Meghan McCain does not like the new face of the Republican Party, which she says looks a lot like Ann Coulter.
Blogging for the Daily Beast, Meghan McCain, the daughter of Senator John McCain, wrote that she did not like the image of negativity that Ann Coulter displayed, perpetuating “negative stereotypes of Republicans.” She also presents the problem of a younger, more “progressive” thinking conservative searching for the relevance of the GOP, someone who believes in the core principles of the Republican Party but is not attracted to the Coulter brand of extremist ideology. Where do those people find political affiliation if the Republican Party continues to follow a more radical right agenda? While the Democratic Party enjoys a president that is the “hippest politician around,” the GOP seems to be looking toward charismatic radicals.
There can be little doubt that the speeches, statements, and written works of people like Ann Coulter tend to excite certain elements of the more extreme and radicalized of the GOP. There is also little doubt that Coulter, Limbaugh, and other ultra-conservative figures of the far right have a certain appeal, albeit to an element that is for the most part intolerant of anything approaching progressive. But that appeal is mainly emotional, visceral. The more cerebral spokesmen for the Republican Party, such as Congressman Ron Paul, are marginalized or dismissed. Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele, who symbolizes a more tolerant, forward-looking GOP, isn’t trusted to be strong enough (even Meghan McCain questions the strategy of appealing to ‘hip-hop’ voters) to promote the conservative agenda.
In short, Ann Coulter is no longer relevant.
And McCain is correct. Only extremists demand a strict adherence to “every single ideal.”
At present, at least according to Meghan McCain, the answer to the GOP’s identity crisis would be to find some middle ground. McCain is reflective of a vast majority of young people, finding that their ideals cross party lines, not adhering to a strict Republican or Democratic ideology. She calls herself a “progressive conservative.” And she’s afraid that people like “the poster woman for the most extreme side of the Republican Party” will become the model for the average member of the Republican Party.
But what Meghan McCain does not seem to realize is that she provided the answer to countering the Ann Coulters and the Rush Limbaughs that seem to have taken control of the conservative movement and the Republican Party since the 2008 election. Someone like Meghan McCain is the answer. The core values of what the Republican Party is will remain, but it is up to young Republicans like McCain, those who have a forum and a voice, to ensure that the GOP does not become a party of self-serving demagogues.
Because ultimately McCain is correct: “The GOP is at a crossroads.” They got there by straying from their core beliefs, following an unpopular extreme ideology of resurgent manifest destiny that produced an extremely unpopular war and helped in the destabilization of the world’s diplomatic community as well as the world’s economy.
And voters ultimately rejected that ideology.
But the choices of direction are clear — because one can never go back, no matter how hard one tries. The party can go straight ahead, doing exactly as they have been doing for the past two decades, and they will more likely as not watch their ranks dwindle. They can turn to the left and seek a more “progressive,” moderate, and tolerant stance (and remain well within the tenets of conservatism), and carving out a place within the emerging young electorate. Or they can make a hard right, following people like Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh into a more radicalized, reactionary, and belligerent future, alienating members of their own party as well as those with opposing ideologies.
Meghan McCain wonders if she is conservative enough to be worthy of pleasing the leaders of the Republican Party and, therefore, remain a member. And therein lies the confusion that has grounded the GOP. It is not she who should be worthy enough to be a member, but that her leaders be worthy enough to represent the membership, of which she is a part. Instead, she might want to use her voice to counter the more extreme views of the far right and help remake the GOP into a party more reflective of the existing social order.
The Republican Party doesn’t have to be “hip” or produce a politician like Barack Obama. They just have to become relevant again.
The Daily Beast