Which part of the young Republican's schtick is "progressive"?
The appearance of yet another article about Meghan McCain anywhere, let alone an adulatory column in yesterday’s Washington Post (“Another McCain Throws Down a Challenge“), means that somewhere, a talented PR person is earning their fee.
Gallons of ink have already been spilled on McCain since March 9, when she kicked off an aggressive campaign to position herself as the new, progressive face of the Republican Party by trying to start a feud with Ann Coulter over anti-Semitic and anti-gay slurs that every other pundit on earth already blasted Coulter for eons ago. Despite the staleness of McCain’s charges against Coulter, and the fact that McCain has already been mentioned in the WaPo eight times in the past 16 days, the WaPo article breathlessly touts McCain’s mavericky-ness as though this tired talking point were new, or true, and never mentions that no feud ever emerged. (Coulter’s excellent political instincts led her to remain silent, for once, rather than allow a novice like McCain to elevate her profile by being seen battling Goliath.)
McCain’s carefully orchestrated appearances are clearly the latest in a series designed to rebuild the constituencies whose alienation cost the GOP the 2008 election: women, young people, independents and people of color. (Parties to this project include Michael Steele, Joe the Plumber, Bobby Jindal, and now someone even better than Sarah Palin, who turned out to be kind of a pain in the ass for the McCain camp.) McCain is more than just young, blonde, and on Twitter: She was raised within the compound and is quick to foreground her support for two social issues that poll well among young people — gay marriage and stem cell research –and are perceived to have cost Republicans youth votes in 2008.
Much of what is disturbing about McCain and her compassionate conservative retread tour has already been covered in the blogosphere. Despite her insistence that she represents a new political perspective and her continual use of the term “progressive Republican,” McCain doesn’t seem to know or say a whole lot about politics. Her claim that she’s the only Republican brave enough to take on Coulter entirely overlooks the work of David Brooks, David Frum, Ross Douthat, and Andrew Sullivan (hell, even Michelle Malkin is on record objecting to some of Coulter’s slurs) And when prominent female conservative pundits have a catfight over body fat and age, as McCain did with radio host Laura Ingraham, they’re not doing much to raise the tenor of political discourse or advance sisterhood, as Dahlia Lithwick pointed out not long ago in Slate.
It’s hard to say how much of the Kool-aid McCain has drunk, or what, exactly, she’s trying to serve her readers. Despite gushing to Rachel Maddow that she “loves to be open” and “loves telling people about my experiences,” her transparency doesn’t go beyond telling her readers that she loves the Republican Party in the same breath that she admits to loving American Apparel tube socks and the song “Phenomena” by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. The whole experience of reading McCain’s blog or her Twitter page is eerily reminiscent of the segment on advertising that many of us had in our first year of college, in which we learned why the real product is rarely pictured: Because what advertising sells us is the image of the rugged cowboys we’ll be if we smoke the stuff. Similarly, there’s no talk in McCain’s world about the economy, or judicial nominees, or what should be done with John Yoo and other Bush-era figures that may have committed war crimes. Just the implied promise that you can be a young Republican and still have “Live Free or Die” emblazoned on your Twitter page with red, white and blue skulls. And say “badass” just a few lines down from where you say, “God, I love this country!”
More Related Stories
- Boy Scouts poised to vote, still greatly divided on gay youth
- Is recreational pot use safe?
- How I ended up in a pyramid scheme
- My bipolar partner beat me
- Teenagers care more about online privacy than you think
- Radio host tweets rape joke, blames journalists for reporting on it
- El Salvador court delays ruling on abortion case while woman's life hangs in the balance
- Kicked out of the mall -- for an anti-cancer hat
- Why do men pretend to be women online?
- Pa. governor "can't find" any Latinos to work in his administration
- Conservative group blames military sexual assault on "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repeal
- Is Pittsburgh the next Portland?
- Tornado survivor to Wolf Blitzer: Sorry, I'm an atheist. I don't have to thank the Lord
- Donald Rumsfeld worried that marriage equality will lead to polygamy
- San Francisco Giant Jeremy Affeldt apologizes for homophobic past
- Wall Street firm's "Golden Pitchbook" is totally sexist, full of lies
- Federal court strikes down Arizona abortion ban
- I'm not achieving my dreams!
- The most popular Tumblr porn
- Slave descendants seek equal rights from Cherokee Nation
- Snapchat is secretly storing your photos
Featured Slide Shows
The week in 10 picsclose X
- 1 of 11
Lisa Montgomery embraces her nephew Thursday after a tornado tore apart her home in Cleburne, Texas. The twister killed six people and destroyed entire swaths of the North Texas town.
Credit: AP/LM Otero
Jack McMahon, the defense attorney for abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, speaks outside the Criminal Justice Center in Philadelphia Tuesday. His client was convicted of killing three babies in his clinic, and will serve multiple life sentences.
Credit: AP/Matt Rourke
A photo taken Monday captures Vice President Joe Biden's response to a Milwaukee second-grader's innovative proposal to end America's epidemic of gun violence. This guy!
Credit: AP/Jenny Aicher
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., flanked by a grouper-eyed Michele Bachmann, addresses the IRS' admission that it targeted Tea Party groups in advance of the 2012 election. In an op-ed for CNN Thursday, the Kentucky senator slammed the president for his faux outrage.
Credit: AP/Molly Riley
Ousted IRS chief Steven Miller is sworn in on Capitol Hill Friday. Miller testified before the House Ways and Means Committee on the extra scrutiny the agency gave conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status.
Credit: AP/J. Scott Applewhite
Attorney General Eric Holder pauses as he testifies on Capitol Hill before the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday. Holder is under fire, among other things, for the Justice Department's gathering of phone records at the Associated Press.
Credit: AP/Carolyn Kaster
O.J. Simpson sits during an evidentiary hearing at Clark County District Court in Las Vegas, Nev., Thursday. Simpson, who is currently serving a nine-to-33-year sentence in state prison for armed robbery and kidnapping, is using a writ of habeas corpus to seek a new trial.
Credit: AP/Las Vegas Review-Journal/Jeff Scheid
Major Tom to ground control: On Sunday astronaut Chris Hadfield recorded the first music video from space, a cover of David Bowie's "Space Oddity."
Credit: AP/NASA/Chris Hadfield
When it rains it pours. President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference Thursday with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, inexplicably inspiring an #umbrellagate Twitter meme.
Credit: AP/Jacquelyn Martin
A smoke plume rises high above a road block at the intersection of County A and Ross Road east of Solon Springs, Wis., Tuesday. No injuries were reported, but the the wildfire caused evacuations across northwestern Wisconsin.
Credit: AP/The Duluth News-Tribune/Clint Austin
Recent Slide Shows
- 1 of 11