I’m glad to see Jason Zengerle bringing this up at the Plank, because I had intended to write about Meghan McCain yesterday after seeing the Chris Good snippet about her being the most high-profile young Republican in the country or what have you.
Maybe I’m beating a dead horse here, but again I think the chattering class grossly overestimates the number of Americans who are paying rapt attention to anything going on in Washington. Sure people are reading the news and care deeply about how President Obama and his team work to get us out of the financial crisis and two wars, how they come up with a plan for universal healthcare, etc. But there cannot be more than a few hundred-thousand or so (perhaps less) who know are aware of Meghan McCain for more than her appearance on the View and her scuttle with Laura Ingraham and Ann Coulter. They don’t have the time and energy to read all of McCain’s columns at the Daily Beast, nor do they care. Her reach is limited, a self-selecting group.
And, as Zengerle posits, she’s a token Republican, at best. While McCain has made her best effort to characterize herself as socially liberal but fiscally conservative, and emphasized her commitment to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (not least of all because her brothers are over there, and her family has a strong military background, obviously), she ends up coming off, to me at least, as trying to hard to say she’s a Repub just to placate her dad and others in the GOP that she’s personally close to. I for one don’t know any self-described Republicans that voted for John Kerry in 2004; Kerry was pretty much anathema to Repubs in those days.*
And even if McCain is sure that she is a Republican, I’m not sure that she qualifies as anything like a model for others. It’s not as if she’s in a position very similar to other young people. No one else had to watch their dad run a DOA campaign against the Obama phenomenon. It’s no wonder McCain doesn’t want to say, or believe, that she’s a Democrat: for her to do so would be a repudiation of her family and her father and that’s a very difficult position to be in. By contrast, most young people of McCain’s divided mindset voted for Obama in November. They may not say they’re “Democrats” but I doubt they would qualify themselves as Republicans; at the least they’re independents.
*Not to mention that it’s a hypocritical to say you’re unwaveringly for the war now, when John Kerry was staunchly against the war by 2004…