Republicans Use McCain Family As Distraction
This Viewpoint Column was published on February 11,2010 in The Florida Agenda Newspaper
When Cindy McCain, the wife of Senator John McCain, recently participated in the highly publicized photo shoot for the “NoH8” campaign against California's Proposition 8, I was so proud of her. I emblazoned my Facebook page with Mrs. McCain's glamourous photo and hailed her as the "true Maverick" in their family, for supporting the leglization of gay marriage.
Then, just a week later, her husband reversed his position on the controversial Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy. He was previously for repealing the antiquated anti-gay military policy, but now he's suddenly and voraciously supportive of keeping it in place.
Their daughter, Meghan McCain (who also supports gay marriage and repealing DADT) recently appeared as a guest on “The View.” I was hopeful that the mystery of John McCain's flip-floppy opinions would finally be put to rest. Quite the opposite—now I fear that little Meghan might have put herself in the precarious position of having to defend the politically indefensible: her father.
Cindy McCain had been an unfortunate target of mine when I was campaigning for Barack Obama in '08. The Obama campaign officials urged those of us at ground level to "avoid attacks on family members" and to "run a clean campaign." We obviously didn't listen. It was just too easy to point out the hypocrisy of McCain/Palin "family values" when it came to subjects like pill-popping (Cindy was addicted to prescription painkillers) and teen pregnancy (Sarah’s teenage daughter had a baby). But when Cindy McCain boldly posed for the “NOH8” campaign and announced her support of overturning Proposition 8, I hoped for an opportunity to give the gal a pat on the back and say "job well done... I really like you, Cindy!" But the fact of the matter is Cindy McCain, and her camera-friendly daughter Meghan, are just a distraction from what's really happening on Capitol Hill.
John McCain is the one who gets to vote on our rights, regardless of petty things like his family's opinion (and for that matter, the opinion of 74% of the military). The McCain women are being trotted out by the Republican party to present a more moderate image, separate from the Tea Party movement. Repubicans know Sarah Palin and her angry extremist views are bad for the party; so in an attempt to separate from Palin, Republican officials created various media campaigns around Meghan and Cindy McCain to make the Republicans appear more mainstream.
These “mainstream McCain campaigns” paint a false picture of the Republicans’ true motives. In reality, gay marriage in California is being handled by the Supreme Court, and the McCains have very little influence on that, if any at all. So Cindy and Meghan’s support of the issue is merely a token gesture. The real issue involving the McCain family is only DADT, and only one member of their family has a stake in that: John. And on that issue, John is sticking to the traditional Republican party policy of discriminating against the gays. So much for progress.
Enter young Meghan McCain, on the ever-popular women's perspective show “The View.” Does she have a perspective on her mother's recent pro-gay advocacy?
Meghan McCain: "I almost started crying during the photo shoot,
I've never been more proud of my mom. She's um... very... she doesn't like to rock the boat and I'm very proud of her for taking a stand."
Ok, very good. But John McCain is not a Supreme Court judge in California, so let’s move on. Does she have an opinion on her father's support of keeping DADT in place?
Meghan McCain: "My personal take on it is that my father
thought it was Admiral Mullen's personal account [that gays should be allowed to join] and my father wants more of a military research kind of thing to present to the Senate, and obviously I disagree with my father but it's a complicated issue [...] but let's look at the current President who made a lot of promises to the gay community in the last election that he hasn't necessarily fulfilled... so let's not just look at my father because it's not just him in this case."
FAIL. Sorry, Meghan, but your father has a vote on this issue, and Barack Obama does not. DADT must be repealed in the Senate, because that is where it was birthed... and John McCain was certainly one of the Senators who made it happen in the first place.
If Meghan McCain cannot understand the basic legislative process that her father is a part of, then perhaps she should not offer an opinion.
So basically, what we have here is a family of Republicans who pretend to be strong advocates for only the issues which they have no control over, but hide behind the party on the issues where they get to vote.