PLAYBOY: You’re a blogger and political columnist, as well as a conservative pundit in the liberal wilds on MSNBC. But aside from being John McCain’s daughter, why should we listen to you?
MCCAIN: Hey, I get it. People love me or hate me and there’s nothing in between. But I’ve been in politics literally my entire life. My mom was pregnant with me at the 1984 Republican convention. I was on my father’s campaign when I was 13. I’ve earned the right to be here and talk about it, and I’m not scared to get down and dirty. If people are mean, so be it.
PLAYBOY: Conservatives are as hard on you as liberals. Right-wing blogger Dan Riehl sniped that “this self-indulgent set of mega-breasts doesn’t belong anywhere near a TV studio commenting on anything.”
MCCAIN: Who says stuff like that? Some guys out there just can’t handle a woman with a strong opinion. And the quickest way to cut down a woman is to talk about her appearance. Do I care? No. Every guy I’ve ever dated and every boyfriend I’ve ever had—nobody ever complained about my body. And there are way more important things for me to do than obsess about my weight. We have an election going on, people!
PLAYBOY: You’ve dubbed the 2012 election cycle “the shitty sequel” to 2008.
MCCAIN: Can you argue with that? It’s just been so lame—so many debates, so much blather, so much oversaturation. Granted, my father is not running, so I’m biased, and we have an incumbent president, which changes things. But where’s the electricity? You’d think someone would rise up and tap the frustration and energy of the Occupy movement or the Tea Party, but it just hasn’t happened yet.
PLAYBOY: How can the GOP win in November?
MCCAIN: The Republicans need someone to excite younger people, independents, Hispanic voters and the disenfranchised. I think if Chris Christie is the vice presidential nominee we can change the weather and have a very good chance of beating Obama. I love that he’s no bullshit.
PLAYBOY: Visualize for a moment how America would be different had your dad won.
MCCAIN: Oh, Lord. You would have the craziest first daughter ever, who’d be making ridiculous headlines and hurting the administration every step of the way. That aside, I think Dad would have made an incredible president. The recession wouldn’t have been as bad as it is now. We wouldn’t be pulling troops out of Afghanistan and Iraq. I think morale in the military and in the country at large would be higher and we’d be much further on the road to recovery.
PLAYBOY: Do you have any tips for the offspring of campaigners on the election trail?
MCCAIN: Get sleep, be nice and shut up. I wasn’t always a peach to be around. I could have been nicer to the Secret Service and some staffers, and I voiced my opinion way too much. It’s really stressful, though. The day before Election Day, I almost overdosed on Xanax. I had gained a lot of weight. I went up four sizes thanks to Starbucks and Snickers. Obamamania was at its height. I ended up going to Sedona with my girlfriends. All we did was play Rock Band for days and days and eat and sleep and hang out in bed watching TV. I was done.
PLAYBOY: Say a little more about the hanging-out-in-bed-with-girlfriends part.
MCCAIN: Watch it, mister. My friends from home came over to support me, and we got in my parents’ big bed. They have this huge California king and we just stayed up eating ice cream. I’m not a lesbian, if that’s what you’re asking. I’d be the first person to tell the world I was gay. I’m not private about anything. I think you should live how you should live. But I’m strictly dickly. I can’t help it. I love sex and I love men.
PLAYBOY: So we shouldn’t read anything into your vocal support of same-sex marriage and the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” or how much you love Rachel Maddow and hang out with Tila Tequila?
MCCAIN: Honey, you’re nobody unless you have a gay rumor about you. I’ve been hit on by women from time to time, and it might simplify my life if I were gay, but no. Rachel and Tila are just great people. For me, it’s an issue of civil rights. Who people want to sleep with and who they want to love should not have anything to do with government politics at all. And if you see me in a gay bar, it’s only because they play the best music and my gay friends like to dance. Gay guys love me. It’s the big boobs and blonde hair.
PLAYBOY: Do you ever think twice about partying in public for fear it will show up on Gawker the next morning?
MCCAIN: Oh, I can’t live like that. I do get paranoid when I’m wearing low-cut dresses that somebody’s going to take a picture and put it on the internet and be like, “Meghan was showing off her breasts again.” But you know, showing a little cleavage can make a girl feel sexy too. Like Jessica Simpson says, if you got it, you should flaunt it once in a while. I’ve been pretty open about the fact that I like to go out and have a good time with friends. I’ve never done drugs, and I never would. So there’s that. But what am I supposed to do, stay in and read a book? I come from a family of whiskey drinkers. My brothers like to drink and have a good time. It’s America, man. There’s nothing wrong with going out and listening to music and having a little Jack and Coke.
PLAYBOY: Your mom’s family controls one of the largest beer distributors in the country. You must have had some blowout keg parties in high school.
MCCAIN: I didn’t, actually. I was very uncool in high school. When I interviewed Michele Bachmann, we bonded over the fact that we didn’t go to our senior proms. I went to this all-girls Catholic school. It was very strict. I was always challenging authority. I didn’t play sports in a world where sports meant everything. But the second I hit college, I started dating up a storm.
PLAYBOY: You once wrote, “Nothing kills my libido quite like discussing politics.”
MCCAIN: Oh my gosh. It’s so true. I went on a date, like, a week ago, and the guy just wanted to talk policy and strategy the entire time. Talk about a mood killer. I’m obsessed with this stuff, but it doesn’t put me in the mood. When I’m dating, I want to hear what music a guy likes, what he does for fun, and I want him to make me laugh. If he can make me laugh, I don’t care if he looks like Zach Galifianakis; it’s an instant turn-on.
PLAYBOY: Why do so many politicians get caught up in sex scandals?
MCCAIN: I always say repression breeds obsession. Politicians have to be goody-goodies. They put on this face of perfection and pretend they’re completely above indiscretion. But the more you deny your sexual side, the more it builds up and comes out in inappropriate ways. Not to bring any particular politician into this discussion, but I always find it fascinating that the number one state per capita for downloading porn is Utah. All those pious Mormons and they’re drooling at their laptops all day.
PLAYBOY: What’s the standout memory from your stint as an intern on Saturday Night Live?
MCCAIN: Ashlee Simpson kicking her dressing room door after getting caught lip-synching. That was interesting to watch. Mostly I remember being a sort of office slave, which was fine. I was an assistant to Lorne Michaels’s assistant, so I spent most of the day getting coffee and filling up the popcorn bucket. I think everybody should have a crappy internship so they realize what a bitch it is getting other people’s shit work done.
PLAYBOY: What’s cool about being famous?
MCCAIN: People don’t recognize me that much unless I’m with my dad. I look different without makeup on, and usually I wear beanies and big sweaters and look like I’m drunk all the time. I got good seats at the Republican convention last time and got to meet all the Palins.
PLAYBOY: Bristol Palin took shots at you and your mom in her memoir, saying, “I’ve never seen people with so much Louis Vuitton luggage, so many cell phones, and so many constant helpers to do hair and makeup.” What would you say if you bumped into her?
MCCAIN: I did bump into her at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, actually. I saw her across the room. That girl biffed it fast, totally took off. All that stuff she wrote was a total lie. I have, like, one Louis Vuitton purse. She’s just young and confused and was thrust into all this. The media aren’t kind to her. But once someone signs up for Dancing With the Stars, it’s hard to sympathize.
PLAYBOY: When can we expect Keeping Up With the McCains to air?
MCCAIN: Never! Hell would freeze over before I would do a reality show. I’ve been offered everything you could possibly imagine, and it just doesn’t interest me. You certainly won’t see me dancing on TV. I’m the worst. I have, like, two moves—the hair flip and the shoulder move and that’s it, baby.
PLAYBOY: And you’re still single?
MCCAIN: Oh my God, I love being single. I can do whatever the hell I want all the time. I have no one to check in with. When you’re in a serious relationship, you kind of have to check in before you go out with your friends or do whatever. I think I’m a bit of a commitment-phobe. Or maybe it’s just that I haven’t met the right guy. Dating’s okay, but guys can be weird. They think if they Google you and talk about stuff you’ve said, they get to make out with you at the end of the first date.
PLAYBOY: What’s up with your Hunter S. Thompson obsession? Wouldn’t he have hated your conservative views?
MCCAIN: I love, love, love Hunter. I read Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail in high school and loved his take on politics. I love the way he wrote with such disregard for authority and the status quo. I’ve been considering getting his quote “Buy the ticket, take the ride” tattooed on my body, but I haven’t decided. I told my friend, and she said it sounds really sexual, so we’ll see. But trust me, Hunter and I would have been fast friends. He was on Late Night With Conan O’Brien once and he was drinking whiskey and shooting guns. I appreciate both those things. We would have understood each other.
PLAYBOY: What’s your firearm of choice?
MCCAIN: I’m a big fan of Remington shotguns. They’re accurate and powerful and great for skeet shooting, which I love. My brother’s trying to convince me to get a revolver. A single girl can never be too careful, he says.
PLAYBOY: How often do you talk to your parents?
MCCAIN: Oh, every day. My mom calls me in the morning and wants to gossip about something. My dad watches every single thing I do on TV and will call either to talk about why some supercommittee failed or to say, “Oh, Meghan, why’d you say that?”