Posted by Brad @ 6:27 pm on March 24th 2009

“Progressive Republican”

Don’t look now, but Meghan McCain, arguably the most prominent young Republican in the country right now (which, granted, isn’t saying much), is out there trying to define Republicanism for a new generation, or at least trying to articulate the kind of Republicanism that she subscribes to and which she believes has the best chance of connecting to the next generation. Essentially, small l libertarian. Or, as she puts it, socially liberal “progressive Republicanism”.

Welcome aboard Meghan. You can sit here by me and Christine Todd Whitman. Colin Powell went out for a pack of smokes and never came back.

It’s interesting to me that the only two prominent Republican figures under 30 that I can name are Ross Douthat and Meghan McCain. Both hold more or less opposite views on social conservatism, but both have exactly the right idea. If that’s the future of the party—good.


  1. Don’t forget David Freddoso. He helps prove your point: that the next wave of Republican thinkers looks a lot better than the present wave.

    Comment by Rojas — 3/24/2009 @ 6:38 pm

  2. Oh, good call. I had forgotten about him.

    Comment by Brad — 3/24/2009 @ 6:44 pm

  3. Meghan McCain is totally unknown outside the media beltway. She is the latest leader being foisted upon us, much as her father was. What evidence is there that she is a “Republican thinker”?

    Comment by Coogan — 3/26/2009 @ 10:56 pm

  4. We’re part of the media beltway presumably?

    I KNEW there were benefits to this gig.

    Comment by Rojas — 3/26/2009 @ 11:39 pm

  5. You use quotation marks around “Republican thinker” as if that’s what I had called her. If anything, I might call her a socialite (and I wouldn’t mean it in a bad way).

    But here’s a pop quiz. Name a widely known national Republican figure under 25.

    Meghan McCain is certainly not widely known, but she’s also certainly the most visible young Republican on the national scene at the moment. I’m a fairly close watcher of politics, and after two days of thinking I can’t name another. Which makes her about the only notable young Republican with any amount of celebrity since the Reagan era.

    That says a lot less about Meghan McCain than it does about the Republican party.

    In any case, I don’t think anybody is confusing Meghan with a leader being foisted upon anybody. She’s a pseudo-celebrity who’s using what little visibility and soapbox she has to try and leverage the party towards a more progressive stance on social policy, not because of her personal ambitions or vested political interests (indeed, even in spite of them), but solely because she thinks it’s the right thing to do.

    That she’s quasi-famous solely on the basis of name ID is sort of immaterial—it’s neither good nor bad. It’s what you do with it that counts. And going against the grain of beltway thinking and institutionalized atrophy to try to use her more-or-less coincidental 15 minutes to push for a more, dare I say it, libertarian bent to the GOP is a use of minor celebrity that I can certainly get behind. Most politician kids use their celebrity to get rich or get drink. Meghan McCain is using hers to advance social freedom.

    And she’s not wrong. The GOP is very clearly, by any measure you care to put to it, losing the youth vote by ever-wider margins—it’s created for itself a generation (more than a few now) of reflexively anti-Republican young people (and thus, through sheer guilt by association, reflexively anti-conservative young people), for mostly precisely the reasons she gives. You might not agree with her about this or that social issue, but you can’t deny her basic premise.

    Comment by Brad — 3/27/2009 @ 12:06 am

  6. But here’s a pop quiz. Name a widely known national Republican figure under 25.

    Alex P. Keaton

    Comment by Dingle — 3/27/2009 @ 2:20 pm

  7. Nope. Apparently he supports stem cell research.

    Comment by Rojas — 3/27/2009 @ 8:39 pm

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