Here’s a video of John McCain saying he encouraged his wife to compete for the title of "Miss Buffalo Chip":
Maybe he didn’t know that the event was topless. It’s kind of hard to believe that he would offer his wife, even as a joke, for something like that. But that says a lot about McCain. He’s trying to put himself out there as the biker’s best friend, but the truth is that he’s a $520-shoe wearing elitist. He’s got nothing more in common with the Harley-riding bike ralliers and he knows it. I mean, there’s pandering and then there’s humiliation. This, I think, comes close to the second category.
Megan Carpentier at Jezebel thinks McCain knew full well what the "pageant" was about, but just has a "woman problem":
He didn’t do it just because she’s pretty or has an enviable body for a 54-year-old woman or because he’s proud of his wife’s brand of socialite beauty. He did it to pander to the crowd’s idea of appropriate masculinity, and that apparently includes over-sexualizing your wife and the mother of your children for the amusement of a few people in a crowd. McCain offered up the thought of his wife objectifying herself for the sexual gratification of others (at his suggestion) in order to get a couple of chuckles, inspire some male fantasy and make a few "friends." Fun!
And you might say that John McCain didn’t think of it as an objectification ritual, or that he didn’t know that it involved nudity and displays of stimulated sex acts or whatever. Well, then, why wasn’t he offering to get his very pretty daughter Meghan up on stage? Suggesting a 24-year-old woman participate in a just-a-beauty pageant wouldn’t be so outside the the norm, if he thought it would be just a beauty pageant. But he knew that it wasn’t, and he doesn’t think of his daughter in that way and wouldn’t in a million years as a father suggest or even intimate that his daughter should get on stage and flash her breasts, ass and (potentially) her external genitalia at a group of strange men for admiration, money or votes.
Ok. That’s plausible, too.