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. Cali-moddemo

    What a refreshing voice from the Republican Party. I wonder if she is the new compassionate conservative. She sounds more like a Moderate Democrat.

    April 19, 2009 04:46 am at 4:46 am |
  2. salas

    What is it that meghan wants?

    April 19, 2009 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  3. lynn in NM

    Clean up your language. That usually makes a better impression on people. Unless you do, you're just a foul-mouthed child.

    April 19, 2009 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  4. SQZ

    Please, just shut up.

    April 19, 2009 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  5. lyman

    Oh well no war here I have already left the republican party. Just waiting for the real third party. A viable party that balieves what it says and says what it believes.

    April 19, 2009 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  6. Diana NJ

    This is the Smartest Gop face out there If they were smart they would listen to her instead of jumping all over her.

    April 19, 2009 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  7. Jeremy

    I wish someone would tell her that she's NOT the voice of young Republicans in America.

    April 19, 2009 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  8. opops

    She's just desperate for attention. Someone give her a gym membership.

    April 19, 2009 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  9. Andy

    Finally, from the party of Lincoln comes a young voice of reason. Well done. For years the Republican party moved farther right and farther out of relevance. Good for the young McCain! Let's focus on issues that actually make a difference rather than working to remove or deny civil liberties to our neighbors.

    April 19, 2009 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  10. jake

    so our gay community could have had friends in the white house if McCain were elected President?? I could have gotten more votes had we known...but then he picked Palin who had so many unkind words to say about us. Obama WILL succeed!

    April 19, 2009 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  11. Had It

    Get the churches out of politics. That's the BIGGEST problem. They want to dictate "choice". Hypocrits all, as they do what they condemn, and stir up hate and division in our country.

    April 19, 2009 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  12. Tony

    This is one of the few voices coming from the right that makes any sense.

    April 19, 2009 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  13. Jana

    Who kinew Meghan McCain was a spokesman for the Republican party? Weight Watcher's Maybe.... Just saying.....

    April 19, 2009 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  14. terry

    Ms McCain seems like a smart, sweet young woman. However, Conservatism is not something we need to fix. It is something that needs to be extinct. If the GOP starts tolerating gays and people with tattoos, it will still be the same horrible party proposing the same horrible policies, but it will have a slightly cooler image among younger voters. They will have tattoos, but they will still oppose any effort to raise the minimum wage or regulate corporations that pushed the world's economy into a deep recession. They will have gay friends, but they will continue to outsource our better paying jobs to China.

    Conservatism has done enough evil in the world. A little plastic surgery might make improve its image, but it will still be the same old villain up to the same old mischief.

    April 19, 2009 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  15. In the know

    Another Republican crying in the night.

    April 19, 2009 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  16. Kevin, OH

    Three Decades from now the "Old School" Republican party will no longer exist. They should start calling themselves The Progressive Republican Party. and start leaning Moderate.

    April 19, 2009 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  17. Kenan

    Can we please stop thinking in terms of a two-party system? We face too many diverse issues that simply can't be put into only two boxes. Let's open up our dialogue and get rid of the "my team is better than yours" mentality that is dragging us all down.

    April 19, 2009 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  18. Ace

    At last, someone who speaks for reality against the strident minority of doom. We need a bold conserative who fights for fiscal restraint yet understands that we're moving forward as a country. Whose "traditional values" are worth considering? The 50s? The 30s? The puritans? Each generation is more daring than the previous, so who draws the line? Go Meghan!

    April 19, 2009 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  19. reality check

    Megan rulz! and if the GOP would take her advice, they may have a chance in the next election..........but I have a hard time believing she listens to Black Flag.

    April 19, 2009 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  20. liz

    Go Meghan, Go!
    Don't let anyone deter you – you are on the right track.
    (a Democrat who supports realist-thinking, progressive Repulican agendas)

    April 19, 2009 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  21. Marion

    I'm a 70 yo liberal Democrat grandmother and will always be, but I am so happy to see a young Republican to speak out against the hateful, intolerant, intellectually challenged kind of party that the Republican party has become. This country needs a vibrant two party system, not a left-wing party reacting to/against a right-wing party and vice versa. Things were not perfect politically in the '50's but they were much better than what we see now, with talk show folks and political pundits seeming to be the voice of paaticularly the Republican party. You go girl!!!

    April 19, 2009 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  22. Big Bidness

    I think the Republican party dreams of the days of Reagan, When they were catering to the desires of big business and the middle class were getting screwed. The middle class didn't care because their jobs had yet to be outsourced and Reagan's charisma was all they focused on. It will be along time before Americans are that dumb again.
    My advice for the GOP, try simply representing your constituents and not big business. The public is now aware that big business is mostly comprised with criminals and thieves.

    April 19, 2009 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  23. ja

    our former President saw to the GOP demise, with his so-called christian standards, that was short of dictatorship, the GOP stood by him, but a snake is a snake

    April 19, 2009 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  24. Phillip Bias

    yea a war between republicans and those who are demacrates but wont admit it. She is a perfect example of why her dad lost the election.Mccain turned belly up and would not point out Obamas friends are all terrorists. Mccains need to go back to where they belong......The democrapic party

    April 19, 2009 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  25. Kyle

    I absolutely agree with Meghan..the GOP needs to change its attitude on social issues like Gay marriage, but remain conversative on political issues like national defense, low taxes, individual liberty...etc..if the Republican Party can become more progessive, I believe they will take back the White House in 2012...

    April 19, 2009 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
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