Friday, 09 July 2010

Sarah Palin, Soccer Moms, & Mama Grizzlies

Written by 

Jack KennyWe have had “soccer moms,” “hockey moms,” “waitress moms,” and other designations for women voters candidates like to target. Now Sarah Palin, who was pleased to tell the world two years ago that hockey moms are pit bulls with lipstick, has come up with a new category of politically aroused female voters who are tough, determined, and won't go away.

They are “mamma grizzlies” and they are going to protect their dens and their cubs from the “transformation of America” from Washington. The ad just released by her political action committee, Sarah PAC, mixes scenes of Sarah on the stump with pictures of women cheering and carrying signs, including one that says: “I am not the ‘angry mob.’ I am an angry, tax-bled ‘hockey-mom.’” The narrative, made up of excerpts from one or more of the speeches Palin has delivered in her travels across the country, does not mention Obama or Democrats or Republicans. It does not mention any candidate. It speaks in general terms of women “standing up and speaking up” and taking the country back.
 
“We don't like this fundamental transformation and we're going to do something about it,” Palin says. “Women are rising up and saying, ‘No we’ve had enough already.’ Because moms kind of just know when something's wrong.” The former Alaska governor likened the movement of conservative women to “mama grizzly bears that rise up on their hind legs when somebody’s coming to attack their cubs, to do something adverse toward their cubs. You thought pit bulls were tough? Well, you don't want to mess with the mama grizzlies.”

Women are banding together, saying “No, this isn't right for our kids and for our grandkids,” Palin says. “And we're going to do something about this. We're going to turn this thing around, we're going to get our country back on the right track, no matter with it takes.” The government must “respect the will of the people," says Palin, who mixes metaphors to predict a “stampede of pink elephants” that will begin taking the country back this election day, November 2, 2010.

While one of the signs proclaims, “No Government Run health Care,” Palin herself mentions no issue in the ad and says nothing about how the country is to be turned around and taken back. Yet despite the lack of substance, the ad has received remarkable media attention. The two-minute video “managed to drive cable news television chatter and blazed across the blogosphere Thursday,” Politico.com reported this morning. With its upbeat music, scenes of grassroots women on the move and Palin's own punchy narrative, the spot  “may not be enough to rehabilitate her polarizing profile in time for a 2012 presidential bid,” Politico said, but it serves to “solidify her role as the conservative movement's most prized endorser and fundraiser.”

Yet despite its catchy theme and all the interest it has aroused, the video is most remarkable for what it does not say. Just what is it that the “mamma grizzlies” are supposed to demand of the candidates in this year's elections and from their government, now and in years to come? Lower taxes, no doubt. But what about the way Planned Parenthood is infiltrating the dens and threatening the “cubs” with its sex education programs, its condoms for kiddies in the schools and the abortion services it provides for minors, with or without their parents' knowledge or consent? Is that not threatening “our kids and our grandkids”? Surely Palin, the pro-life mother of five, would want the mamma grizzlies to rise up on their hind legs and defend their cubs from that. The grizzlies should at least demand the government stop spending billions of taxpayer dollars on grants to and contracts with Planned Parenthood for the promotion of its radical, pro-abortion agenda. But Palin offers no hint of that.

Our taxpayer-funded schools promote, at best, an amoral view of homosexuality, suggesting the 'gay lifestyle' is as normal and natural as monogamous heterosexual unions. Isn't that a threat to the morality and safety of the “cubs”? Again, the video offers no hint that the mama bears should shake up the school curriculum and the government funding that supports it.

And what about the federal Department of Education that Republicans promised for 20 years to abolish? Will the mamma grizzlies demand its elimination? Or will they settle for “conservative” legislation to  “reform” a department whose whole purpose is to extend federal control over a sphere of activity in which it has no constitutionally authorized role. Republican support for the Bush administration's No Child Left Behind Act furthered that goal, something Republicans might like the public to forget this campaign season.

All of the lives and treasure our country is spending on endless wars and worldwide military commitments, and all they have contributed to our $12 trillion national debt, might also be considered a threat to “our kids and grandkids,” though not, apparently, by Palin. She seems to relish her role as cheerleader for the establishment war machine.

Her status as the uncrowned queen of the tea party movement obscures the fact that the 2008 vice presidential candidate is more of an insider than her rebellious, “Going Rogue” persona would lead us to believe. “Her endorsements so far this year reflect a woman less hellbent on ideological purity, as she's typically portrayed,” Politico.com noted. “In important races such as the Iowa gubernatorial contest and the California Senate campaign, Palin has endorsed mainstream Republicans over more conservative candidates.”

Perhaps that's why the Sarah Pac production is so substance-free. It's not for the right to life or against big government that the mamma grizzlies are supposed to be aroused and out marching with their signs and slogans, announcing they've had enough and are going to do something (though who knows what) about it. It's all about Sarah, who still remains largely undefined despite all the media attention she has received and continues to receive as the most energizing, electrifying figure on the Republican campaign trail. Whether she seeks the party's presidential nomination in 2012 or remains its leading fundraiser and pundit, one thing is clear: Palin is not spending all of that time and energy and raising all that money to promote the pro-life cause or a return to limited, constitutional government. She is doing it to promote Sarah Palin. Those goals need not be mutually exclusive. But neither are they synonymous.