There is probably no other politician who has made as many allusions to animals as Sarah Palin.
She blasted onto the national stage in August 2008 to the tune of Barracuda by Heart (who later asked her not to use their music in her campaign). Yes, McCain’s campaign became her campaign almost immediately, as she drew praise from the right and criticism from the left for her beauty, outgoing personality and G.W.-esque folksy appeal.
In the acceptance speech for her vice-presidential nomination, Palin quipped, “You know the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull? Lipstick.” A few weeks later, Obama famously retorted, “You can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig.”
Now she’s back, doling out animal nicknames again, this time referring to herself – and other conservative female candidates – as Mama Grizzlies. In a new video put out by her political action committee, Palin says,
It seems like it’s kind of a MOM AWAKENING in the last year and a half, where women are rising up and saying, ‘No, we’ve had enough already.’ Because moms kinda just know when something’s wrong. Here in Alaska, I always think of the 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 MESS WITH THE MAMA GRIZZLIES.
The problem is, she doesn’t mention exactly what’s wrong, other than the “policies coming out of D.C. right now.” It’s this very lack of specificity that is meant to incite fear in “Mama Grizzlies,” to get them to stand up on their hind legs, and walk to voting booths this November. Why? Because according to Palin, there’s currently a “fundamental transformation of America.” She says, “A lot of women who are VERY concerned about their kids’ futures say, ‘We don’t like this fundamental transformation, and we’re going to do something about it.” Take a look:
I’m not here to argue politics, but I don’t understand how providing medical care to children is something that mothers should be concerned about. I understand the financial implications, of course, of providing benefits to members of a society, and the costs of social programs should be considered and discussed. I think in the case of healthcare, the benefits of maintaining a healthy society come at a very small cost. What I don’t like about Palin – and this video in particular – is that she doesn’t need facts and she doesn’t want facts. Dahlia Lithwick at Double X says, “Palin wants us to just feel with her, then follow wherever that takes us.”
You can follow the conversation about Sarah Palin at Double X here. Most of the women there think Palin, despite her obvious lack of competence on the issues, is a very effective cheerleader for the conservative movement. So if you’re happy because you just got healthcare and you like the idea of the US joining the rest of the world in offering paid maternity leave, then you better pack up your food and hide it before these Mama Grizzlies sniff you out. Or better yet, set a bear trap.
Palin ends her video with a final nod to the animal kingdom, calling conservative women pink elephants, which is such a perfect analogy. This movement is not insignificant, and many people drawn to it are good, honest, hard-working people who really are trying to do right by their children. (Some of my closest… relatives are Republicans. Well, all of them, actually.) They need facts, not fear. We all do.