Thursday, 2 April 2009

Meghan McCain's "House Hottie"

In a previous post I referred to my pet theory about the GOP's slow implosion over the past three years as 'the eggshell theory' - meaning (and in no way do I think this is a particularly original insight, but it was an "AHA!" moment for me) that the Republican Party's coherence has entirely evaporated, and all that is left of the Party is "branding;" that they have been rendered all image and no substance. The more I reflect on the parade of radioactive circus clowns that the GOP lined up during the 2008 campaign, from Palin to Plumber, the more I realize that this should have been obvious to me much sooner.

Further evidence continues to pile up. One of the faces of the 'future of the Republican Party' is Meghan McCain, a so-called moderate who has traded in her father's name for semi-celebrity status and an inexplicable job writing for the Daily Beast - a gig that has now produced a truly extraordinary little column. The headline is, and I'm not making this up, "The GOP's House Hottie: Can the Best Abs In D.C. Save the GOP?"

Well, that's....oh hell, let's just move on. After all, there has to be *some* reason that McCain has a soapbox at the Beast, right?

I firmly believe that talking about our differences—instead of mudslinging—can only bring people closer to the Republican Party and force them to take a second look at their candidates. “It’s up to you to give the case for why you’re the best candidate and why, from time to time, you and your opponent differ on policy issues or agenda items,” [House Hottie Rep. Aaron] Schock explained. “But that does not mean you vilify them or trash their personality.”

Well that sounds reasonable enough, right? We've all moved past the point where Republicans are galloping around calling the Democratic Party a bunch of Stalinists, haven't we?

As for reaching people at “colleges in Manhattan,” Schock says: “[Students] may tend to be more socially moderate, but I also believe they are aggressively pursuing higher education so they can earn more money and then provide a better way of life for their families. They don’t believe that everybody should be paid the same wage or everyone is entitled to drive the same car. We need to play to their competitive nature and belief in the capital system, which is how our party is fundamentally different from the Democrats.”
Damn, I see that Schock is on the same Team Obama e-mail list that I am: just last week the administration outlined their plan to ban the ownership of private property, confiscate all personal vehicles, and issue a bunch of 1976 Ladas to everyone. Slipped my mind.

As for policy issues, McCain gushes over and over about how excellent it is that Schock understands the importance of branding, and yet also displays impressive policy chops:

But the most promising thing about the young congressman is his dual understanding of old-school conservative ideals and the GOP’s branding problem, if you will.
In fact, precisely because of his age, Schock has been able to better communicate with young people (a cause that is very close to my heart): whether it’s his decision not to run negative campaign ads, his ability to present issues in a way that applies specifically to my generation, or his use of the Internet.

And those ideals and issues are...?

Well, it looks like we'll have to take Meghan's word (and Schock's) that he possesses the substance the GOP is so sorely lacking right now, because other than a token talking point swipe at Obama about "generational debt," Schock doesn't say a damn thing about policy. At least McCain has picked a few issues as sacrificial lambs (stem cell research and civil unions, two very low-hanging fruits on the policy tree, I might add) to play the moderate. Schock can't even be bothered.

If this is what the future of the GOP looks like - vapid flock behavior on Twitter and AstroTurfed "Tea Parties" - Republicans are going to spend even longer in the wilderness than I originally assumed.

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