A few weeks ago, I gave a speech at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and one of the questions I was asked was: Aside from your father, who are your favorite senators and politicians?
Without hesitation, I said that I admire South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham and Connecticut’s Joe Lieberman. Now before my fellow Republicans start panicking at my fondness for two independent, moderate, and dare I say maverick senators, let me state that it’s no secret I have an aversion to partisan politics and extremism—on both sides of the aisle.
If I want to hear conservative dogma, I will turn on Fox. But where do people go to listen to the Joe Liebermans of the world? Where can we hear voices that dare to cross party lines, think outside the box and say what they truly believe?
Recently there has been talk of a “moderate bloodletting” within the GOP, but I think it is very clear that this attrition is happening to both parties. And the extreme, vitriolic reaction by so many Democrats to Senator Lieberman’s announcement last week that he would join a Republican filibuster if a public option was included in the final health-care bill is yet another example of how this is not just a Republican problem. Everyone from Paul Begala to Stephen Colbert immediately started dogpiling on the senator. God forbid any politician from either side dares reach across party lines and refuses to placate the partisan faithful.
The older generation needs to understand that my generation does not respond well to anger, hate, and personal attacks. We are a generation of communicators, and to us, actions speak louder than loud words. Perpetuating negativity will only result in the tuning out of another generation of voters, and we simply can’t afford that. I find it especially ironic that most of those who criticize Senator Lieberman more often than not have never run for elected office. But as the old saying goes, those that can’t do, criticize.
• Paul Begala: Traitor Joe LiebermanLet’s face it, it’s easy to preach to the converted and many people have mastered the art of the negative sound bite. If I want to hear the liberal bias, I will turn on MSNBC. If I want to hear conservative dogma, I will turn on Fox. But where do people go to listen to the Joe Liebermans of the world? Where can we hear voices that dare to cross party lines, think outside the box, and say what they truly believe? If this country wants to simply be a place of extreme partisan politics, I think we are well on our way. If people like Senator Lieberman are treated with such disrespect for daring to be true to their political beliefs, there will really be no hope for independent thinkers of my generation to be inspired to join the political process.
And for the record, Senator Lieberman is now an even greater source of inspiration and comfort to me in politics.
Meghan McCain is a columnist for The Daily Beast. Originally from Phoenix, she graduated from Columbia University in 2007. She is a New York Times bestselling children's author, previously wrote for Newsweek magazine, and created the Web site mccainblogette.com.