The Arrested Development of Meghan McCain

Meghan McCain is going through a transformation most people experience at an age ten years younger. 

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Meghan McCain is going through a transformation most people experience at an age ten years younger. We noticed in April that McCain's tweets suggested she'd adopted some kind of high school reading list, with all her quoting of  On the Road, Hunter S. Thompson, and Bob Dylan. This month, at age 27, she's graduated to the quintessential freshman dorm room experience: the epiphany that marijuana isn't as evil as you learned in D.A.R.E. "Let me put it right out there," McCain writes at The Daily Beast Monday. "Yes, I have smoked marijuana a few times in the past... It is a plant that makes me mellow and giggly and, quite frankly, tired." Back in 2009, McCain was still spouting anti-marijuana propaganda. When asked at University of Massachusetts whether she supported legalization, she said no, because she felt it was a "gateway drug." Many studies have shown this to be false. But, like so many teens, she did not experience this epiphany until she took her first puff.

Why does McCain feel she's such a rebel when she's experiencing something literally millions of people have done before her? Barack Obama probably said these exact words in 1981 when he was a huge stoner:

Over the course of the last four years, in discussions with friends pro and con, I believe the legal ramifications of possessing marijuana are egregious. For one reason, I think it is a substance that does no more damage than alcohol does, and second, if we legalized marijuana in this country and taxed the hell out of it, our economic problems would at least be temporarily helped a great deal. In fact, you could even use the revenue stream to pay for universal health care if you wanted. 

Perhaps she has some thoughts on how huge her hands are, or how the wars would stop if the soldiers just like, refused to shoot. What is infuriating about McCain is that she sees herself as a foul-mouthed rebel, 2 Hot 4 the GOP, when she's saying the most banal things imaginable.   The problem is that McCain never writes about the thing that's probably the reason she's so out of touch: she's grown up with the limited world-view as the child of a wealthy U.S. Senator. That is what makes her interesting. Her life story means she's seen lots that few others have. But that's not the stuff she writes about. McCain wants to be relatable, to write about her fake hair and thoughts on breasts. So when the subject of her privilege comes up, it's by accident. Like the time she visited Occupy Wall Street (back when she found the smell of pot smoke more unpleasant). In an October dispatch from Zuccotti Park, McCain wrote:

I’m the daughter of one of the most long-standing senators in politics and I have been given every opportunity that anyone could possibly dream of. I was given those opportunities as a result of the hard work from both sides of my family. What struck me more than anything is that for the first time possibly in history, people aren’t being given the same opportunities that my parents and grandparents had.

Gawker's John Cook paraphrased that passage like this: "For the first time in history, people aren't being given the opportunity to be born the son of an admiral who commanded the Pacific fleet or the daughter of one of the richest men in Arizona." Perhaps in her next phase (grad school?) McCain will become self-aware and write an autobiographical novel to get her MFA.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.