Meghan McCain: Who Are You Calling a ‘Blue Blood’?

Meghan McCain doesn't know what a "blue blood" is but doesn't want to be called one.

Meghan McCain didn’t know what a “blue blood” was when Sarah Palin used it to dismiss a criticism from former First Lady Barbara Bush, but she was pretty sure it wasn’t a good thing.

I actually had to Google what the meaning of “blue bloods” was, although I could surmise that it was some kind of knock against education and coming from a family of some success. Yes, in essence that is what this statement meant. Families that work hard and achieve a long line of successful people are “blue bloods” and thus, she implied the opinions of said people are jaded and elitist, even if that family lineage has a long history of public service and leadership within Republican Party. Of course, Sarah Palin is also living the American dream, albeit a different one without the help of any kind of family lineage. She has a successful career that probably most Americans would want by earning millions for her reality show, appearances on Fox, and getting paid to go places and speak her mind. Both of these narratives exemplify why this country is still as Ronald Reagan famously put it “a shining city upon a hill.” America is a place where people can create their own success so their children can have more opportunities than they did. Neither the Bush family’s success nor Sarah Palin’s are relevant to the political conversation regarding who is best suited to be the next GOP leader.

I’m not sure what version of Google Ms. McCain used but mine comes up with a definition more like “an aristocrat, noble, or member of a socially prominent family.”

Now, I hate to break it to you, Meghan, but you most certainly qualify, having grown up in the lap of luxury thanks the your mom’s inheriting part of the Miller Beer fortune and your pop being a United States Senator.  Also, that superfluous “h” in your name.

Whatever criticisms one might level at Sarah Palin — and I might level plenty — among them is not that she got to where she is through family connections and a life of privilege.   Her dad was a high school science teacher and track coach and her mom a school secretary and she grew up in places like Sandpoint, Idaho and Wasilla, Alaska.  She won a scholarship through the Miss Alaska pageant, where she finished third and garnered Miss Congeniality honors, and managed to get a communications degree from the University of Idaho, with several stops at less prestigious schools along the way.  She worked her way up from the Wasilla City Council to mayor to governor. Meghan’s dad picked her as his running mate out of sheer desperation, needing someone with charisma, appeal to the conservative base, and women.  The campaign turned out to be something of a disaster but it launched Palin into national prominence and not inconsiderable financial success.

Meghan McCain’s path to success was much shorter:  Born rich. Get degree (but apparently not an education) from great university. Capitalize on dad’s name and good looks to launch media career.   Booyah!

One of those stories plausibly illustrates that America is a land of opportunity.  It’s not Megan’s.    (Also, “shining city upon a hill” neither means what she thinks it does nor originated with Reagan.  What are they teaching at Columbia these days?)

Ace,  Stacy McCain, and Monique Stuart pile on.

Despite her unintentionally demonstrating that Sarah Palin is smarter than she is, Meghan McCain’s actual point in all this is a good one:  The fact that Barbara Bush grew up in and then married into prominent families does not disqualify her from the public discourse.  She’s a great lady and eminently qualified to opine on the credentials that qualify one for the presidency.

For that matter, I don’t begrudge Meghan McCain’s taking advantage of the opportunities that fell into her lap.  Okay, so maybe I resent that a young snot born shortly after I graduated high school is a more prominent political commentator than I am simply because she has a famous dad, is good looking, and is willing to say outrageous things about her dad’s party.   And, sure, I find it mildly grating that she’s got a national column despite not being able to write coherent paragraphs or knowing the definition of common words.   But, hey, she’s presumably generating the pageviews and TV ratings to justify all that.

But, damn, she could use an editor.

FILED UNDER: Media, The Presidency, US Politics, , , , , , , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Here’s a handy rule — if you have to look up what “blue blood”means you’re probably not one, and you definitely shouldn’t be writing opinion columns

  2. I like Doug’s definition, because that eliminated 99% of the left and right pundits who are poisoning our political culture!

  3. Maggie Mama says:

    Mehgan McCain is NOT hot.  
    She’s just a HOT-HEADED, LOUD-MOUTHED attention seeker who feeds quotable lines to Liberals that denegrate members of the Republican Party.  Just what the MSM loves.  Her father did that for years but he has gotten very quiet since he ran for President and lost.
    Meghan stepped right into it HIS FORMER ROLE of bashing the GOP. 

  4. Patrick T. McGuire says:

    Meghan who?

  5. Dean says:

    I would imagine that Columbia University cringes in embarrassment everytime Meghan McCain opens her mouth or puts fingers to keyboard.

  6. Herb says:

    ” But, damn, she could use an editor.”
    Ha!  Well, at least she’s not on Dancing With the Stars.

  7. john personna says:

    Think of all the British fiction with dim but well intentioned aristocracy.  If Meghan is our version of that, it’s not so bad.

  8. at least she’s not on Dancing With the Stars.


  9. G.A.Phillips says:

    lol had to look up blue blood!!!!! You don’t ever have to have gone to school to have to know what that means…………
    Thank you MTV and Comedy Central for your fine educational  and news programming.
    Smart blond lol……………..

  10. ponce says:

    “Okay, so maybe I resent that a young snot born shortly after I graduated high school is a more prominent political commentator than I am simply because she has a famous dad, is good looking, and is willing to say outrageous things about her dad’s party.  ”
    Getting a position you didn’t earn is the definition of an aristocracy.
    Meghan is just reminding us she’s an aristocrat by pretending not to know what “blue blood” means.

  11. Rick Almeida says:

    I’m just glad you posted that picture.

  12. Wayne says:

    Of course Blue Bloods have a right to express themselves. However someone’s background gives credence to what they say. It doesn’t make them right or wrong it just gives them credence.
    Blood Bloods with their privilege upbringing often never experience many of the harsh realities of life that a “commoner” would. They tend to lack some of the common (commoner) sense.   
    Meghan can be a snob and arrogant if she wants.  However the “let them eat cake” attitude doesn’t go over well with most commoners.

  13. Terrye says:

    I don’t care at all what this girl says, but I hate the whole blue blood thing..I think it is a cynical political ploy, class warfare plain and simple.
    I know that people want to talk about aristocrats vs real Americans, but weren’t George Washington and Thomas Jefferson aristocrats? John Adams went to Harvard, didn’t he?
    I remember when Bush gave Harriet Miers the nod for Supreme Court and Ann Coulter went off and called her the charwoman or something and started getting all put out because Miers went to a state university!! The horror! And now all of a sudden we are talking about what blue bloods the Bushes are.
    Please, Sarah Palin is self made, [with some help from Mghan’s Dad] but she is also rich and famous and healthy and beautiful and she has a healthy beautiful family. There are millions of people who would happily trade places with her, even if she is not a blue blood.

  14. Terrye says:

    George H. W. Bush enlisted in the navy when he was 18 years old and went off to fly combat missions in the South Pacific and nearly died doing it. That is also part of his background. So if you are going to consider background, then consider it all.

  15. Drew says:

    C’mon.  This whole thing is so superficial. 
    Let’s get to the meat of the matter; who would you rather do: Sarah, or Meghan?

  16. Terrye says:

    Who would I rather do? Neither.

  17. Wayne says:

    Terrye yes all of someone background should be considered. I also respected George W. being a pilot as well as McCain’s service. There is a difference between someone enlisting off the street and an Admirals son being commission. Kudos to them both but they are not the same.
    McCain’s service does not get transpose onto Meghan. The problem with many kingdoms in the past was that the original King often was a man of honor and deeds but their kids and grandkids were not.  Many who became king often were spoiled brats that didn’t have the character and experience of the original king.
    And no it doesn’t mean if someone is born a blue blood that they automatically have certain bad traits. The  probability is just higher that they do.  

  18. Terrye says:

    Oh come on, the idea that being born a blue blood {whatever the hell that is even supposed to men} means that people have a higher likelihood of having bad traits is ridiculous.
    And why is McCain responsible for the stuff his daughter says? Was Reagan responsible for the fact that two of his kids were liberals?
    Bush did not just serve his country, he kind of proved that being a socalled blue blood does not mean you are a lazy worthless person whose only purpose for living is to pick on  people like the eternally victimized Sarah Palin.
    Bush also put Clarence Thomas on the Supreme Court…a very non blue blood type and Bush picked Dick Cheney for his VP…another very non blue blood type. It seems to me that they showed a good deal less knee jerk judgment of people who are supposed to be their social inferiors than some of these average Americans who are judging them ever did.

  19. Wayne says:

    Terrye if you don’t know what being born a blue blood means then you have no idea what you are arguing about.
    I know it is not PC but people born of “certain” groups have a higher probability of having certain traits. Some of those traits are bad or at least not a strength. For example, someone living in the country almost all their lives may have a hard time using a city’s bus or subway system.  There are no guarantees of course and people should be judge as an individual.
    I for the most part like Bush. Being a blue blood doesn’t automatically make you bad. However even George W. admits he was a bit of a spoil brat in his younger days. Fortunately he wise up and turn his life around. Many of the blue bloods don’t in part at times because they don’t have to.

    Please pay attention to words I write like “certain”. They do tend to change the meaning of a sentence when lift out.




  20. Louis Wheeler says:

    A Blue Blood Republican is what we used to call a ”Country Club” Republican. That is, someone was using his political contacts in a party to gather prestige, money and power. These people are unmotivated by principles. The same people could easily switch parties if there was an advantage. This is a matter of values and identification, not what class you are born into. You might be born rich, but identify with the common man. Thomas Jefferson did that.

    I want you to remember that Sarah Palin was attacked by Barbara Bush out of the blue. Her comment for Sarah to stay in Alaska was unwarranted. It was a judgement that Sarah could never fit into the Republican political elite.

    The American TEA party members are tired of the elitists controlling the Republican Party and they intend to wrestle control away. Barbara Bush’s statement was a broadside cast in a turf war for control of the leadership. The Republican leadership had better accommodate Sarah, because if the TEA Party is thwarted too often, they will start a new political Party. Who will be left in the old Republican Party except for some political hacks?