May 2nd, 2009
05:58 PM ET
4 years ago

Meghan McCain: Don't look at us like 'dirty moderates'

Meghan McCain says the Republican Party needs to become an 'umbrella party.'
Meghan McCain says the Republican Party needs to become an 'umbrella party.'

(CNN) - Meghan McCain, daughter of former Republican presidential candidate John McCain, said the GOP is going to have to become more inclusive if it wants to rebuild.

“I just wish that moderates like myself - more moderate Republicans and more socially liberal Republicans - weren’t looked at as, ‘Get rid of the dirty moderates. Get rid of them,’” the 24-year-old told CNN affiliate KTAR radio in a joint interview with her father.

“We need to be an inclusive party. We need to be an umbrella party. We need to inspire 20-somethings, which is something the Obama campaign did very well,” she said on the "Mac & Gaydos" show.

“And it’s not that I think that our message is neither good nor bad - I just think it’s that the Democrats package their message better, and I think if we could be able to communicate with my generation, the Republican Party can really rebuild itself,” she added.

Asked about the coverage she’s been getting for the GOP, McCain said she feels like she’s “speaking out for a lot of young people that don’t feel spoken for.”

The graduate of Columbia University has been known to break with traditional conservative orthodoxy and hasn't shied away from voicing her criticisms of the Republican Party.

Her father, Arizona Sen. John McCain, said communication is key to rebuilding.

“By Twitter, by Internet –by all the things that frankly, the Obama campaign did a very good job at. That’s why we need lots of young people involved. If you are young, give us a call,” said the senator, who was mocked on the campaign trail after admitting he didn’t use e-mail.

McCain said that while he and his daughter don’t always see eye-to-eye on the issues, he shares her concerns about the party.

“I think we go back to old principles - and that’s less government, lower taxes, national security, etc. but we have to also have a new set of ideas and policies to implement and bring our principles into the 21st century,” he said.

Meghan McCain's comments came one day before Republican leaders held the first in a series of town halls marking a new initiative to rehabilitate the GOP.

Rep. Eric Cantor, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney met with voters in Arlington, Virginia, on Saturday and stressed the importance of listening to the public and strengthening the party.

“Let’s not underestimate the people of America. Let’s make sure and listen to the people of America and that’s what Congressman Cantor is attempting to do with this council. Make sure we get the chance to go across the country, and listen to what people are feeling and get their ideas because that will make a real difference,” Romney said at the National Council for a New America meeting.

John McCain is on the new council, but he was not at the town hall meeting Saturday.


Filed under: Extra • John McCain • Meghan McCain
soundoff (334 Responses)
  1. Tom

    I think that McCain's daughter has said a lot of things that make sense. What I don't understand is which part of the GOP she actually is able to identify herself with.

    The unspoken, biggest trouble with the GOP is that under Bush, it allowed fascist practices and fascist thinking be forced upon the American people. By doing that, it has soiled itself in way that is hard to ever repair. It is now the party of the right wing political and christian extremists. In all other corners of the world, such a party is called a neofascist party. This is what the GOP has reduced itself to, and to have sunk to such lows makes the GOP a shame for America.

    Maybe the brand should be dropped, and conservatives should form a new party. The GOP is now the American neofascist party. Any political party should have the moral integrity not to make pacts with right wing extremists. By making a pact with the devil for getting votes, the GOP has sold its soul.

    May 2, 2009 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  2. mansaw001

    Thanks. But the umbrella is why your Dad got his but kicked.

    May 2, 2009 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  3. I can see Canada from my house!

    As a member of a party that suffered when orthodoxy was stressed over a big tent and results, I can tell you the Republicans have a long way to go before they broaden the base of their party. The choice is simple: adapt your philosphy to the conditions as they exist now, rather than trying to force the conditions to change to suit your beliefs.

    The Republicans grew when they stressed economic freedom through lower taxes: unfortunately they grew the size of government instead of reducing it. Their other strong suits, foreign policy and defense, have been frittered away on a foreign policy crafted on the assumption that everyone was waiting for us to show up and everything would just be hunky-dory: we never thought that some people might object to us showing up and imposing our values in places that did not want them. The Republicans have no street cred until they have some genuine leaders emerge, and there is no around who currently fits the bill. Jeb Bush: wrong last name. Eric Cantor? Looks like the president of the Chess Club, not a congressional leader. Palin, Pawlenty, Romney? Not a chance. Romney made his millions by using his father's connections to get his venture capital business going, where he thrived on putting people out of work. Palin, we know too much about her. Pawlenty would have a chance, but the last candidate from his state for President lost 49 states in the General Election.

    They have lost until 2016, and they had better hope the American people have amnesia even then.

    May 2, 2009 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  4. Max McGee

    The fortunes of the Republican Party will continue dwindle, and should rightly be so, as long as the bigots, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck and their likes are the media personalities and mouthpiece of the Party.

    Their inflammatory and fear mongering message will only find acceptance and get solidarity with people endowed with less intelligence.

    You don't build a party by attracting goons.

    May 2, 2009 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  5. Dimslie

    I would prefer not to have to look at her at all.

    May 2, 2009 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  6. Dustin

    Thank you Meghan McCain! As a moderate Republican you truly are speaking my thoughts! I am so glad to know that there are other Republicans thinking just like me. I feel that if there were more Republicans like Meghan the party would be able to rebuild itself nicely.

    How about a NEW McCain for public office! She'd have my vote! :D

    May 2, 2009 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  7. It's not about "packaging," Meghan...

    Meghan McCain may be a "graduate of Columbia University" (as if somehow that lends authority to the garbage that she spews), but she is inarticulate, can't write, and has no brain. She mistakenly believes that the GOP's problem is that "the Democrats package their message better." It's not about "packaging" a message, Meghan. It's that the American people have heard the message of the Republicans - the "old principles" of reducing help to those in need, tax cuts for the wealthy (such as herself), and the need for torture "to keep us safe" - and they repudiate it. Instead, they embrace Democratic principles: that we are a nation of "we" not "me," the importance of social safety nets (including a “public option” for health insurance and ultimately “single payer”) as well as rebuilding the middle class (which has been destroyed under Republican rule), and ensuring that the wealthy pay their fair share of the taxes. The differences between these two messages are profound, and Americans' commitment to the Democratic message has nothing to do with superficial "packaging." The American people made their choice in November: we embrace the Democratic message of honoring our social contract with one another, and reject the Republican "trickle down" message of tax cuts for the wealthy while shredding the social contract and destroying our country in the process. Look where Republican rule has brought us: to the brink of ruin. You can put lipstick on the "old principles" of the GOP and pin a big fat bow on it, but it's still a stinkin' pig.

    May 2, 2009 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  8. dennis

    Meghan McCain seems to be the only rational voice for the republican party. You Rock

    May 2, 2009 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  9. dace

    Get a clue poor little Meghan there is no tolerance in the GOP for anyone except right wing extremists who want a tax free society for the super rich with an all powerful racist sexist gay free theocracy.

    May 2, 2009 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  10. Slider

    Honey, you're not a dirty moderate.

    But you're not a conservative either.

    That's why your dad lost, and why CNN wants to harp on the GOPs changing image.

    They (CNN) are afraid of conservatives because we win against the liberals everytime we have an honest debate.

    Name a conservative policy in the last 16 years.

    Go ahead. Just try, honey.

    May 2, 2009 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  11. Obatala-Edmonton

    I have a feeling CNN is trying to make this McCain girl relevant at all cost. Can anyone tell me what her achievement(s) is/are?
    CNN... this is not news-worthy.

    May 2, 2009 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  12. Steven L Edwards

    No, Meghan we do not need to stand on politics as your Dad has, we need to stand on principals. Personally, I would like to see your father spend less time in Washington and more time with his family – ELSEWHERE.

    May 2, 2009 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  13. Splat!~

    Dump the American Taliban!~

    May 2, 2009 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  14. Carmine Abbattiello

    She is really an amazing person for only 24, her political instincts and communication skills are uncanny. Predictions: I expect she'll be a senator or governor by the time she's 30. Probably president by 40, and btw that will make her the first republican president since Bush. I'm figuring on 8 really good years with Obama, then 8 middling years with a lesser dem. It will take 16 years for the repubs to remake themselves in the image of Rockefeller/Buckley and purge the religious fundamentalists, racists, neo-cons, and wackos.

    May 2, 2009 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  15. Mark Ramsey MD, Milwaukee WI

    I'm a little worried. Moderate republicans are coming out of the woodwork. But we've all seen "compassionate conservatism" when it gets it's hands on power. Sorry Meghan, I love you, but I truly fear your party. I'm hoping they don't listen to you.

    May 2, 2009 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  16. Moderate Democrat

    Meg, I like the fight you got in ya. But if when you are said and done, all that comes out of the Republicans mouth is "Low taxes for rich people, NOTHING/NADA/ZILCH for poor people (don't educate them, don't make sure they live, don't keep them safe...KILL THEM), small government (but hey, elect me....cuz I'm a hypocrite who wants small government but wants to be paid by the government)...and Make all of the bible into laws forced down the throats of all citizens, cuz SCREW their own religions! We hate gays, kill em all!"...

    You know, if your party keeps on spouting off the same retarded flat earth policies, then you are a lost cause. But if you are truly asking your party to change it's moronic logic, then kudos to you. But frankly, if you are going to ask them to be more center, more patriotic and more for the people..then we already have a party for that...it's called democrats!

    May 2, 2009 10:43 pm at 10:43 pm |
  17. Dick

    Nice group of Old Guard Repubs. Why is Meghan not on the council?

    May 2, 2009 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  18. maggie

    I'm sorry but she does not represent the GOP party and has nothing to offer us in the future. Take your millions and go home. I am tired of her judging people she doesn't even know. Her Father is loosing respect that he has earned. She has never held a job. Please don't give her anymore attention.

    May 2, 2009 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  19. skeeve

    Certainly you are not, but as a long as you chose to stay within religious fundamentalist party this is how you will be treated by its members. The only solution I see here is to either join Libertarians of start you own conservative party without religious overtones.

    May 2, 2009 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  20. Autumn

    im sorry. i am a 19 year old republican and Meghan McCain, you dont speak for me. i wish you would go away honestly and stop saying that you are the one who stands up for the young GOP. not all of us wanted John Kerry in office like you. if you would talk to other young people who aren;t so liberal minded you would know that not everyone likes, agrees, or really wants you to talk for them.

    May 2, 2009 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  21. Michelle

    Meghan, Meghan, Meghan We do not wish you would go away because you are a moderate. We wish you would go away because you are an embarrassment and the only reason you are so popular on the media trail is because they are laughing AT you. Many of us reluctantly supported your father because we KNEW that Obama would do just what he is doing, spending the country into ruin. Just in case you hadn't heard, many Democrats, including our President, don't support Gay marriage. So please, get over yourself, get a real job or go serve on one of your mother's boards, anything just quit commenting! You are not persuasive to reasonable young people. The ones you MIGHT appeal to are not old enough to vote but might enjoy a Hannah Montana or Jonas Brothers concert with you.

    May 2, 2009 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  22. pt

    Inclusiveness and grey boundaries may be fine but not in excess. Over diluted jello is an unappeasing "thing".
    Why is CNN now doing so many different angles of the same story on the GOP? Is it because some news outlets stated Obama coverage was over saturated?
    We never need to wait for the "educated" extremists to show their lack of common sense in attacking others for doing the same acts the extremists promoted in the past.

    May 2, 2009 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  23. Greg in Houston

    While she may not be a "dirty moderate" she is still a "dirty republican". I don't know whether it is funny or sad that they actually think they can rebuild their party by all of the sudden embracing inclusion. Inclusion of people that wouldn't give them the time of day.....and rightfully never will. Slow death spiral for the GOP, slow for them, painful to the rest of us....in our ears.

    May 2, 2009 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  24. Irene

    Give it up Meghan. The GOP doesn't want anybody who isn't a right wing-nut lunatic Christian. There needs to ba e new party, a progressive party for free thinkers who don't buy into the GOP dirty wars on everything.

    May 2, 2009 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
  25. Paul F

    Why is anyone giving this girl any attention at all? And what exactly are her qualifications, that she is related to a politician?

    Really – she has no idea what conservatives or Republicans should do as her life experience is so small, and her world view is so narrow.

    Please stop giving this little girl any attention.

    May 2, 2009 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
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