Ted Simons: Good evening. Welcome to "Arizona Horizon." I'm Ted Simons. Megan Mccain has been writing and talking about American politician since 2008 when her father, Arizona Senator John Mccain, made his second run for the U.S. presidency. She is now a celebrity of her own as a regular contributor to MSNBC and the Daily Beast. She's also authored three books. The latest with the colorful title, “America, You Sexy Bitch”. A love letter to freedom. Here now to talk about the book, politics and life in general is Meghan McCain. Good to have you here.
Meghan McCain: Thanks for having me.
Ted Simons: Thank you for allowing me to expand my vocabulary on the air.
Meghan McCain: Always entertained when distinguished gentleman such as yourself say the title.
Ted Simons: Let’s talk about the book, let’s talk about what it was meant to be and did it turn out that way?
Meghan McCain: I wrote it with a comedian. If the title didn't tell you it's meant to be irreverent. It's supposed to be a political book but towards people who maybe are not interested in politician or feel intimidated by the process. We went on a road trip, a gross R.V. with no air conditioning. We went across America and asked hundreds of Americans why we’re so polarized.
Ted Simons: Michael black. Who is he, how did you -- was this an arranged marriage?
Meghan McCain: I met, I was a guest on a pilot he shot. We just became friends on twitter. He was up late, we should write a book together. I was going through a bad breakup. I want to get out of town. This sounds awesome. It was all good on paper, then when we were actually doing it I'm like, why am I doing this with a stranger? But he's great. He's a very risque comedian. I don’t know if he’d be good on this show. He’s great, very talented. We have become good friends.
Ted Simons: When you went out there basically don't want to sound like Paul Simon, but to look for America.
Meghan McCain: I'm a Republican, single, Christian. He’s married, an atheist and he's a huge Obama koolaid drinking liberal. It's about combining two worlds, see if you can find common ground. I almost left. I'm not a quitter. I don't like quitting but I considered quitting the whole project. In New Orleans we got in a huge fight and I stormed off into the swamps. I hate you, I want to go home.
Ted Simons: Early or later in the process?
Meghan McCain: I was trying to find the middle ground. You don't understand. I'm like, forget this. Turned out well in the end.
Ted Simons: You guys are still friends?
Meghan McCain: We are, if you can believe that.
Ted Simons: Let's get to some of the bigger picture things here. From what you found out there, what is the difference between a liberal and a conservative?
Meghan McCain: Well, you're asking the wrong person. I would say an intelligence factor but that's terrible. I find Republicans, conservatives much more interested in individualism and self-reliance, obviously small government. One of the cultural things we discussed in the book was how a lot of Republicans take a sort of flamboyant, intense pride in America, myself included. I love America. Live free or die. Liberals tend to be much more I guess mellow about their patriotism.
Ted Simons: Did that idea regarding the difference, did it change during the trip for you?
Meghan McCain: I just realized that one thing Michael pointed out when we would interview Democrats, people who told me how much they love Obama and were inspired by him I would automatically shut down and start judging them. Which is something I—I prided myself on being open-minded, but I realized I was stereotyping people in a way that I didn't realize I was doing.
Ted Simons: Was it more what they were saying or how they were saying it? Because someone can -- it can be a beautiful day. If someone tells you the wrong way you won't be happy. Is it the approach as opposed to what's being said?
Meghan McCain: When I would speak we interviewed every person you could possibly imagine, atheist, anarchist. Tons of Ron Paul supporters. They are everywhere. When we interviewed liberals I wouldn't be as interested. Michael started pointing it out. Well obviously, they don't love America like I do. They don't understand. It's not a fun thing in this book we're very honest with each other. He pointed out I was being closed minded about it.
Ted Simons: And did you find yourself changing?
Meghan McCain: Yes. Not really my political talking points but culturally. It’s weird because, I live in New York City and work in the media, which I a pretty liberal industry. I considered myself open minded but realized I was not as open minded as I thought.
Ted Simons: Did you find the difference between liberals and conservatives similar to the difference between Democrats and Republicans? It seems as though right now the tribal nature of politics is killing the country.
Meghan McCain: Really good way to put it.
Ted Simons: Did you see that and when you did see it what did you think?
Meghan McCain: The thing about talking to Americans and interviewing people is I don't find Americans to be as extreme as the media paints them to be. I don't find people to be nearly as angry at each other as I think you would see just watching MS-NBC or watching fox. I found Americans to want to compromise more. I found a lot of independents. People that were really resistant to distinguish themselves as Republican or Democrat, which says a lot about the tribal culture as you said.
Ted Simons: Do you think that’s that a healthy thing?
Meghan McCain: I think if politicians and the media keep misrepresenting people they can only expect Americans to be frustrated and not want to identify themselves on either side.
Ted Simons: Speaking as something in the media to someone else in the media. You mentioned media continues to misrepresent them. How do you see that happening?
Meghan McCain: Again, I work in the media so I don't know if I'm guilty as well, but the most extreme voices get the most attention and I don't think that's good for journalism, for America or for politics. I for one am sick of the most extreme voices getting the most attention and, again, misrepresenting America, which I have found to be the case.
Ted Simons: Did anything surprise you? Check that. What surprised you the most?
Meghan McCain: What surprised me most that although Americans are angry, which I understand because I also am frustrated with many things going on in America, Americans still would rather live in this country and be under this president whether you agree with him or not than any other place in the world. We found that definitely across the board. I think we found three or four out of the hundreds we interviewed that said they don’t believe America's brightest days are ahead of us, I expected a lot more pessimism.
Ted Simons: That's interesting. The anonymous nature of the internet is something that might be of interest there down the line maybe for a book. But when you have people who no one knows who they are just spewing out stuff they would never say in polite company or impolite company, that factor is into all this as well. This angry nature.
Meghan McCain: That was one of the things we talked about in the book. It was much different to interview someone face to face. They were a lot more hesitant to say anything nasty to me or to Michael than they would be behind the anonymity of the internet. Which is another thing, could talk about this for hours, but is ruining American culture and American politics.
Ted Simons: The idea you can just sit there and spew bile and no one -- i think we need to start taking serious legal regulations about the internet.
Meghan McCain: I think the internet is a lawless place and people should have to identify themselves who they are to log on to twitter, Facebook or comment on the internet.
Ted Simons: Interesting. As far as the response to this book, who do you have more trouble with? Who do you have more trouble with liberals or with conservatives.
Meghan McCain: I have trouble with both. I do very well with young people. They seem to be my audience. A lot of colleges students, high school students. I find people set in their ways and can't think outside the box to have a lot of anger. I came out in support Paul Ryan and said I loved him as a choice and liberals were going crazy, on my twitter feed, open letters. I couldn't possibly be an advocate for the gay community because I'm supporting Paul Ryan. Conservatives said, well maybe he's not conservative enough if Meghan Mccain likes him this is a really exhausting place to be in politics.
Ted Simons: As far as reaction to the book you're getting it from all directions here.
Meghan McCain: The best part about writing a book with a comedian, I let him do all the dirty work with the responses. He can be much racier than I can be.
Ted Simons: Probably. As far as response, what about mom and dad? What do they think of the book?
Meghan McCain: My father when he first heard the title I got in the biggest fight I've had with him in years. We get along very well, and he's very supportive but when he found out the title he was furious and thought it was vulgar. That's a direct quote. Then when I explained to him that it's meant to be irreverent, ridiculous, for people who don't love politics, or aren’t politicos, he's since come around. My mom loved it from the beginning but has since become very good friends with Michael. She will text him. How is Meghan doing on the road? Is she behaving herself? Like I need another parent.
Ted Simons: Last question, what do you see in your future? They have mentioned politics, media. What do you see?
Meghan McCain: I would love to help work on another campaign. Again at some point. Later on down the road. What we were talking about off camera I really love Arizona. I would love to move back here at some point. Maybe a little later when I'm married. I would never raise my kids any place except Arizona. Maybe something here. I get very homesick in New York.
Ted Simons: Isn’t that interesting. Well congratulations on the success of the book. Thank you so much for being here.
Meghan McCain: Thank you.