In Defense of Meghan McCain: An Open Letter to Laura Ingraham
“Okay, I was really hoping that I was going to get that role in the Real World, but then I realized that, well, they don't like plus-sized models. They only like the women who look a certain way. And on the 50th anniversary of Barbie, I really have something to say.” - Laura Ingraham on Meghan McCain
Laura Ingraham – your insidious attack on Meghan McCain exemplifies, with surprising potency, all that is currently awry within the Republican party. As a young conservative who is active in the movement, I find it increasingly difficult to respect those of you who confront differing opinions with negative language, devoid of any substantive content.
Rather than focusing on your take on the elements that comprise the heart of conservatism when responding to Meghan, you resorted to disrespectful and unfounded distractions (i.e. making fun of her weight, calling her a valley girl and insinuating she has no place within the party). Where are the words of encouragement, theories and other prescriptions for future GOP successes? Where is the logical presentation of ideas -- or, at the least, a sensical list that explains why, going moderate, is not going to work for the GOP?
As we have endured losses in both the 2006 midterm elections and the 2008 presidential election, one would think that a united determination to mend the party would be undertaken – especially by those of you who have the power to encourage a mass conservative populace.
With your millions of listeners, your star-power should be used for the good of the party. Instead, your attack on Meghan shows that you're willing to use your notoriety to intimidate those who hold differing viewpoints. While you have surely done much for the movement, this particular instance makes it difficult for me (and I'm sure many others) to see you in the same light.
You called Meghan a “useful idiot,” but it is you and the others who share in these tactics who are the “useful idiots.” It was your choice to abandon logic in pursuit of ultra-liberesque, fourth-grade mockery -- not Meghan's.
Yes, the media are predominantly liberal. And yes, they target conservatives. But in this case, criticism of your words is well-founded. Surely we on the right have much to complain about when it comes to coverage, especially during political campaign cycles, but we cannot use the "media victim" card every time we make a mistake or say something off-color. Since you made your comments, you have continuously blamed the media. But, you're the one who's responsible. As conservatives, if we are going to hold ourselves to high standards of character and moral fabric, we're going to be judged -- especially by the media -- that much harder.
Your words were flat-out mean and unnecessary. Liberals are giggling like schoolgirls, thinking, “Hey! Look at those Republicans. They lost the last two elections, their party is in disarray and the incessant infighting will enable us to Barack our way to the top again in 2010 and 2012!”
Wake up, Laura. Our nation and our party are at a great crossroads. The result of the latter will have a lasting impact on the fate of the former. As a conservative, I know the value of utilizing logic, statistics and when necessary – qualitative analysis – to verbalize and corroborate my theories and sociological viewpoints. I thought you recognized this value as well.
Since when do conservatives need to resort to such lowly tactics to make a point? We used to be the party of ideas. We never heard Reagan call his leftist critics “plus-sized” while he single-handedly toppled the Soviet Union. We certainly never heard Lincoln call Democratic slaveholders “valley girls,” (or whatever equivalent existed way back when) as he fought feverishly to restore the union.
Furthermore, as members of the ultra left have worked incessantly to push ideological diversity out of our schools and media, your comments aim to do the same, as you used body image and baseless insults to insinuate that someone whom you disagree with has no place in our party.
Laura, you don't have the right, nor the privilege to decide who may or may not be considered a Republican. Our party will not progress until the ideologues who clog the system revert back to the sense and sound knowledge they once used to instill the conservative cause.
Additionally, how you can claim to care so deeply about image issues, while inadvertently making fun of a woman's weight is practically unfathomable. I agree with Meghan: “There's no place for weight criticism of women in 2009.”
All brands of Republican deserve a voice in the ongoing discussion about renewing the conservative cause. If we, as conservatives, are going to call out liberal attempts to squelch free speech, it's important we do the same when we see conservatives waging baseless attacks on peers with whom they have ideological differences. If we want to fix the party, members must be held to higher standards of transparency and accountability.
If you want to intelligently refute Meghan's comments, go for it. After all, I don't agree with all of the points she's been making. That said, 2006 and 2008 showed us that we need a renewal. If we don't let everyone weigh in, we're going to lose out on a vast marketplace of ideas. Sure, we may not like every ideal we hear, but to act as though each perspective we disagree with lacks merit is to truly damage our party's growth and revitilization.