EXCERPT: Meghan McCain's 'Dirty Sexy Politics'


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. The doors and windows aren't just shut. The curtains are drawn.

Let's open the windows! I don't like private clubs or secrets or living in a bubble world. Let's honor our differences, and different lifestyles, even celebrate them. With this book, I hope to bring some fresh air into the room, maybe knock down a few walls. I wouldn't mind crash through the ceiling, too. Let the sky open up, and freedom ring. Hey everybody, come on in!

1. How Things Went Badly

The night before it was announced that Sarah Palin would be my father's running mate for vice president, I went to sleep joking with Shannon and Heather about what it would be like campaigning across the country with five married Mormon men and all those baby grandchildren of Mitt Romney. My roommates and I had lots of jokes about the Romneys, who seemed doomed to join the campaign any second. They were all so handsome, in a tooth-whitener commercial kind of way, and so seriously wholesome. We wondered whether The Five Brothers, the nickname for the Romney sons, could handle the constant drinking and swearing that went on in our campaign – the press corps included. Not to mention all the tawdry stories about crazy-sex that you never read about.

Crazy-sex, in case some clarification is necessary, is a category of sex on its own. It is sex with somebody who is extremely bad for you. Somebody you probably don't even like that much. But on the road, things have a way of changing. You don't have regular contact with friends. You don't see your family often. You start to miss them both, and your comfortable bed at home. This causes you to look at the world differently, through what we called "campaign goggles." It was just like "beer goggles," I guess, when people around you seem more fascinating the more you drink, except it was caused by prolonged contact. Each day of togetherness on a campaign, stuck on a bus or airplane, listening to one more stump speech, brought you closer and closer until, very slowly over time, even the most boring campaign drones and journalists started to seem attractive. Campaign goggles can distort reality very powerfully and are the cause of almost all crazy-sex and other campaign hookups.

Stories abound, and I'm sure you've heard some, about how wild and raucous and lusty political life can be, especially during a presidential election. When the stakes are high, the behavior gets really low. I don't want to give the impression that I'm immune to bad behavior. But while my father was making a bid for the presidency, I didn't have a death wish – which meant absolutely, positively, no crazy-sex for me. It was the kind of decision that has "SURVIVAL SKILLS" written all over it.

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