IN WHICH I APPARENTLY MAKE MEGHAN MCCAIN ANGRY…. I had an item yesterday noting that Dick Cheney’s remarks on gay marriage may have a role in the party’s debate over gay rights. I added what seemed like a pretty uncontroversial idea — while Meghan McCain and Steve Schmidt were other Republicans of note who’ve taken progressive views on the issue, Dick Cheney has far greater influence.

Apparently, this has angered Meghan McCain in some way. She’s added at least four tweets complaining about my observation. In the order in which they were posted:

# Hey Washington Monthly, so it’s only important to speak out for marriage equality if your an old man?

# so I guess young women should just stfu and be seen and not heard Washington Monthly….? Only Dick Cheney should speak out…?

# I wonder if the Washington Monthly thinks if all women or minorities speak out it is “almost meaningless” – apparently only Cheney matters

# I guarantee you if one of my brothers were doing what I am doing right now the Washington Monthly would think it had meaning.

This is what I wrote that prompted these tweets: “It was pretty meaningless to hear Meghan McCain urge her Republican Party to come around on gay marriage. It seemed a bit more important when Steve Schmidt, John McCain’s campaign manager, gave the GOP the same advice. But in terms of influence in Republican politics, Dick Cheney is on another level.”

I haven’t the foggiest idea why this seems so outrageous to McCain, so perhaps I should clarify the point further.

When the former Vice President of the United States, someone who enjoys considerable influence in Republican politics and ties to GOP officials nationwide, takes a policy position on a controversial issue, he’s in a position to have some kind of impact. When a politician’s son or daughter, who has never held elected office and has minimal influence with GOP officials nationwide, takes the same position, chances are, the significance is much, much smaller.

This isn’t about gender or age, and I certainly didn’t say Meghan McCain shouldn’t speak out. I happen to think she’s given her party some very sound advice, which Republicans would be wise to consider. The point, though, is that Meghan McCain, regardless of the merit of her ideas, isn’t in a position to change GOP leaders’ minds on contentious social issues. Dick Cheney’s arguments, whether I like them or not, have more meaning by virtue of his role in national office.

Also, I don’t know what John McCain’s sons think about gay marriage, but Meghan McCain’s “guarantee” notwithstanding, their opinions are also not significant in the larger context of Republican politics. None of McCain’s sons or daughters, regardless of age or gender, are influential in shaping conservative attitudes right now.

Based on an 18-word sentence in a blog post, Meghan McCain has concluded that I only respect old white guys, I don’t respect young women, and I’m somehow hostile to minorities. I still don’t really know how she came to these conclusions, but I’m pleased to report she’s mistaken.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.