I saw Meghan McCain on a talk show. She seemed interesting and engaging and I kind of wanted to read the book. Her goal in writing was to be honest, entertaining and insightful about the 2008 election. She’s certainly honest, and I was entertained, but I didn’t find her writing to be particularly insightful. There’s nothing truly amazing or revelatory in her book, but it’s refreshing to hear from a Republican who isn’t a Far Right, fear-mongering idiot and doesn’t want to toe the party line, but rather smash it to smithereens.
McCain says her motto is “there are no secrets.” She models her writing after Taylor Swift’s songwriting style: if you don’t want Swifty writing a song about you, don’t giver her a reason to write about you. Ditto Meghan. Her sharpest knives are reserved for the Republican Party which has “lost its way in the last ten years” (5). She scolds it for ignoring young people and moderates and turning itself into a members-only club for the Far Right, one that specializes in fear-mongering and group think. Meghan is very anti-group think. She’s a live-and-let-live Republican, except for abortion rights. Oops.
- The first chapter is entitled “How Things Went Badly” and begins the night before Sarah Palin is announced as running mate. Hee.
- When she finally met the Palins her first impressions of Sarah were that “she was the most beautiful politician I had ever seen, that she seemed surprisingly calm, and that she had a ton of kids” (27). Later that night, Meghan joined the rest of us in asking “Who is this woman?” and eventually simply said “Sarah Palin and I are very different women” (152).
- On Mike Huckabee: she’ll never vote for him because “he thinks being gay is immoral and perverted and equivalent to bestiality” and in 1992 wanted to send all HIV positive people to one isolated area of the country, like a leper camp (60).
- Joe Lieberman is “one of the kindest, friendliest, and funniest people I have ever met.” Guess you had to be there.
- Overall, I think poor Meghan could use a friend. She frequently talks about her desire to bond with other daughters-of, and while she is an outgoing extrovert, she’s also insecure, mainly about her role as a daughter-of.
What’s most interesting to me are the brief pages on gender and politics. Meghan recognizes the double standard that if her brothers were like her, they’d be fine, but she’s sent to image consultants and given a makeover. She has a nice few pages about Hillary Clinton and the role of gender in Hillary’s media coverage and the boys club of Republican campaigns.
More things I like: she’s anti-abstinence, pro-contraception and calls out the campaign for using Bristol Palin to glamorize teen pregnancy and over emphasize anti-abortion politics rather than promoting contraception: “[conservatives] go on and on about how evil and wrong abortion is, but don’t like to talk about how easy it is to not get pregnant” (110). School them, Meghan.
The Final Grades
- For young teenagers of the conservative/moderate persuasion: B+
- For politically savvy adults: C