Monday, April 20, 2009

Meghan McCain: The New Face of the GOP?

By Dennis Sanders

Talk about the apple not falling far from the tree.

Senator John McCain had been noted in the past as being a "straight talker." I think that this aspect about him was sadly muted during his run for President. That said, it seems that the penchant for straight talk can also be found in his daughter, Meghan.
Meghan McCain spoke Saturday at the national convention for the Log Cabin Republicans and presented a new face for the GOP: a conservative that is forward looking on issues like the environment and gay rights and yet able to hold on the core values of the party.

In her speech, McCain isn't simply calling for Republicans to use old ideas with new technology ala Twitter and Facebook. She is calling for the GOP to start to wake up the current realities, a says that there is soon to be a civil war within the GOP. Here is a sample of what she had to say:

People in our country have much more important issues to deal with on a daily basis. But the experience did reinforce what I learned on the campaign trail in some major ways.

I’ll summarize them in three points:

1. Most of our nation wants our nation to succeed.
2. Most people are ready to move on to the future, not live in the past.
3. Most of the old school Republicans are scared shitless of that future...

..I feel too many Republicans want to cling to past successes. There are those who think we can win the White House and Congress back by being “more” conservative. Worse, there are those who think we can win by changing nothing at all about what our party has become. They just want to wait for the other side to be perceived as worse than us. I think we’re seeing a war brewing in the Republican party, but it is not between us and Democrats. It is not between us and liberals. It is between the future and the past. I believe most people are ready to move on to that future...

...Simply embracing technology isn’t going to fix our problem either. 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. 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...

...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.

Read the whole speech. McCain puts forth a clear vision for what the party can be, not just on the issue of gay rights, but on a whole list of issues.

Yes, some will say that making changes will mean we lose our conservative roots. But what they are saying is they want to cling to the past. True conservativism honors the past, but it move forward into the future with ideas to deal with that future.

Kudos to Ms. McCain. I could not have said it better.
Dennis Sanders - a pastor living in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He has worked on centrist Republican issues for years, including stints as President of the Minnesota chapter of Log Cabin Republicans (a gay/lesbian advocacy group) and Republicans for Environmental Protection. Dennis blogs at NeoMugwump and happily lives with his partner Daniel and serves two cats, Morris and Felix


Anonymous said...

Meghan makes some great points. The problem is that the GOP base is extremely one-sided and not nearly as open minded as she is. Many I know here in MS even accuse her of not being a "real" republican since she only recently joined the party during her dad's presidential bid. Too bad. She actually makes a lot of sense.

BW said...

I personally think Meghan has correctly identified the challenges the party faces going forward, but am reluctant to entirely embrace the solution she proposes, which appears to involve completely doing away with all social conservative ideals while hanging on to fiscal conservatism.

One issue that appears to be at the top of her list is gay marriage. And while I have little interest in the construction of legal barriers preventing two persons of the same sex from being together. I do, as an example, think that the implications of gay marriage on adoption rules should be carefully considered. Whereas the GOP may be too far "to the right" on social issues, many perceive the democrats to be too far "to the left" and the challenge lies in finding a position that strikes an appropriate balance.

Zabeth said...

I think Laura Ingram made a good point at one time stating that John McCain was one of our most middle of the road candidates (which is pretty accurate) and we couldn't win with him. Therefore, how will embracing more mainstream policies as opposed to holding onto our more conservative principles help us win?

I'm just curious to see how others respond to that question.