April 19th, 2009
09:00 AM ET
5 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. Hamilton Bombdog Horseman

    Meghan McCain who? What gives her any credibility ? What is it with the Republicans they have lost any credibility and they are desperately trying to find a path. And do not know what the rest of American thinks .Maybe if these rich little Want to-be royalty pseudo intellectuals should see the way the rest of the America lives and what we hold of value.

    April 19, 2009 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  2. whitefences

    I am on "oldie". I am 54 y/o. I left the Republican Party and the Democratic Party for a combo of reasons over the years. Now this young Meaghan? She's got my attention. She is so right-on. What she is espousing here is that maybe, just maybe, each party has some good idea's. And maybe, just maybe the good ideas could be merged to create a new party. Most of all though, the Republican Party has been so unwilling to adapt to our changing society, it has lost a tremendous amount of followers. Young people like Ms. McCain along with the 40 and 50-somethings are redefining the political structure. Amen.

    One other comment; the writer that wrote suggesting Meaghan should be ashamed that she didn't vote for her own father-see, here is a perfect example of what is wrong with our two parties. Older men think their wives should vote for the party with which they have been affiliated all their lives. Same with their kids, they TELL their kids they have to vote for the same party with which our dad's have supported through out the years. Thoughtless support of a person based entirely on their party affiliation. Even our priest at church "suggested" we vote for the only true choice, there again, an elderly priest who has supported the same party forever and ever based on only one issue (in this case, women's rights).

    There are too many issues that affect us all to hold a firm party line on only one of them. Men and Women in the 20/30/40/50 age-groups, in most cases, want to consider ALL issues, all choices, and then make their own selection.

    Wake up Dems and Republicans. Throw out the old, welcome the new.

    April 19, 2009 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  3. Michael Kosmin

    Most change works out as change for the beter in the US.
    Meghan will be here after most of us are departed. She should be encouraged, not criticized.

    Also, she can get on the air any day of the year. Deal with it.

    April 19, 2009 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  4. gl, Pittsburgh

    Maybe there's hope for Republicans. I really dont' think so no time soon is the hope for the Republicans. I am watching the STATE OF THE UNION and everytime he asked an old republicans something about the Preisent it is negative. USA have more so far away from this negative coming from the Republicans and they still continue to do it day in and day out. Republicans party have to change all together. The have this entilment about them and everybody else is views are anit-American. They still believe we should not be taking to other countries.

    April 19, 2009 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  5. Gaines

    Wow. I've often said I'm a Democrat because Democrats have a vision of the future whereas Republicans have a few of the past which they call the future. I've also predicted that the excesses of the Bush admin. would force the GOP to re-invent themselves. Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin made me doubt my prediction but Ms. McCain gives me hope that the GOP may evolve into a party more supportive of American ideals of freedom and equality. You go Cindy.

    April 19, 2009 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  6. Can you hear me now?

    This I can tell you. Meghan McCain is much more level headed and understanding than Sarah Palin. Meghan is the type of leader needed for a change.

    I just hope Cindy and John don't put a halt to Meghan McCain speaking her mind. We all know how volatile John has been at times.

    Good luck, Meghan, and keep speaking your mind as the world needs to hear that Republicans are not just a bunch of hot air.

    April 19, 2009 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  7. whitefences

    How about Obama/McCain for 2012. That is, Michele and Meaghan. Now THAT's a ticket I would support. I was a Republican for 20 years, then a Democrat for 7. Now I am ebarrassed to support either party.

    April 19, 2009 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  8. chad

    Why is CNN giving front page coverage to a former presedential candidates daughter? What do Al Gore and Mike Dukakis's kids think? I think CNN should give more coverage to Jimmy Carter's kids too.

    CNN's news reporting has totally gone to the dogs. It is a joke.

    April 19, 2009 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  9. Joe Unger

    Can it be considered scolding if no one is listening?

    April 19, 2009 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  10. Gaines

    Sorry Meghan- I called you Cindy.

    April 19, 2009 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  11. Graham

    Kathy said it all above:

    She is an immature, bratty, coattail hanger living off of her father's accomplishments.

    April 19, 2009 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  12. JCQueipo

    Just because she is right doesn/t make her presidential material!!

    April 19, 2009 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  13. Bill

    It seems that Meghan should think about changing parties. The Merriam Webster Dictionary definition of conservative is – tending or disposed to maintain existing views, conditions, or institutions. While the definition for liberal is – broad-minded; not bound by authoritarianism, orthodoxy, or traditional forms. Thus, the Democrats, as the liberal party, stand for progress and change, whereas the Republicans, as the conservative party, stand for maintaining the status quo (i.e., living in the past). Rather than asking the Republican party to alter its antiquated views and values, Meghan should ask herself why she would support a party so tied to the past. Would it not be easier for everyone who thinks like Meghan to change parties then to expect the whole Republican party to change its political philosophy? It seems that Meghan is a Republican only because it is what is expected from her family. It is time for Meghan to realize that, as an adult, pleasing daddy should take a backseat to following one's conscience and living one's dreams.

    April 19, 2009 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  14. gl, Pittsburgh

    kathy April 18th, 2009 11:56 pm ET

    If Meghan McCain is the future of the Republican Party, then she is exactly the reason why there needs to be a new Conservative Party in America. She's an immature, bratty, attention-grabber, trying to live off her father's failed campaign.

    I totally agree with you on your comments. She was running with her dad and Palin during the campaign now she want us to believe her views are so so different. I think she is a little unrealisted.

    April 19, 2009 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  15. Tom

    Why does anyone care what some senator's 24 year old kid has to say? She's like the Paris Hilton of the GOP.

    April 19, 2009 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  16. Lori

    Meghan, there are many Americans turned off by your party. From the hateful signs at the tea parties to the staunch opposition of the President at 12pm November 20th, your party is a turn-off to most Democrats and Independents. The GOP has a looonnnggg way to go in restoring the reputation with most Americans but your views are a step ahead of the old guard that is the majority of your party.

    April 19, 2009 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  17. Dante

    Meghan McCain......its totally cool and awesome that she likes to wear black and likes punk rock.....but as far as politics goes , she states, "i believe government is best when it stays out of people's lives and business as much as possible.....I believe in a strong national defense.......i believe government should always be efficient and accountable"..........i'm sure she is well intentioned but instead displays youthful naivete......she has obviously not been paying attention these last couple of months because obama's agenda does not fit her beliefs as stated above.....they are polar opposites.......she is NOT a republican and has merely become a TOOL for obama, the cnn political ticker, and the democrats......

    April 19, 2009 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  18. Yahbut

    I wonder if Miss McCain has ever read any history.

    It is going to be a shame if she goes down in history as "only a pretty face."

    She's having fun now, but there is not reason to have any "civil war" between age groups in the Reuplican party.

    Unfortunately, she sounds like a little know-it-all when she sometimes doesn't even know what she is talking about.

    A little maturity would help her a great deal.

    People who are older than she is have been through a lot that she cannot evem imagine and are able to recognized the same signs that they have seen before. She, obviously, has not either read enough nor has she listened enough to understand this.

    Also, there are people of all ages in the Republican who do not feel the same way about everything, but there is no reason that we cannot all compromise and come together on some issues.

    One of the first things that she has to learn is that you do not run around tearing your own party apart.

    I am looking forward to hearing more from her when she has gained a little more maturity.

    April 19, 2009 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  19. lisa

    She sounds more and more like a Democrat to me -

    April 19, 2009 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  20. Join The Dems

    McCain please re-register as a democrat. The republicans will never support killing innocent babies, the abomination of gay actions, weak military, no exploration of domestic energy, not executing killers, unfair taxes, and not standing up to thugs like Chavez, Ortega, Castro ect....... I guess who would want to support this except the idiots who voted Obama.

    April 19, 2009 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  21. ccn

    sounds like common sense without the thumb of the religious right and right along my feelings on issues. I like what she says and hope the GOP listens or people start voting Libertarian.

    April 19, 2009 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  22. god

    for once a rep. with a brain!!! she doesnt seem to care what the fruit cakes like rush and ann think..who knows the party of greed and hate may have a chance after all . . . and remember if you dont think like me you are unamerican!!!! hang in there megan you got balls.. who cares what the old bastards think thier tactics did not and will not work in the past its a brave new world/

    April 19, 2009 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  23. Wendy C

    I think Ms McCain is the future of the Republican party, not Sarah Palin. Young Republicans like her are the party's best chance of succeeding in the future.

    April 19, 2009 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  24. Ben

    Meghan is one of the few Republicans with any media attention who actually understands why the Republicans not only have lost out in the last couple of elections but will continue to do so far into the future if other Republicans don't wake up. I don't think it's fair to say she is a Democrat just because she happens to believe individual liberty should be applied consistently to social issues as much as economic issues. In fact, based off of her view of national defense I would say that she stops short of even being libertarian like Ron Paul (who is another person the GOP should start listening to). I can tell you right now that I am from the same generation as Meghan, consider myself a conservative, but have not been able to vote for a Republican presidential candidate since I turned 18 due to social conservatism. Keep telling them how it is, Meghan!

    April 19, 2009 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  25. Mark

    I am a Conservative. I believe in the conservative application of government, generally speaking. Every government action has one, if not many, negative side effects.

    I am not sure Republicans are Conservative anymore. Unwarranted wire tapping, a war on drugs, enforcing laws on who can marry who, and subsidies to large corporations are not the conservative application of government. In fact, it is the liberal application of government.

    Republicans need to drop this mean edge (like the Ann Coulter attitude) like a bad cold. There is no reason why people who believe in smaller government need to be mean. But Im not sure Republicans even really believe in small government any more. In fact they have grown is every bit as much as Democrats.

    Conservatives founded the US. This nation has thrived because of it. Now it is an all out war to crush conservative ideas. And we conservatives have no where to turn to. The last nation on Earth that has practiced the conservative application of government is now threatened. I have no place to hide.

    April 19, 2009 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
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