Note: What follows is a post I originally did last year for The New Ledger on Meghan McCain's book, Dirty, Sexy Politics. This post became the most trafficked post in the history of that site, amassing well over 60,000 hits (which is probably something like four times the number of people who actually purchased McCain's book). Sadly, the text portion of The New Ledger is shutting down as the site is essentially becoming a vehicle for the outstanding podcast Coffee & Markets. Because this post continues to draw a few hundred hits a week, the proprietors of The New Ledger encouraged me to repost it here, in my RedState diary, so that anyone who wished to read it could still do so. And so, with apologies to the dated nature of the material, here it is. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.
On June 20, 2002, the United States Supreme Court decreed, in the case of Atkins v. Virginia, that the mildly mentally retarded were categorically exempt from capital punishment, reasoning that fully functional adults of diminished mental capacity were as a matter of law not as culpable for their acts. Writing eloquently in dissent, Justice Scalia drew a sharp distinction between the severely mentally retarded (who are truly not responsible for their actions), and the merely stupid (the category into which Mr. Atkins undoubtedly fell). Scalia argued forcefully that, with respect to the merely stupid, at least sometimes they deserve to be punished for their antisocial and destructive behavior.
This article, of course, is not about capital punishment. It is a book review of Dirty, Sexy Politics by Meghan McCain. However, the above discussion is relevant because I initially had reservations about writing this book review at all. After all, it is clear to everyone who has read Meghan McCain’s twitter feed, her “articles” on The Daily Beast, or her ill-fated campaign blog that Meghan is not a paragon of clear reasoning, exemplar of familiarity with facts, nor a model of English language expertise. And after subjecting myself to 194 continuous pages of her “writing,” it became clear that none of the above-described works truly plumbed the depths of mental vacuity in which Ms. McCain aimlessly and cluelessly drifts.
This presented a dilemma.
It is impossible to read Dirty, Sexy Politics and come away with the impression that you have read anything other than the completely unedited ramblings of an idiot. This being a professional website for which I have a great deal of respect, I searched for a more eloquent or gentle way to accurately phrase the previous sentence - but could not find one.
It is important to know that I was repeatedly tempted just to put the book down, eat the relatively small price I paid to download it to my Kindle, and silently curse Hyperion for publishing this book. After all, they are the ones taking advantage of this particular idiot’s fifteen minutes of fame by exposing her idiocy for the entire world to see. By all appearances, they didn’t even have the decency to hire someone to edit the book – more on that later.
In the final analysis, however, I determined that most of Meghan’s flaws - such as her unbearable narcissism, delusions of persecution, anti-religious bigotry, and mendacity - couldn’t be chalked up to her manifestly below-average intelligence. These are blameworthy traits born of a malfunctioning moral compass, and they are laid bare in spades on every page of Dirty, Sexy Politics. Furthermore, it is important to address them because Meghan McCain’s book is an active attempt to split the Republican Party in two and thereby destroy its ability to win elections. And even though she is an idiot, she is a useful idiot in the hands of the media and other assorted Democrats, who also want to achieve this goal.
Therefore, let us thoroughly evaluate this book on the merits, and see whether anything worthwhile is contained therein.
The most obvious problem with Dirty, Sexy Politics is that grammatically, the book appears to be the work of a high school sophomore. To be more accurate, it appears to be the first draft of an essay written for a high school English class; the one turned in before the teacher makes all the pretty red marks in the margin that helpfully keep students from turning in final papers riddled with comma abuse, sentence fragments, and incorrect punctuation. Each subsequent page of this book contains one grisly crime against the English language after another.
I appreciate deviating from formal style, even in formal writing, as a means of emphasis and readability. You will see that I even do some of that here, so this is not a critique of that practice. However, as illustrated below, the grammatical problems in Dirty, Sexy Politics do nothing but make Ms. McCain’s narrative impossible to read.
When I finished reading Dirty, Sexy Politics, I flipped to the acknowledgements section to find the name of the person who edited this travesty, so as to warn incompetent authors of the future away from utilizing this person’s services, but no such person was identified therein. Either this book had no editor, or the editor assigned to the original manuscript threw up his or her hands three pages in and decided to let the original stand as some sort of bizarre performance art, like Joaquin Phoenix’s appearance on Late Night with David Letterman. At this point, either explanation seems equally likely to me. What is abundantly clear, however, is that absolutely no one of even marginal competence checked this book for errors, factual or grammatical. That a graduate of Columbia University, as Ms. McCain purports to be, produced writing this shoddy is bad; that a publishing company let this authorial abortion go to print is an insult to the collective self-worth of our thinking nation.
For instance, Ms. McCain and her editors were apparently unaware of the existence of any mid-sentence punctuation mark other than the comma. One would think hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on Ms. McCain’s education (Columbia University FTW!) would have somehow resulted in a basic understanding of the colon and semicolon, but alas – no such luck.
Some examples are in order. In one passage, Meghan explains the travails of life in the following ragtag collection of sentence fragments, sewn haphazardly together with enough commas for an entire Tolstoy novel:
Our room was crowded with our stuff - a total mess, totally trashed with blog equipment, photo stuff, cameras, and all our makeup, clothes, our huge suitcases. We were like animals, like bears who have to litter and mess up their cave to feel it is theirs.
Or consider the following excerpt on her fondness for the state of New Hampshire, which she certainly composed on post-it notes while giggling madly with her BFFs as they called one another "naughty" about all the bon-bons and tequila:
And later, just before the New Hampshire primary in January, it was bitter-ass freezing, so cold that my body was screaming, but, at the same time, it was so magical, so clean, an amazing winter wonderland.
Please don’t think that I have perhaps copied these passages wrong in an attempt to make Meghan look bad; I assure you, I have not. Nor are these anti-comma 8th Amendment violations merely isolated incidents. The entire book is riddled with inappropriate comma use: commas where there should be colons, commas where there should be semicolons, commas where there should be periods, and commas where there should be no punctuation at all. And lest you think me an obsessed fetishist with a commaplex, the rampant abuse of commas is not NEARLY the only, or even most important, problem with Meghan McCain's "writing." Below are a few snippets of the grammatical offal offered in Dirty, Sexy Politics:
This, combined with the fact that I'm a nonstop extrovert, a people person who loves mingling and gabbing and getting out in the world, a blog that chronicled my days on the campaign - and showed the silliness and madness, as well as the seriousness - seemed like a perfect idea.
** snip **
(Discussing the 2000 South Carolina primary) It was sick, disgusting - and everything it will go down in history for being. And it was so dirty and secret that it became impossible to trace who was responsible, directly or indirectly, except to know the man who won that primary: George W. Bush.
** snip **
[Giuliani’s] tactic was to completely bypass Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina and to concentrate on one thing: winning Florida. Because Florida has more electoral college votes than the first three states combined.
** snip **
I'm sorry, Iowa, but I get wistful when I think of New Hampshire, and teary-eyed, and maudlin.
** snip **
It was going to be a tough race. Not much disagreement about that.
As if this were not enough, Meghan frequently uses words and terms incorrectly, and fails to make even the barest effort at connecting thoughts together. For instance, after discussing the all-important red pill/blue pill dichotomy as set forth in the thought provoking treatise The Matrix (starring Keanu Reeves!), Meghan offers the following:
Here's my dream: The political party that identifies with the color red should start taking pills of the same color.
Meghan, that’s not a dream, that’s advice. More:
These days, the name Ronald Reagan - as well as his legacy - has become oversaturated, just white noise.
Insofar as I can even tell what that sentence means, I am pretty sure it indicates that Meghan McCain does not know what white noise is, or that it has nothing to do with oversaturation. Finally, Meghan has a troubling habit of putting sentences and thoughts together as though they flow in some sort of linear train of thought, when in fact they have nothing to do with one another. For example:
Evangelicals are a well-organized group, and I have to admire their passion and resilience. But this country was founded on religious freedom, not religious constraints.
If you put aside for a second the shockingly fictional (and nonsensical) nature of the second sentence (an exercise that is frequently necessary when wading through this allegedly non-fiction book), you would still be left wondering if perhaps Meghan accidentally cut a sentence from another part of the book and mistakenly pasted it here, where it quite obviously does not belong. Again, our (possibly fictional) editor should have caught this mistake, but to be fair, this sort of thing happens so frequently in the book that it would be impossible to sort out the pieces, if we grant the premise that anyone even tried.
Were this a book from any other author, I might at this point be lamenting the fact that the author had an important message that would sadly be lost due to her horrible communication skills. Not so with Meghan McCain. Meghan’s primary goal in writing Dirty, Sexy Politics appears to have been to show off her encyclopedic knowledge of who was wearing what clothes on what occasion. From all appearances, it is physically impossible for Meghan McCain to describe a given scene or occurrence without describing in detail what everyone in the room was wearing (and how their hair was done), most especially including herself. I stopped counting the number of times she informed me that she was wearing UGG boots on a given occasion at five. Dirty, Sexy Politics is 194 pages long; if you removed the descriptions of outfits and hairstyles so-and-so wore when such-and-such was going on, I doubt it would have scraped 120 pages. I wish I could say the preceding sentence was gross hyperbole, but if you have made it this far in this review, you deserve the truth: it isn’t.
When not describing the outfits, hairstyles, and makeup of people you don’t care about (most notably the author herself), Meghan’s narrative usually actually descends from the merely tedious to the shockingly banal. This is a fairly typical example of the sort of hard-hitting observation on life peppered throughout Dirty, Sexy Politics:
From the beginning, Shannon noticed that there were no other Asians in New Hampshire. It is kind of a homogeneous state. We always laughed about this together, but, at the same time, I did wonder if it bothered Shannon more than she said.
One day we were sitting in our hotel room, and feeling tired, and kind of worn down by the slog of the blog, by the meals that were starting to be predictable and not that healthy, by our lack of sleep – and maybe the bitter cold outside. Shannon made another joke about being the only Asian in New Hampshire, and this time, I kind of felt it, and worried.
Just then, as we were looking out the big window of our room – literally five minutes after Shannon admitted that she felt out of place – an Asian family appeared and ran out into the snow and started making a snowman.
We jumped up and down, screaming and laughing. That’s what I mean when I tell people that New Hampshire is a magic place. As if the Granite State hears your wishes and makes them come true.
You might be tempted to think I’m engaging in some clever editing here and omitting some wise and pithy observation about providence or human nature or Asians generally that followed this story that absolutely no one could possibly care about. I assure you that I am not. The next sentence goes on to talk about the political process and the magical Asians are never mentioned again.
If you’re insulted right now that I’ve wasted your time and precious blog space block quoting that entire excerpt, imagine how I feel: I read the entire book.
Sadly, the rare portions of Dirty, Sexy Politics that actually touch on politics are even worse. Politics is a business that many people take seriously. I get the vague impression (through the haze of her horrible writing) that Meghan McCain would like for Dirty, Sexy Politics to be taken seriously as a political book. McCain approaches this serious topic as a person who has accomplished absolutely nothing of note in her life. I don’t say this in order to be mean or petty; it’s just a verifiable fact. She graduated from college and went straight into campaign blogging (a job that I and countless other people of little or no repute have occupied), a job from which she was fired despite the fact that it was her own dad’s campaign. She has never written or done anything of note, been elected to political office herself, or worked on the campaign of anyone who has ever won an election.
Meghan has some hazy grasp of this fact, admitting candidly that during her time on the campaign she was a painfully young and inexperienced twenty-three and twenty-four year old who made many mistakes. You would think that awareness of this fact would lead her to approach this subject with some humility, and to insulate herself from criticism by painstakingly researching her book and citing heavily to recognized authority. You would be wrong. Instead, Meghan approached the work of Dirty, Sexy Politics as though, now that she is a wizened and accomplished twenty-five year old, she is prepared and qualified to sally forth and impart her received wisdom upon the teeming masses.
Perhaps the most important sentence in this entire wretched book was helpfully contained in the first chapter:
I checked dates and facts, and corroborated my accounts with friends and family, but my stories are decidedly impressionistic rather than reportorial.
It’s a good start at honesty, but a more candid admission would have gone something like, “Where I needed a fact, I just made one up.” I paid close attention while reading and can confidently say that Dirty, Sexy Politics contains not one citation or reference to any factual source. I wasn’t expecting an APA-approved bibliography or anything; I would have been satisfied with even one simple “According to The New York Times...” Or something. But no. For 194 uninterrupted pages, Meghan McCain’s word is the only authority needed.
The results of this approach are predictably disastrous. She claims, for instance, that one third of the electorate are “young moderates.” Actual exit polling shows that all voters age 18-29 (of all political stripes) accounted for just 18% of the electorate in 2008. Is Meghan perhaps defining “young” as “under 50”? Is she getting her information from some source other than exit polling? Who knows. The most likely source for this claim, of course, is “thin air,” but it would be nice if at least some of her assertions were provable or disprovable.
In other cases, Meghan’s made up facts are demonstrably and embarrassingly false. For instance, in one place, Meghan claims to be proud of her father because he got almost 48 million votes. About 20 seconds on Google will tell you that John McCain got over 59 million votes. If I could do this while fact-checking Meghan McCain’s book, why couldn’t she do this while writing it?
Meghan’s real talent, however, is not in manufacturing facts, but rather in manufacturing enemies. Sizeable portions of Dirty, Sexy Politics are dedicated to defeating a shadowy conspiracy of Republicans who are attempting to railroad her out of the party. Lurking around every corner in this book is a pasty old Republican wanting to burn her voter registration card because she has a tattoo, because her hair is bleached, because she supports gay marriage, or because of a whole host of other imagined grievances that unnamed Republicans allegedly have with her. Who are these people? Can you name one, Meghan? Tell us about one single Republican who has suggested that your tattoo makes you unfit to vote Republican; I have three myself and I want to be on the lookout. What specifically have they said? Dirty, Sexy Politics leaves us to wonder. These nefarious people are out there, take her word for it; and if you don’t, you’re probably one of them. The implication of the political thesis of this book is clear: conservatives can’t be trusted to vote for or support moderates.
I should say a word here about my own personal politics. While I am a conservative, I respect and understand the concept of coalition politics. In other words, I believe in the concept of hashing things out in the primaries between conservatives and moderates, and (with a few exceptions) voting for the lesser of two evils in the general. Sometimes you win the primaries, sometimes you lose, and there is almost never a benefit to taking your ball and going home. This year, conservatives get Mike Lee, Marco Rubio, and Joe Miller. Moderates get Carly Fiorina, Mark Kirk, and (probably) Mike Castle. I don’t know a lot of conservatives out there who are going to donate money to and/or vote for Barbara Boxer, Alexi Giannoulias or Chris Coons out of spite. The worst thing they will do is just pretend that the election doesn’t exist.
By far the biggest problem the Republican coalition has right now is moderates who refuse to accept defeat at the hands of conservatives. Think Dede Scozzafava endorsing the Democrat in NY-23. Think Charlie Crist and Arlen Specter bailing the party and running against the Republican when it became clear that they would lose their primaries. Think Lincoln Chafee currently running as an independent for Governor of Rhode Island despite the NRSC spending millions to help him defeat a conservative in the primary. I defy Meghan McCain to identify a conservative candidate who acted or behaved in this way towards the party after a primary loss.
I know many decent moderates who I get along with well who understand this principle. But in my admittedly anecdotal experience, moderates are far more likely to fail to understand that they need conservatives than conservatives are to fail to realize that they need moderates. Twice in this book – once at the beginning and once at the end – McCain makes the claim that Reagan was “elected by moderates and Democrats, not the Far Right/Religious Right.” This sentence is correct if you replace the word “not” with the word “and”; as written, it is completely fictional and false. Only a narcissistic fool with no grasp of history or politics would suggest that the Republican party could win nationally (or in almost any state) if they jettisoned Christian conservatives from the coalition, or summarily ignored their concerns.
Thankfully, Meghan McCain is here to demonstrate to us exactly how such a narcissistic (and hypocritical) fool thinks. Again and again she lambasts nameless (and surely imaginary) conservatives who allegedly want to run people out of the party because they won’t toe the line on one issue or another. Then, showing an almost humorous lack of self-awareness, McCain explains that she could never vote for Mike Huckabee:
I have a lot of complaints about Mike Huckabee – he could be an entire chapter – but I’ll give you the two main reasons why he is a Republican I could never vote for. Number one, he thinks being gay is immoral and perverted and equivalent to bestiality. Number two, he came up with a plan in 1992 to have all people who were HIV-positive sent to one area of the country by themselves, isolated from the general population like lepers in medieval times.
Stop right there. Due to Meghan’s age, she can perhaps be excused for not having any understanding of the state of knowledge on AIDS among the general population in 1992 as compared to today. I’m furthermore willing to overlook that she has apparently never checked to see if Mike Huckabee still today believes this would be a good plan, or would try to implement it if he were President. What I cannot overlook is that her entire book lambasts people for wanting to exclude her from the GOP for her views on homosexuality (she doesn’t really identify any other issue that the shadowy conspiracy wants to disown her over, unless bleached hair became an issue and I missed that particular meeting of the shadowy conspiracy). In her mind, this kind of exclusion is wrong, country-clubbish, and exclusive; people should be more accepting of others with different viewpoints. In the middle of all this, without any apparent irony, she explains why she has excluded Mike Huckabee from consideration for her vote because of his since repudiated views on the exact same issue.
Along these lines, in a rare moment of insight, Meghan described her reaction to the press’s treatment of her dad’s campaign:
Sometimes it ruined my Meggie Mac concentration if I started to think about how shut down they were, and how we couldn’t reach them, how so many of them had already made up their minds that all Republicans are uncool or stupid or elitist or racist or whatever. We were like an ugly traveling circus to them, and a circus they’d seen too much of. They thought we were closed-minded.
They seemed the most close-minded of all.
Physician, heal thyself.
McCain’s political prescriptions are the sections of the book that are perhaps the most vacuous and devoid of factual support in the entire book; and in the context of Dirty, Sexy Politics, that is an impressive feat indeed.
I have to wonder, if [Reagan] and Goldwater were alive today and could see where their party has gone in the last decade, what they would think. Somehow the walls closed in. The conservative movement seems hell-bent on constricting our freedoms rather than expanding them. The base has moved to the Far Right and, sadly, it seems to be dying there.
Who’s closed in the walls? What walls? What freedoms is the conservative movement hell-bent on constricting? Can you provide a single example of a person who has advocated restricting such a freedom? Can you compare the statements of such a person to the statements of Reagan and/or Goldwater to see if they advocated constricting that freedom or not? What evidence do you have that the “base” is more conservative now than it was in 1980? What evidence do you have that it is dying?
These questions, like the question “Who the hell paid a cash advance for this tripe after reading Meghan McCain’s blog?” are sadly left unanswered. McCain continues on:
Rather than the party of openness and individual freedom, it is now the party of limited message and less freedom. Along with an ideological narrowness, an important PR battle is being lost. Rather than leading us into the exhilarating fresh air of liberty, a chorus of voices on the radical right is taking us to a place of intolerance and anger. We hear them on the radio and TV. They love to spread fear because it keeps the money rolling in. You know who I’m talking about. The more afraid we are, the richer they get.
Humor us, Meghan. We paid money for your book; can you go ahead and tell us who these people are? Can you give us some examples of the kind of rhetoric that you claim is ubiquitous in Far Right Land? Surely if there is such a “chorus of voices” that are being heard everywhere “on the radio and TV,” could you not at least provide some support for your assertions? And not to beat a dead horse, but could you write sentences that make sense?
Somehow, being a Republican isn’t a political decision anymore. It is a lifestyle choice. You have to look one way, think one way, and act one way. Wear the uniform! Embrace groupthink! And for goodness’ sake, no strangers allowed! Somehow it is wrong to consider modern life and the complications and innovations and changes the last thirty years have brought.
Who the hell is saying these things, Meghan? Perhaps no baseless accusation is repeated more frequently in Dirty, Sexy Politics than the allegation that conservatives advocate and demand “groupthink”; never once is this allegation supported by even the faintest shred of evidence.
Such substantial portions of Dirty, Sexy Politics are devoted to these and other unfounded delusions of persecution that a qualified practitioner could probably render a DSM-IV diagnosis on the basis of reading the book alone. However, when McCain turns from bemoaning the conspiracy to drum her out of the party to actual electoral prognostication, the wheels really come off the factual bus.
For instance, McCain devotes a lengthy passage to explaining how Mike Huckabee’s victory in the Iowa Caucuses ipso facto proves that the nominating process is broken. McCain claims that the first two contests which set the tone for the nomination are Iowa and South Carolina, which are “specifically conservative” (as opposed to generally conservative, which would presumably be less scary and ominous). Therefore, her “reasoning” goes, the process tends to lead to someone unelectable like Mike Huckabee getting the nomination.
Let’s unpack this a little bit. First, Iowa is a swing state. It went for Gore in 2000, Bush in 2004, and Obama in 2008. It is one of the few states in the entire country that swung to Bush in 2004, and then to Obama in 2008 (unless I am misreading my map, New Mexico appears to be the only other). Republican voters in Iowa have got some idiosyncratic tendencies (they tend to be very conservative on immigration and are big on ethanol pork), but it’s flatly erroneous to call Iowa as a state “specifically conservative,” insofar as we can safely assume that “specifically conservative” means “very conservative.”
Second, this narrative ignores the existence of the New Hampshire primaries entirely; an omission that is especially shocking given that McCain devotes an entire chapter of the book to how much she loves New Hampshire, and recounting both of her father’s wins in the New Hampshire primaries.
Third, and most importantly, the end result of Mike Huckabee winning the Iowa caucuses was… the eventual nomination of John McCain, who was probably the most moderate candidate in the field. Free advice to Meghan McCain: if you’re going to stake an argument for sweeping change on a single event in history, it’s helpful to pick an event that didn’t culminate in the exact opposite of the calamity your proposed change seeks to avoid. Just a thought.
McCain’s colossal unawareness of the world around her is probably best explained by her colossal unawareness of herself. Most of the first chapter of the book is devoted to a remarkably candid description of the epic temper tantrum Meghan McCain threw when the campaign refused to tell her who McCain’s running mate was. As you may recall, McCain’s selection of Palin was perhaps the most impressively-kept political secret of the past decade, and it was without a doubt the shrewdest move made by the desperate campaign. The surprise completely sucked the wind out of Obama’s post-convention bounce and media coverage, and catapulted McCain into the only lead he would enjoy during the course of the campaign.
In spite of her cavalcade of media blunders (some of the worst of which are set forth in Dirty, Sexy Politics), Meghan was dumbfounded that the campaign wouldn’t tell her who the selection was, as if she couldn’t be trusted with the media! Her eminently reasonable response was to throw a complete screaming, crying hissy fit in public view of everyone in the campaign; yelling at her mother, flagging down random campaign workers in the hall and screaming at them to tell her, and bursting into tears on the back of the Straight Talk Express over having been “wrongfully” kept in the dark.
Nor was this nearly the only example of spoiled-brattishness set forth in Dirty, Sexy Politics. In her chapter on the Republican National Convention, McCain repeatedly relayed her frustration at being denied access to various events. Because John McCain was the presumptive nominee for President, his security at the convention was of course handled by the Secret Service, who no doubt worked in rotating shifts, and dealt with hundreds (or more likely thousands) of people seeking access to various events. In order to facilitate John McCain’s family’s blanket access to these events, the Secret Service distributed pins to the McCain family so that they could be waved through security without the hassle of repeatedly checking in and making sure they were on “the list.”
This wasn’t good enough for Meghan McCain, who complained that the pins made holes in her clothes and that she was “feeling rebellious” about wearing the pins. Therefore, she just decided not to wear them, and then got pissed off when she had to request Secret Service to check on her clearance for everything. Note the emphasis placed here on her sense of entitlement towards the Secret Service people who were trying to do the job of protecting her father’s life:
Forget the pin.
Remember my face.
Can you do that?
What a ray of sunshine! You would hope, after reading such bad behavior described so candidly, that a healthy mea culpa would be somewhere around the corner; something like, “Looking back, I realize everyone was totally justified in hating me, because I often acted like a real spoiled brat.” Maybe it would have more grammatical/punctuation errors, but convey the same sentiment. Not so. Incredibly, Meghan set these out in the full expectation that her reading audience would feel sorry for her. In the following amazing passage, she actually expresses amazement that anyone would think she had a sense of entitlement:
I was the daughter of the candidate, too, and this added to the sense of entitlement that people seemed to suspect I was carrying around. But this is not how I have ever thought of myself. My brothers and sister and I were all raised to be real, and pull our own freight, and not walk around expecting the world to wait on us. My two brothers are both in the military. I don’t think it gets more un-entitled than that.
Sorry, Meghan, your brothers’ admirable military service is not even probative of your sense of entitlement, much less dispositive. Also, most people with gigantic senses of entitlement don’t think of themselves as having a sense of entitlement. Your entire book is outstanding evidence of that point.
The sad truth is that Meghan McCain is never going to write a book that imparts a basic level of understanding about any topic until she reaches a basic level of understanding about herself.
I suppose that it is incumbent on me as a book reviewer to mention one positive thing about the book that I liked. The section where McCain describes the days after her father’s crushing defeat on election day were just as poorly written and rambling as the rest of the book, but they were definitely touching and successfully painted her father in a very sympathetic light. As she described the way that Senator McCain achieved catharsis by grilling ribs day after day and healing his wounds surrounded by his family, you get the sense that whatever their flaws, the McCain family does love one another and stick together. So that is something.
On the whole, I am simply not a talented enough writer to express how truly horrible this book was. The last line of the book implores readers not to let Meghan “pick up this torch alone.” I can honestly say that I was encouraged throughout to pick up a torch in order to burn my copy of Dirty, Sexy Politics, even though I was reading it on a Kindle. There is no reason that anyone who is not getting paid to review this book should ever, ever spend money on it. If you simply must have large doses of poorly-written fictional tripe written by a narcissistic person who hates conservatives and everything they stand for, read Mike Lupica instead. At least he’s smart enough to know which side he’s on.