Thursday, May 20, 2021

The View's View

When Bill Maher's periodic segment "I don't know it for a fact, I just know it's true" runs, it usually includes items which are ridiculous and those he does know are true. The following is something in between.

Meghan McCain was trending early Thursday on Twitter, which only means that this is a day that ends in the letter "y." The vitriol directed toward her on such occasions is something to behold.

Today it included

-Meghan is so trashy and disrespectful. No home training;

- I challenge @MeghanMcCain- for an entire episode of @TheView - to refrain from using any of the following words: “I”, “me”, “myself”, “mine”… you get the gist. It’s enough already;

-What the hell just happened? Joy simply asked the toddler a question. She went nuts. Chile this girl is a mess!! EVERY FREAKING DAY.

And the most pertinent insult: "Meghan McCain is the epitome of a Karen."

However, in an unintended way, the tweet which gets to the point:

Of course there are. And when Meghan McCain was hired for "The View," she was what was, on the likes of Twitter, Hollywood, and Fifth Avenue, almost the epitome of a "decent" Republican pundit.

McCain began on "The View" in October, 2017. This was only two years after the USA Supreme Court, in its most overhyped ruling of modern times, had struck down all prohibition of same-sex marriage. Dubbed "marriage equality" by liberals and "gay marriage" by conservatives and a few centrists, it still was a controversial issue. For the right, abortion, "religious liberty," and same-sex marriage were the three spokes of the culture war. The producers, the cast, and other interested parties very likely knew that two years earlier.

“Republicans have to move on from this, or become relics,” said McCain, the TV personality and writer who is also the daughter of Arizona senator John McCain, the 2008 Republican nominee for president.

“The GOP’s nominee in 2016 has to support this ruling,” she continued. “I think any anti-equality rhetoric will be lethal. We live in a world now where the reaction to Caitlyn Jenner is overwhelmingly positive and loving and accepting.”

She also got in a dig at Huckabee: “I’ve said this before, but Huckabee is one of the great imbeciles of American politics.”

The show must have at least one conservative co-host, lest the others spend the hour straining to find something to argue about. The daughter of  Senator John McCain, who only three months earlier had cast the deciding vote against ending Obamacare, would be a strong candidate. However, a conservative who supports same-sex marriage would be even better, gold to the executives in the corporate suites. Calling Mike Huckabee, once the high-profile Christian conservative candidate for the GOP presidential nomination, an "imbecile," was mere gravy.

Now, things have changed.  It is, significantly, almost five years out from Obergefell v. Hodges, the nature of marriage no longer is a major political issue and the cultural right largely obsesses on abortion and, to a lesser extent, the right to discriminate if religious belief is the rationale.

In the middle of the last decade, an individual's stance on "marriage equality" was the litmus test for Democratic politicians and the issue which for much of the left distinguished the acceptable from the irredeemable.

Now it is "Karen."  Race- or, more generally, ethnicity- has become the defining issue of American politics. The seeds had been laid decades before, but when candidate Donald Trump came down the escalator in New York City, demonized immigrants from Mexico. and won the GOP presidential nomination with a racial appeal, race had been elevated to the most salient issue in American politics. The murder of George Floyd, the protests which followed it, and the backlash among overwhelmingly Republican voters have only reinforced this status.

I don't know for a fact that Meghan McCain was selected for "The View: because she was (probably still is) a gay-friendly conservative Republican. However, it was no coincidence. When McCain quits (or is fired from) the show, she will be replaced with a conservative culled from the ranks of Never-Trump Republicans, individuals formerly part of the party's establishment. She may be highly partisan and will have stellar conservative credentials but will take a reasonably progressive position on race. Even if, aside from that enlightened perspective, she is an imbecile.


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