Today, NY Times "Domestic Disturbances" columnist Judith Warner writes that she feels sorry for Meghan McCain because, she says, Meghan's interview with Colbert proves she's "not-ready-for-prime-time" and just embarrassing herself by being herself. Huh?
The crux of Warner's argument seems to be that Meghan McCain's efforts to mesh a political persona with her more personal side (as evidenced by her Colbert appearance, apparently?) make her look foolish, water down her message and will doom her career as a pundit or political person.
She says: You can't do these things because they're just stupid and, when you're already a sitting duck, particularly one who at some point in her career could very well rise to make a valuable contribution, you just can't afford to look stupid.
You can't because you end up sounding like a much younger, much dumber (which you're not), much less savvy (which you are) version of Sarah Palin...
Well, Meghan McCain is nearly half Sarah Palin's age, but I didn't see McCain looking stupid or un-savvy on Colbert — or in any of her other recent television appearances. She came across as she always does (and has likely been trained to), which is to say relatively articulate, politically moderate (while still speaking in GOP-code about guns, God and country) and approachable to people her own age.
But the more telling part of Warner's statement might be the "at some point in her career." Warner — who writes for the New York Times — seems a teeny bit cheesed off that McCain has gotten so big so young or, in Warner's words, has been "endowed with a soapbox years before [she's] paid your dues" and adds,
I really have no business feeling sympathy for a wealthy, pretty, well-connected recent Columbia grad who's already been given a political blog by Tina Brown, who's already been paid a reported high six figures to write on the future of the Republican party...
I mean, McCain is young, and she is privileged and, being the daughter of the last Republican candidate for President, she has gotten a pretty big soapbox. And — horrors! — she's using it to advocate that Republicans support same sex marriage and that people (including Republicans) take a more nuanced look at what being a Republican means, among other things. Do I disagree with some of her stances? Certainly. Do I blame that on her age? Absolutely not.
Warner thinks that McCain admitting, such as it is, that she's not a virgin and that she's "pro-sex" is an embarrassment and will only hurt McCain down the road. I think admitting in front of millions of people — including your family — the likely obvious truth that she's sexually active is both courageous (the memory of having that discussion just with my parents makes me shudder to this day) and a pretty overtly political act. By doing so, McCain brought home the already-interesting statement about the foolishness of abstinence-only education and the Republican insistence on putting a doily over the truth that most people have sex before marriage. She made herself — willingly and openly — the poster child for how being an openly sexual person isn't (and shouldn't be) quite so embarrassing, which is actually a really big deal thing for a lot of people. I think McCain knew exactly what she was doing — just as I think that her Twitter and McCainBlogette and the rest of her appearances are a savvy way of building a personal brand of political savvy and personal accessibility. I don't feel sorry for her in the least.
The Young And The Snarky [NY Times]