    April 19, 2009 03:59 am at 3:59 am |
  18. Rob

    Meghan's a very insightful woman! I've never voted Republican although I believe in limited government and many conservative "values." That said, I cannot in good conscience vote for a party that seeks to limit the rights and freedoms of certain Americans while wrapping themselves in either the flag or Bible (or both) to do so. It's appalling.

    I'm very encouraged to see young Republicans like Meghan stand up to the extreme, un-American bigotry of her own party. Telling people how to live their lives, who they can marry, what God to believe in – these are NOT conservative values. Meghan's star continues to rise while Limbaugh, Coulter, and the rest of the old time bigots look more foolish every day.

    Simply put, young people aren't buying what the old Republican party is selling. Meghan is wise enough to realize this. The rest of her party better figure it out soon – or the GOP will never be relevant or influential again.

    April 19, 2009 04:04 am at 4:04 am |
  19. Henry

    The issue of a Republican "Civil War" is a scary thought. I truly believe that what constitutes the Republican party is out for trouble. They feel backed into a corner and will come out fighting. They are true idealogues (sp) and are often very extreme in their convictions. The tone at the tea parties points to this. I am afraid that this may not continue to be civil discourse. This can easily turn very very ugly. That is a shame. Let us be careful how we mock these people. They are outraged and will do irrational things.

    April 19, 2009 04:05 am at 4:05 am |
  20. Dave NYC

    Keep up the good work Meghan – Your party has been ruined by toxic people like Coulter, Limbaugh, and Ingraham.

    Let these hatemongers form their own fringe party – and with what's leftover the GOP might actually become relevant again in 10 years or so.

    April 19, 2009 04:06 am at 4:06 am |
  21. Darrin

    Well said Meghan. It's about time someone acknowledge this. I consider myself a republican, but don't see eye-to-eye on most issues with the older generation of repubs. Time for them to step down and let us stand up. We can no longer live in the past if we want to look to the future.

    April 19, 2009 04:09 am at 4:09 am |
  22. Patrick Lobejko

    People like Meghan McCain and Steve Schmidt make me proud to still call myself a Republcan. Here's hoping we can take our party back from the Coulters and Hannitys of the world, ones that have hijacked our party in the name of intolerance and hate.

    April 19, 2009 04:13 am at 4:13 am |
  23. JeanA

    OMG, who cares what this girl thinks.

    Go away!

    April 19, 2009 04:16 am at 4:16 am |
  24. pete

    Once again we here from a liberal McCain. She might as well just got to the Dem party and stay there. As her father before her, who threw the election. Thanks to the connection I found of him to your financer Soros.

    April 19, 2009 04:22 am at 4:22 am |
  25. Keith Johnson

    I wish Ms. McCain and the GOP the best. Still, I'm afraid that the momentum is with the iconophiles who can't see the Republican party any different than Ronald Regan did over twenty five years ago. When the party of no eventually ceases to be reactionaries, and when it becomes the party of ideas, hopes and dreams, then people will start taking the GOP seriously again. Until then, they will be drifting in the dark for a long long time.

    April 19, 2009 04:26 am at 4:26 am |
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