May 3rd, 2009
07:59 AM ET
9 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: John McCain • Meghan McCain • Popular Posts
soundoff (108 Responses)
  1. Minnesotan

    You're not 'dirty moderates,' you're 'dirty Republicans' who are responsible for our economic crisis, a false war, judicial activism, doubling the national debt, rampant corruption, hypocritical statements and continuing to lie about your failures.

    May 3, 2009 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  2. Brad of IL.

    Democrat gone Republican, It feels good

    May 3, 2009 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  3. VinceP1974

    I laugh at how serious all you Democrats are acting.. .. like you're so concerned about the Republican party. mm hmm.

    You would think that such keen thinkers as you all are would realize your party is controlled by Wall Street bankers and hedge funds and international currency speculators and other types of globalists.

    But nah.. that would shatter your delusion that you are the only smart people around.

    May 3, 2009 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  4. Byrd

    McCain claims that the Democrats package their message better than republicans, and there's a reason for that: Democrats aren't trying to package a bag of manure and turn it into a sache.

    May 3, 2009 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  5. Jeff

    Ms. McCain joined the Republican party less then a year before the election simply to stop the outfall what would have happened. Since then she seems to think she is a real member of the GOP and reflects their values, when in fact she views and values show she is still the same liberal Democrat as before, just that she is registered as a Republican now.

    Of course she has the media promoting her hype 100% instead of reporting the facts, so she has nothing to worry about.

    May 3, 2009 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  6. Tann in Georgia

    Does anyone, Republican, Democrat, Independent, or Libertarian, think that Limbaugh, Hannity, Coulter, Beck, Ingraham, and others of their ilk will go quietly into the night? Obama's victory has so incensed and confused Republicans that they no longer even bother to pretend to cover up their true colors. The bigotry, hatred, hysteria, and mindless panic of those on the right, evidenced by statements like "liberals want to silence Palin because they are afraid of her", reveal a deeper truth: the party that combined a sense of entitlement, the "southern strategy", and disrespect for the constitutional rights of minorities and women has lost all grip on reality. The GOP is not currently capable of effectively purging itself because it is led and populated by a die-hard group that is incapable of reason. Anyone who doubts this just needs to consider the abortion, stem-cell, gun-control, or creation versus evolution debates.

    Unfortunately for America, a severely weakened opposition is never good for a democracy. The Libertarian party will not attract significant numbers of moderate Republicans because the negative association with 'liberal' is too deply ingrained in the Republican psyche. Ditto for Independents, this too conveys negative images of excess free-spiritedness. The Democrats need to be really wary of becoming too strong; there is real danger in unchecked power.

    May 3, 2009 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  7. Vic

    Who care what she says? Why are the media giving her any ink at all? She's just a politician's daughter. What has she done to IMPROVE this country? And she can't even put together decent sentence...dangling participles...where the heck did she go to school?

    And what about the comment that she doesn't think the message is either good or bad...what the heck does that mean?

    Aaahhh.... if she's the future of the Republican party, it's gonna be lost for sure.

    May 3, 2009 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  8. Lilarose in Bandon, Oregon

    I wonder if Meghan knows and understands the Republican party's PLATFORM. That is, everything they believe or don't believe in.

    Or does she just have a warm fuzzy feeling in her tummy when she calls herself a Republican.

    Meghan, hopefully you read these comments. Please consider that when you speak of less spending, that the money belongs to ALL Americans and that is there to be USED if it is necessary. Not to be held in trust accounts for Republicans who will figure out some way to get their hands on it.

    About "smaller government," we have a huge country and someone needs to help control it. Do you have a better suggestion than WE the PEOPLE doing the controlling? Otherwise known as a government.

    When the people take their eyes off the ball, the Republicans have a tendency to mess things up.

    May 3, 2009 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  9. lived9lives Southern Oregon

    Mehgan, goodness knows you are trying. Just how do you suggest you repackage "baby killers"? How 'bout "dolly zappers" or "fetus fighters"? Then there's the issue of civil rights for gays. Would that be "drivel rights"? Like they say you can put a vlevet dress on a pig, but it is still a PIG. Good Luck Mehgan. My suggestion is go to talk to Arlen.

    May 3, 2009 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  10. Kim in Arizona, FOR NOW

    The package is not the problem, the contents inside are the problem. The republican ideals are history, this America has no place for hate and fear. This America understands the constitution, and actually has studiers of it in the White House. The problem is not how pretty you dress it up, the problem is that the insides are still pure hate! Until the right stops listening to hate mongering LOONS like ann coulter and rush limpball, they have ZERO chance of being relivant again.

    May 3, 2009 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  11. Sue

    Who is Meghan & why do we care?? In my opinion, she is only 24 and has nothing valid to say. She probably has not worked a day in her life and has no clue about the working American population.

    May 3, 2009 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  12. maria

    #1. who cares what she thinks, spoil little rich girl, and she can't identify with the young people she is suppose to be speaking for.
    2. she needs to either take her meds or get diagnosed ... she flips back and forth too much.

    May 3, 2009 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  13. Alex

    Dyed-in-the-wool Republicans may not like hearing what Meghan has to say. They may try their best to cut her down. And perhaps she can deliver her message better. But the core is you need to be listening to people like her if you ever want to win the White House again (and I do mean ever, as I'm seeing the same sorts of signs with the GOP that I saw with the Progressive Conservative party in Canada after they were wiped out by the Liberals in the 1990s. The PC party no longer exists. Granted, another small-c conservative party is now in power – but they had to retire the decades-old PC brand in order to do it.

    May 3, 2009 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  14. seanm

    The only reason she registered as a Republican (from an Independent) during the campaign was because of her father running. I think deep down she knows she's not a Republican

    May 3, 2009 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  15. Jenny (Boston)

    She is sweet, and seems to get part of their problem, but I think that their agenda is what the new generation dislike. People are becoming more open minded, and want to see more fairness in the world. Republicans can't offer that, they represent the past and have a very hard time thinking about the future, look how they are responding to the Obama Adm. , they don't know how to compromise...

    May 3, 2009 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  16. Joanna

    Keep up the good work Megen. I am a democrat but if you ran for office i just might be inclined to support you. The GOP is wrong for not taking you seriously. You have a bright future ahead of you! keep it up!

    May 3, 2009 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  17. Water board Coulter! We want the truth about that Adam's Apple!

    " I don't think older generations are "in" to it and frankly I see too many things I don't like about it- increase in gangs, drugs, guns, wearing pants down to their knees…" That is why they are called young people, it is what they do they bring changes and we the older generation are NOT supposed to agree.

    At 58 I recall vividly, when men started growing long hair, ditching Perry Como for the Beatles, our parents went BESERK! We did not do it to aggravate our parents, just crew cuts and Peggy Lee were "old" news.

    Now about the sagging pants comment, with a 40 inch waist my pants sag and I am in total fear that while walking in Wally World they will drop and expose my lily white, hairy butt and my red thong(sorry, if you are reading this for searing that image onto your retina)!

    May 3, 2009 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  18. Ravi

    Meghan, it is the POLICIES, not the delivery.

    A lot of younger folks are open minded and don't like the GOP agenda of fear, hatred, division, and militant religious extremism. Adopt mainstream American positions like: pro-choice, pro stem cell research, pro-euthanasia, pro gay rights/marriage equality, pro religious diversity, pro peace/consensus, pro compassion for the poor, pro-animal rights, pro-Constitution... and then your party will attract younger people!!!

    As long as you remain a party of hateful Southern White religious fanatics, you will never regain my vote.

    May 3, 2009 11:56 am at 11:56 am |

    Meghan Im afraid its a little too late and Bohner,Bachman,Steele and The Leader Limbaugh aint having it!

    May 3, 2009 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  20. Vincent

    The Republican Party had its rein last term with Bush! After, a downfall of the economy and a roller coaster stock market the Republicans deserve what is being put on the table. But, not saying that Obama is doing any better. Once Again, we gave the money to wrong people who created this mess in the first place! Because of that we have companies like General Motors and Chrysler, which are the backbones of the country, diminshing its existance. Now that Chrysler is laying off more people, the banks are now holding the money for themselves. No loans, means no help! Also, the government gave insurance companies like AIG, who used the money for bonuses and vacations, while just around the corner homeless shelters are crowding. When You are building a building, you start from the foundation and work your way up to the roof. You dont start your way from the roof and down to the foundation. Building is 60% of the country and 20% car industry. If we give credits for all kinds of home improvements and cars it will stimulate millions of jobs. This is what I mean by starting with the foundation. I have been out of work for 5 weeks and I just have a couple of questions for both parties!

    Where did all the money in this once thriving country go?

    How many people Lost Their Jobs and Are Not getting Unemployment Any More and If they have Found a new job?

    How many owners of small businesses have no work and are living off the savings that they have?

    Making excuses up wont satisfy me, JUST give the money to the PEOPLE! Stimulate the country the right way!

    May 3, 2009 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  21. MK

    If the GOP wants to win back voters they can start by getting rid of John (fake tan) Boehner and Eric Cantor. They are still the problem and not men enough to get the hell out of they way.

    May 3, 2009 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  22. B.H.

    She is a whole lot more viable than that moron in Alaska!!

    May 3, 2009 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  23. Erin

    Meghan – I like you.. but your problem isn't that the GOP message isn't clear. Frankly, it's CRYSTAL CLEAR: If you are Gay or a Minority – you're not welcome. If you sympathize with Gay's or Minority's, you're not welcome. If you would ever need a government saftey net to get back on your feet, you're not welcome.

    However, if you're Religous and feel that everyone should live up to your faith's ideals – please come on in. If you're wealthy, and would like to have better tax breaks then those who make 1/10th of what you do – please apply (we'll get you in quickly!). If you are interested in building up a giant wall along the south border to help us appear to be against illegal immigration (but we'll figure out how to still get them in so you can continue to illegally hire them for your company), please join us!

    Ohh.. and if you're interested in starting a new war with Iran, and not being bogged down with diplomacy to avoid it – you don't have to apply at all – you're automatically in!

    Sadly Megan – that is the message of the GOP – and there are only a handful like yourself who wish that it wasn't.. Your voice isn't loud enough to drown out the majority (Rush gets a microphone everyday.. not just a twitter account!). If you were running the party, i'd be much more likely to listen – but i'm a democrat, and so I know where i'm suppose to stay.

    May 3, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  24. Ben

    "Would that be "drivel rights"? "

    Are you a complete and utter idiot? Do you have any sense of empathy, secular morality, or tolerance?

    ...Do you need me to define any of those?

    May 3, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  25. troy

    We need to remember that Rush, Hannity, et al are all entertainers who make their millions by hammering up anti-democrat rhetoric. They are radio actors whom play characters. They provide a healthy, non-violent outlet for angry Republicans who need to vent. In that, they actually provide a service to America. But still, they are only entertainers.

    As far as the Republican party is concerned; they'll be okay. Conservatives, like liberals, are on the fringe and will never be represented by the mainstream. Conservatives do not make up the Republican party. They borrow some of the platform and massage it into something radical. Liberals do the same thing.

    As far as bigotry, racism, and hatred; these fallacies are not germane to a given political party. All people behold these traits, period. As a black man, I witnessed plenty of racism from the Democratic party during the primaries between Obama and Hillary. However, I saw a nation vote for a black man in huge numbers. We're all a bit bigoted, including myself. It's just that some of us care to restrain it moreso than others. I think there are more people associated with the Republican party, as opposed to Democrats, that don't decide to restrain their prejudices so much. But again, we all have them.

    As far as the future is concerned; some things will be a bit different, but the general sense of politics won't change. Assuming everything goes fairly well, Obama will win a second term. Some will like that, some won't, but it will happen. By then, America will grow tired of Democratic domination, and the Republicans (mainstream, not Conservative radicals) will again have their turn.

    May 3, 2009 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
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