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Kevin at the Tidbits of My Life has published a portion of the speech Meghan McCain delivered at last week’s annual Log Cabin Republican dinner. McCain’s comments underlined her strong commitment to gay rights, Republicanism, black clothing, punk rock, and tattoos. “The person who stands before you is not confined within the mold of what a daughter of a Republican Presidential candidate ‘should’ be for some,” McCain said, adding that she learned three valuable lessons on the campaign trail:
1. “Most of our nation wants our nation to succeed.”
2. “Most people are ready to move on to the future, not live in the past.”
3. “Most of the old school Republicans are scared shitless of that future.”
But what does this all have to do with McCain being kind of a goth chick?
McCain then listed the many ways in which she is an enigma wrapped in a riddle trapped in a McCain body.
“I am concerned about the environment,” she said. “I love to wear black. I think government is best when it stays out of people’s lives and business as much as possible. I love punk rock. I believe in a strong national defense. I have a tattoo. I believe government should always be efficient and accountable. I have lots of gay friends. And yes, I am a Republican.”
It’s great that McCain hasn’t let her Republicanism impact her sense of style. But honestly, ushering gay rights into the Republican party is going to be a lot harder than desensitizing old white dudes to tramp stamps and goth pants, fashion choices that may seem rebellious to the John McCains of the world, but which all adults are nevertheless free to choose. The gay thing runs a little deeper, and the institutional barriers to full Republican acceptance of choices like gay marriage are a little more formidable—-in most states, it’s like, totally illegal.
I like McCain’s vision of a Republican party that supports gay rights, but changing the party line is about more than being cool with having gay friends—-it’s about making these issues a priority within the party. The Log Cabin Republicans have survived as “Republicans” because they have been committed to upholding the party’s identity despite its many gay rights failures. In order to be pro-Republican and pro-gay, you’ve got to work to incorporate gay rights into the traditional party rhetoric, so you can get the guys without the tattoos—-and the gay friends—-on board, too. With them, maybe best to emphasize the “government is best when it stays out of people’s lives” thing, and not just the “government is best when it’s cool” thing.