16 March 2009

why i love meghan mccain.

After taking the weekend off from my thesis-- annoyed with changes proposed during my defense that I have no desire to integrate (while I am sure they are very good ideas)-- naturally, it would be the thing keeping me from falling asleep. Turning away from the pages of suggestions to the internet, it occured to me that I have a touch of Stockholm syndrome.

One of the things I like best about The Daily Beast is that it includes voices of conservative writers. I don't have the patience for actual conservative blogs, but I enjoy it when there is an effort at balance in the mainstream media. As The Times has been in flux in this regard (thank goodness they got rid of William Kristol!), The Daily Beast has stepped up. Furthermore, the conservatives they have writing for them are women-- women who aren't afraid to offer some scathing critiques of the movement and the GOP.

I can't lie. I am a junkie for conservative politics. Sure, I'm basically a socialist when the water meets the road, but being as my professional development requires that I set my own politics aside, I get to be as interested as I want. Admitedly, I study conservatives because they shock me. I like a kum-bay-ya history of the women's movement as much as any feminist, but prefer the intellectual gymnastics I have to do when confronted with a bunch of pro-life libertarians calling their legislators about porn and the gay agenda. I just don't get the same sense of wide eyed fascination when I read about lesbian baseball teams.

Anyways, everyday when I read the news and the commentary I ask myself how on earth the conservative movement is ever going to regain its strength. It's turned into kind of a sad story, really, kind of like the Democrats after McGovern, Dukakis... basically every candidate they put forth between LBJ and WJC really. So in all of this tragedy (or maybe it's a comedy) I have been surprised to find that Meghan McCain, daughter of the unsuccessful Senator from Arizona, has become one of the few reasonable voices amidst the cacaphony of crazies (Rush, 14 year old boy, etc. etc.).

The Girl McCain is not a particularly great writer-- there is a laissez faire approach to the editing of her work that does her no favors. But the ideas are good, when she doesn't paint herself into the corner of acknowledging her privledge or naivete. That she can stay afloat with so many caveats says a lot more about the movement than the person. I tried really hard to be dismissive but then I realized her perspective is unparalleled. Though I love David Brooks, it's a shit time to be preaching old school, preReagan sermons and nobody wants to try out his good ideas anyways.

So M. McCain: I find it refreshing that she takes on Ann Coulter, because AC scares the shit out of liberals and the first thing the RNC et al should be doing is to make itself look less scary (though the selfish part of me says "don't ever stop"). I like that she takes a moderate stance on social issues, and recognizes that base pandering is a dangerous thing when trying to attain electoral majorities. Though the writing was particularly bad in her "Looking for Mr. Far Right" piece, I thought it was a clever way to showcase the shambles of right politics. Her recent body image bit was rational and I think we need as many voices as possible, from whatever side, to protest the way women's bodies are attacked in politics.

Ok, so maybe the standards are low, but I think Meghan McCain is establishing herself as a person to listen to in the conservative movement. Or at the very least, a person liberals can tolerate listening to. I have a pretty high tolerance and even I can't handle the vacuous pundits-- here here for more sensible folks making it look like there's a slight possibility that our two-party system can start working again.

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