Secrets of the Campaign Trail – “Dirty Sexy Politics” by Meghan McCain
Though I’m a liberal Democrat (surprise, right?) I wanted to read Meghan McCain’s “Dirty Sexy Politics.” Finally, thanks to my Kindle, the mission has been accomplished.
You know what? It’s actually quite an entertaining read.
I’m as surprised as you are, trust me.
McCain, a recent college graduate at the time, joined her father’s campaign trail. With her blog (McCainBlogette), she shed light on what it’s like behind the scenes during a campaign. Though the campaign managers would like everyone to think it’s all good, clean, polished perfection, it turns out that being on the road with a campaign is really no different than being on the road with a rock band. Late nights? Check. Hotel rooms? Check. Strangers being forced to live and work together and all the emotions that go along with it? Check.
Ignoring politics, “Dirty Sexy Politics” is an enlightening memoir of a young girl in over her head while taking part in a Presidential Campaign. Meghan will be the first to admit she was young and stupid during this entire time, and made mistakes. From being invited to the White House for lunch and leaving, not having eaten, with a doggie bag of enchiladas, to partying in Nashville with country singer John Rich, she doesn’t sugarcoat the ups and downs. There are members of the staff she likes, and members she doesn’t. (She makes no bones about the fact that she never liked her Dad’s campaign manager, Steve Schmidt.)
I found Meghan McCain most interesting and likable when she talks about issues that frequently don’t get attention – like the focus on women’s images during a campaign. She sympathizes with Hillary Clinton – knowing Hillary doesn’t care about fashion, yet having to endure image consultants and hours in hair and make-up while attempting to run a campaign against powerhouse Barack Obama. McCain herself gets a makeover, too. At some point, it’s decided her bleach-blonde hair, sparkly part-girl clothes, and tendency to drop f-bombs at inappropriate times are a detriment to the campaign, so she’s handed off to image consultants who basically tear her apart before leaving her with a massive bill.
Of course politics do rear their ugly head. McCain is a young conservative Christian, but she seems to understand how hopelessly out of date her party really is and considers herself a moderate voter. She admits that the youth vote gets ignored in favor of older voters and (a fact which even scares her) the evangelical vote. As a young woman with gay friends, this scares her as much as the rest of us. So much so, that she voted for John Kerry when he was running against George W. Bush. She has only nice things about the Obamas and their unstoppable campaign.
Wisely, she spends a great deal of time on Sarah Palin and her family – a topic people are still talking about. Meghan wasn’t aware that Palin was to be her Dad’s running mate until the last possible second, and never quite understands why Palin was selected. Her limited interactions with Palin are often awkward – like when Palin wants to speak during John McCain’s concession speech. Did Palin lose the election for John McCain? Maybe – or Maybe Not. But Sarah Palin certainly doesn’t have a big fan in Meghan McCain.
I may disagree with some of her politics, but I found her book a good read.