Here's a little snippet of Ms. McCain's interview with Larry King last night:
McCain: I consider myself a progressive Republican. I am liberal on social issues. And I think that the party is at a place where social issues shouldn't be the issues that define the party. And I have taken heat, but in fairness to me, I am a different generation than the people that are giving me heat. I'm 24 years old. I'm not in my 40s, I'm not in my 50s and older.
King: Therefore, you must, based on what you said, disagree with your father? ... Do you discuss it?
McCain: We have a very big generation gap between me and my father. Yes, we discuss them. He's very open-minded. I was raised in an open-minded home. I was raised a Christian, but I was raised open-minded Christian -- one to accept people, love people, not pass judgment. ...
I believe in gay marriage. ... I personally am pro-life, but I'm not going to judge someone that's pro-choice. It is not my place to judge other people and what they do with their body.
I couldn't have said it any better myself. See, one thing about the difference between Democrats and Republicans is that no reasonable person could ever seriously accuse the Democrats of stifling dissent; the Party is infamous for being historically disjointed and disagreeable. One recalls Will Rogers' famous quote "I'm not a member of an organized political party; I'm a Democrat."
The Republicans, on the other hand, have - at least in modern times - become a party of Yes Men that stifles any kind of dissent amongst its minority ranks. The result is that the party's standard-bearers have to adhere by very strict, sometimes ridiculous guidelines and positions (all in the name of "pleasing the base"). Just a few weeks ago, Michael Steele learned this the hard way when he went against Rush Limbaugh; not only did Steele had to retract his (sane) comments, but all the other GOP big shots then totally backed off of anything that could be perceived as remotely critical of what Limbaugh thought.
Anyway, to hear Meghan McCain promote a debate within the GOP - and to hear her declare her support for gay marriage (!) - is a breath of beautifully fresh air. She is correct in her assessment that the Republicans are not going to get anywhere by not changing anything. She should also be commended for her position that, while she personally is pro-life, she's not going to tell other women what they can or cannot do with their bodies. I believe Meghan's position on abortion to be very near the median position in the country: a personal pro-lifer comfortable living in a pro-choice nation. In other words, "I certainly won't be getting an abortion, but there's no need to ban it from everyone."
As I've said before, the GOP would do itself a lot of good to get off its "moral" high horse, start seriously looking inward at themselves and eventually figure out a way to join the healthy debate of reasonable people. We're all waiting for them. They can start by listening to Meghan McCain.