CPAC, the annual Conservative Political Action Conference begins Feb. 18. Conservative leaders will rally the troops before the mid-term elections in November and discuss the future role of conservatives in politics.
One person who will not be in attendance is Meghan McCain, despite the year-long media attempt to make citizens believe she is somehow representative of conservatives. She tweeted on Feb. 11, "I have no idea where this weird rumor I am speaking at CPAC came from, it isn't true and I will not be attending or speaking."
McCain, the 25-year-old daughter of former Republican presidential nominee John McCain and a writer for The Daily Beast, has taken it upon herself to tell the GOP what needs to be fixed within the party. Because she calls herself a Republican, media outlets have perpetuated the notion that she is also conservative. By doing that, they've pushed a liberal social agenda that directly conflicts with conservative values.
Writer Kathleen Parker, herself no stranger to conservative bashing, praised McCain last spring as "one smart cookie" who "in a matter weeks ... has created a brand, presenting herself as a fresh face of her daddy's party and voice of young conservatives."
Jonathan Capehart of The Washington Post and a contributor to MSNBC, suggested last summer that "maybe what the Republican Party is going to have to do is skip a generation and wait for the Meghan McCains to come of age so they can run for office and take over the mantle of the party."
"Hers is a voice of conscience and a voice of the future, what I hope would be the future for the Republican Party," opined Capehart's colleague Eugene Robinson about McCain to MSNBC's Keith Olbermann just last week.
After McCain launched a diatribe against Ann Coulter last March, MSNBC host Rachel Maddow heralded her as "the most notable young Republican in the country."
McCain's whole shtick revolves around two related criticisms of the Republican Party: It is hopelessly old-fashioned (for not accepting same-sex marriage and advocating for abstinence-based sex ed) and should do more to attract young people.
According to McCain, the way to attract young people is for the party to move away from its more conservative beliefs, in particular, those about sexuality.
In McCain, the media has a Republican - a label many believe is synonymous with conservative - to boost the notion that liberal ideas have more support among conservatives than they actually do. By promoting her, they are actually using her to attack conservatives, much the same way the media long used her father.
This is the young woman who proclaimed on the "Colbert Report" last spring that she was "pro-sex," whose idea of good sex ed reads like a Planned Parenthood mailing, and who told the Log Cabin Republicans that "most of the old-school Republicans are scared s---less" of the future."
But for these comments, and others that attack conservatives (she called Karl Rove "creepy" for following her on Twitter, compared Ann Coulter to a "train wreck" and advised Dick Cheney to "go away"), the mainstream media has hailed her as the "most notable young Republican in the country," "a voice of conscience and a voice of the future," and insisted, as U.S. News and World Report's Bonnie Erbe did, that "she should be the future leader of the party."
Just last week during a guest-hosting stint on "The View," McCain regaled her co-hosts with her take on the Tea Party movement, again playing the generation gap card.
"It's innate racism," she claimed of former congressman Tom Tancredo's remark at the recent Tea Party convention regarding civic literacy tests for voting. "I'm sorry, revolutions start with young people, not with 65-year-old people talking about literacy tests and people who can't say the word vote in English."
McCain regularly declares her "love" for the Republican Party in her Daily Beast column, and claimed in one that "any criticism I give of the Republican Party is out of love, and as someone who is knowledgeable and experienced enough to give constructive criticism."
But that criticism of the Republican Party is also criticism of conservatives.
McCain described herself as "liberal on social issues" to Larry King, during a March 24, 2009 interview with the CNN host. "I consider myself a progressive Republican. I am liberal on social issues. And I think that the party is at a place where social issues shouldn't be the issues that define the party," she explained.
It's not just social issues with which McCain has a problem, but also religion. She told CNN's Roland Martin on April 8, that "a lot of problems the Republicans have come into is because there's too much inclusion of religion and government."
Mainly, her criticisms are that there are extreme people within the Party, that Republicans should eagerly endorse same-sex marriage and that the party doesn't know how to talk about sex.
"If the Republican Party has any hope of gaining substantial support from a wider, younger base, we need to get past our anti-gay rhetoric," wrote McCain in the April 13 column, "Memo to the GOP: Go Gay."
ABC's David Wright used McCain to tout what he apparently saw as more widespread acceptance of same-sex marriage.
"And over the weekend, the daughter of the former Republican standard bearer, Meghan McCain, suggested she is all in favor of [same-sex marriage]," Wright reported on April 21. He included a clip of McCain saying, "I have lots and lots of gay friends. And yes, I am a Republican."
ABC's April 19 "World News Sunday" used the same tactic in a report on same-sex marriage and the GOP that noted McCain's support for gay rights as well as her political affiliation.
As for sex, McCain feared the Republican Party would become "irrelevant" by being too conservative when it comes to talking about sex.
She claimed that when it comes to educating children about sex, "the GOP continues to struggle with open communication about serious issues most people deal with rationally, and on a regular basis" and that "unless we learn how to integrate that kind of discussion, our party will continue its descent into irrelevance."
Her rationalization read more like a Planned Parenthood mailing then something a conservative would say.
"As a Republican, I am pro-life," she insisted. "But using birth control and having an abortion are not the same at all. Actually, the best way to prevent abortions is to educate people about birth control and make it widely and easily accessible."
Of course, the media love nothing more than a Republican who goes on the attack against conservatives.
At CBS, "Early Show" host Harry Smith used his March 10, 2009, interview with McCain to read aloud part of her diatribe against Coulter.
"Here's one of the things you wrote about Ann Coulter, who's been a guest on this program in the past, we had interesting conversations. ‘I straight up don't understand this woman or her popularity,'" read Smith. "‘I find her offensive, radical, insulting, and confusing all at the same time. If figureheads like Ann Coulter are turning me off, then they are definitely turning off other members of my generation as well.'"
NBC's Norah O'Donnell labeled McCain "a maverick in her own right" during a March 17, 2009, "Today" report about the diatribe.
MSNBC's Rachel Maddow hailed McCain last March, shortly after the column about Coulter was published, for "call[ing] out" the "extreme" Republicans:"
"Your outspoken criticism of people like Ann Coulter - there has obviously been a lot of controversy about Rush Limbaugh," began Maddow on March 11. "You think it would be helpful for the Republican Party, for the, sort of, the lack of a better term, this sort of extreme side of it, the extreme conservative part of the Republican Party to get called out by more moderate Republicans. But you really are the only one doing that."
This set up McCain to make her pitch that the Republican Party was out of touch with young people.
"I'm saying it because I want the Republicans to be in a good place. And I really think we are on the precipice of possibly becoming a party that it's irrelevant to young people ... ," stated McCain. "It's truly possible in the next election unless the right politician and right message. And it starts with the message which I think people are missing, too. And I just don't know how someone yelling and screaming on the news saying anti-Semitic comments could possibly draw someone to that party. I just don't understand the logic in that."
And on the March 24, 2009, "Larry King Live," the host gave McCain the opportunity to explain again that the problem with Republicans is the fact that they don't reach out enough to her generation.
"I consider myself a progressive Republican. I am liberal on social issues. And I think that the party is at a place where social issues shouldn't be the issues that define the party. And I have taken heat, but in fairness to me, I am a different generation than the people that are giving me heat," she proclaimed. "I'm 24 years old. I'm not in my 40s, I'm not in my 50s and older. And I think there's just such a generation gap, that the people that don't understand me, I actually take it as a compliment, that sort of this new young Republican can come forward and make progress and be successful in the ways that this party has currently failed."
‘Young Conservative?' No way.
Not everybody is content to sit by and let Meghan McCain push a leftist agenda from within the Republican Party.
Yes, McCain can speak for a younger demographic, but her political experience is limited to helping with her dad's failed presidential campaign. McCain herself has declared she knows little about economics, which is a huge conservative plank in the Republican Party's platform, and, since we know how she stands on social issues, is presumably some of what she likes about the party.
"I didn't take econ in college. I don't completely understand so I'd hate to make a comment one way or the other," she admitted to Maddow in the March 11 interview.
Conservative talk radio host Bill Bennett questioned the wisdom of some of McCain's statements in a discussion on CNN's April 23 "Situation Room" with James Carville, Candy Crowley and Wolf Blitzer about McCain's suggestion that Dick Cheney "go away."
"Meghan McCain is to be listened to, but a guy who was elected to ten terms, twice as vice-president, was secretary of defense isn't, that's a little bit of a stretch," Bennett stated with regard to her comments about Cheney.
Crowley didn't see McCain as being an effective mover within the party. "I think she's been trying to push the Republican Party. She's younger than we tend to think of as people in the Republican Party, but I'm not sure she moves the meter one way or the other."
In her limited experience, McCain believes the logical thing Republicans should do is move left.
She expressed her desire for more "centrism" in her CBS interview, telling Harry Smith, that "it's hard for [her] to defend these icons [like Coulter]" and that she "just wish[es] for more centrist icons in the Republican Party."
"Centrism" was a theme in her columns as well.
"I have always believed that in order for our government to successfully function and move forward, it is important for both parties to embrace centrism," McCain wrote on April 7, 2009.
The true "voice of young conservatives" would not urge anyone to move left on issues. He or she would be finding new ways to make conservative issues relatable to young people.
And the mainstream media wouldn't tell anybody about it.