Sarah Palin is out with a very savvy video capturing the spirit of the grass-roots conservative women’s movement — a phenomenon I’ve traced here since the mom-bloggers and young women bloggers and other Founding Sisters of the Tea Party movement first came onto the scene.
Yes, there’s always a risk in overreaching and slipping into identity politics. Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi both played the gender card to argue that they had the unique ability as women to “clean house” and change Washington’s ways. It’s not working out as advertised, to put it mildly.
Moreover, conservatives need to be honest: Not all Republican women are created equal. An establishment Big Government GOP candidate in a skirt is no better than an establishment Big Government GOP candidate in a suit and tie.
That said, there is something happenin’ out there — on college campuses, at Tea Party and 9/12 meetings, in school board and city council races, inside and outside the political arena. Everywhere I go, right-thinking moms who had never been involved in politics before have come up to me to let me know that their increasing concern for their kids’ future — their safety, their education, their debt — has driven them to get involved.
I’m reminded of a column I wrote in 2004 for USA Today on “national security moms” who preceded the new genre of economic security moms.
Posted 7/20/2004 9:47 PM
Candidates ignore ‘security moms,’ at their peril
By Michelle Malkin
I am what this year’s election pollsters call a “security mom.” I’m married with two young children. I own a gun. And I vote.
Nothing matters more to me right now than the safety of my home and the survival of my homeland. I believe in the right to defend myself, and in America’s right to defend itself against its enemies. I am a citizen of the United States, not the United Nations.
I want a president who is of one mind, not two, about what must be done to protect our freedom and our borders. I don’t care about the hair on his head or the wrinkles in his forehead. I am not awed by his ability to ride a snowboard or fly a plane. Nor does it matter much to me whether his wife speaks four languages or bakes good cookies.
What I want is a commander in chief who will stop pandering to political correctness and People magazine editors, and start pandering to me.
The Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks shook me out of my Generation X stupor. Unlike Hollywood and The New York Times and the ivory tower, I have not settled back casually into a Sept. 10 way of life. I have studied the faces on the FBI’s most-wanted-terrorists list. When I ride the train, I watch for suspicious packages in empty seats. When I am on the highways, I pay attention to large trucks and tankers. I make my husband take his cell phone with him everywhere — even on a quick milk run or on a walk to the community pool.
We have educated our 4-year-old daughter about Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein. She knows that there are bad men in the world trying to kill Americans everywhere.
She has helped us decorate packages of books and bubblegum for our brave soldiers. And at night, we ask God to bless our troops as they risk their lives trying to kill the bad men before they kill us.
This isn’t living in fear. This is living with reality. We drive defensively. Now, we must live defensively, too.
I am not alone. Professors and political analysts have observed the remarkable conversion of “soccer moms” to “security moms” since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. According to GOP pollster David Winston, “security moms” now make up between 11% and 14% of the electorate. The trend has manifested itself in increased concealed-weapons-permit applications among women; the rise of national-security-focused Web logs published by hard-hitting female “war bloggers”; and an upsurge in political activism by women on core homeland-defense issues, such as immigration enforcement.
Security moms are women such as Grace Godshalk, who lost her 35-year-old son, Bill, when the World Trade Center’s south tower collapsed on Sept. 11. Godshalk is on the board of the 9/11 Families for a Secure America, which lobbies for secure borders. She has made it her “lifetime job to put an end to terrorism so no one else ever has to live this nightmare.”
Security moms are women such as Bonnie Eggle, a Michigan schoolteacher who lost her 28-year-old son, Kris, a National Park Service ranger who was gunned down by a drug smuggler at the U.S.-Mexico border in August 2002.
“I approach this whole situation as a mother,” Eggle said during a Washington, D.C., news conference after her son was murdered. “I want other parents to know that these are things that can happen to your children. Our son took a bullet that he did not have to if we had secure borders.”
And conservative activist Kay R. Daly, a security mom of two in Northern Virginia, warns that “A candidate who underestimates the security mom and her vote this fall may do so at his own peril. Hell hath no fury like a momma protecting her babies.”
Spoken like true “Mama Grizzlies.”
Let’s hope a strong alliance of economic security moms and national security moms will have lasting bite.
The post-9/11 poster that hangs on my home office wall:
Related: Jim Hoft and Andrew Marcus have launched a Draft Sarah for RNC Chair campaign. More info here.