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Meghan McCain

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Meghan McCain—whom some have called the new face of the GOP—likes to call herself a “progressive Republican.” Her Twitter page is full of updates about her devotion to gay marriage: “Marriage equality will not fall to the wayside! I have faith one day there will be equality for everyone living in this country!”

That’s fine, I don’t care whether or not she supports “marriage equality.” But as someone her age, I know that gay marriage is one of the causes that young people must embrace in order to gain admission to the liberal in-crowd—and I suspect that’s why she’s doing it.

Through her appearances on The View and The Colbert Report, it’s become obvious that Meghan McCain enjoys being a media darling and wants to be accepted by people who ordinarily hate conservatives. She does it by adopting socially correct views on contentious issues (such as gay marriage), and by affirming media stereotypes of conservatives as uptight and clueless. (One of her recent columns was titled “The GOP doesn’t understand sex.”) On Twitter, she constantly reminds us that she has tattoos, wears push-up bras, and is not a virgin.

We get it, Meghan. You’re not Polly Purity (or “Governor Jesus Camp,” as some liberal bloggers called your father’s running mate). You’re a hip, progressive Republican, and you want everyone in the media to know it. But I have to ask: Didn’t you learn anything from your father?

While few people acknowledge it now, John McCain was also a media darling. He, too, embraced trendy liberal causes like global warming and campaign finance reform. As their go-to “moderate” Republican, the New York Times and Newsweek shamelessly used him to attack other members of his party. All his media appearances sent the same message: “I’m different! I’m not like those awful conservative Republicans!” John McCain fought for, and temporarily won, liberals’ acceptance. (I still remember one of my obnoxious high school teachers telling me, “John McCain is the only Republican with any integrity.”)

That changed as soon as he became the GOP nominee for President. By then, the media had a genuine liberal to embrace, and they didn’t need John McCain anymore. He went from being a “maverick” and a “moderate” Republican to being everything the media usually calls conservatives: stodgy, old, and out-of-touch. His strategy of embracing liberals and attacking conservatives got him nowhere, and he lost the election badly.

Does Meghan think the same strategy is going to work for her?

On a personal level, I like her. I admire her candor and energy, and she seems to have her dad’s fighting spirit. I’d love to see her drop the “progressive Republican” charade and let the real Meghan McCain shine through.

Maybe she really does care about gay marriage and comprehensive sex education. But I suspect she’s secretly not as progressive as she makes herself out to be in her columns and TV appearances. I also suspect she, like all the media’s favorite Republicans, is terrified of negative press.

Come on Meghan, stop living in fear of liberal name-calling (“bigot,” “fascist,” blah blah blah). If you want to be an emerging leader of the Republican party, stop trying to be “in” with the New York Times and the girls on The View. It didn’t work for your dad, and it won’t work for you. They’ll turn on you as soon as you become a legitimate Republican leader. In the face of constant media attacks, you’ll have to rely on the conservatives you rejected for support—and hope they’re willing to give it.

Daughter like father.

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