Year of the Mommy Blogger

If 2010 is the year of the pro-life woman, 2016 should be the year of the smart “mommy blogger”—because, if the GOP wants to ensure its own long term success, today’s politically-inclined mommy bloggers will likely become tomorrow’s candidates.

Sarah Palin’s popularity is proof that the conservative grassroots are ready and eager to rally around a female candidate from outside the Beltway.   And, if the tea party movement continues strong, chances are good that one of today’s young, politically savvy mommy bloggers will be the next decade’s conservative champion.

While the stereotypical mommy blogger is better known for her potty-training rants than for her politics, an increasing number are intelligent, well-educated former professionals who left the full-time workforce in order to raise their children.  Advertisers are beginning to realize that moms are among the web’s most influential demographics, and, thanks to factors like the tea party movement, Sarah Palin, and the rise of digital activism, moms are finding it easier than ever to put this newfound influence to use.  Sure, some only blog about their families, but many offer a good mix of the personal and political—and they’re not afraid to act on their political opinions.  The popularity of mommy blogger gatherings like the BlogHer Conventions proves that they’re willing to learn how to write and act more effectively for a good cause, and it likely wouldn’t be difficult for existing conservative training organizations like the Leadership Institute to expand their recruiting efforts to include conservative moms who blog.  Imagine the impact Sarah Palin might have today if she’d spent the past decade learning the ideas and methods that can make or break a leader—and imagine the candidates the GOP might have in ten years if it started training smart, conservative mommy bloggers today.

The digital world provides a unique place for these women, whose unpredictable schedules and need to be centered in one physical space are perfectly suited to online interaction.  They also care deeply about the social issues that have kept conservatives and liberals squabbling for decades. This interest is far from idle or theoretical, and they tend to be well-informed about issues that may affect them and their families—a combination that makes them ideal potential activists.  While it is difficult to determine whether the “mommy-blogosphere” skews left or right, we do know that online moms are a force to be reckoned with and that their influence will continue to grow.

Mommy bloggers are, in other words, exactly what the Republican Party needs. As Ben Domenech writes,

Traditionally, one of the biggest reasons conservatives have a male-dominated Chamber of Commerce and local sports hero representation in the lower chamber is that they have a hard time finding female candidates for higher office. This is not because there are insufficient conservative women — as you may know, the gender gap is really just an example of the expanded racial gap than anything else (white women voted for McCain by a margin of 53-46) — but it’s because conservative and especially Christian women tend to choose to abandon their careers, or shift to part time work, the instant they have kids.

This is not a bad choice for them, and probably a good one for their families, but it’s one that deprives the GOP of a lot of very good candidates — a situation which is only becoming more challenging for Republicans as women overwhelmingly surpass men in educational achievement.

My thought, then, was that if Republicans were smart, in every district where they find a Democrat who has a 60+ edge, and the GOP has no obviously active candidates or farm team members in need of some seasoning, a general rule ought to be: run a Smart Mom.

Domenech is right, but I’d like to push his suggestion a step further: Republicans should not only recruit “Smart Moms” for 2012, but should develop a more long-term strategy of incorporating them into the ranks of the GOP elite.  Now is the time to identify and develop the smart mom bloggers whose involvement in the grassroots can help prepare them to run for office in 5-10 years.  It’s a long term strategy with minimal investment and enormous potential.

Many of today’s mommy bloggers are too young and too busy raising families to run for office, but that won’t be true for long.  It’s not too early to think about helping them become candidates in the future.  Additionally, as advertisers are discovering, online moms are an enticingly untapped resource. Thanks in part to the recent surge in popular pro-life female candidates, there’s never been a better time for homemakers to weigh in on online political debates—and there’s no better time for them to prepare to be the GOP’s next best weapon in a few years when their children are grown.’

Liveblogging the Palin/Biden Vice Presidential Debate

* 6:00 PM PST – Watching ABC

*6:01 PM – Stephenopolis: “6 out of 10 Americans wonder if Gov. Palin has what it takes to be the VP. ” How many Americans wonder the same about Joe Biden? This is clearly a Palin-centric debate.

*6:04 – Biden stated that this bailout is evidence of the horrible economic policies of the last eight years. If true, that makes Barack Obama the second greatest political recipient of these worst economic policies of the last eight years.

*6:08 – Great back and forth about McCain’s comment on the “fundamentals of the American economy.”  Get the job done. 

*6:10 – I would be interested in your thoughts about Palin’s “Joe six-pack” reference?  Palin:  “It is not the American people’s fault that the economy is the way that it is.”  Biden: “John McCain thought the answer was, tried and true response, deregulate.”  I disagree with the governor.  While some people were clearly duped by preditorial lenders, anyone who could surf the internet and was capable of doing basic research on the housing bubble could have seen this disaster coming.  We have clearly been in a housing bubble for several years.  Some of the responsibility for this mess rests on the excited, consumptive habits of the American people.  Contra Joe Biden, government regulation regarding sub-prime loans is what put us in this mess in the first place.  Congress has had regulatory oversight over Fanny Mae and Freddie Mac and congressional members on both sides of the isle have been caught with their hands in the proverbial cookie jar.  People are people be they on Wall Street or in the halls of Congress.  People need to be honest and the American people need to hold preditorial lenders AND congressmen responsible for their each of these parties’ irresponsible actions.

*6:17 –  Palin: $250,000 = a tax on small business.  Great point.

*6:19 – Palin makes a great distinction between McCain’s budget neutral healthcare plan and Obama’s government mandate and budget heavy plan.  Biden’s response that McCain’s budget neutral healthcare plan would cost us in taxes does not make sense.  If it is budget neutral, why does McCain have to raise money for it?

*6:21 – Exxon Mobile is only a wedge for people who do not drive cars or do not appreciate driving cars.  Palin seems to have a legitimate critique (based on experience) of the oil companies.  Biden seems to be chasing an oil phantom.  As a side note, Exxon Mobile pays $4,114 per second in taxes.  They posted a net income of $11 billion in 07 which is just a third of the $33 billion which they paid in taxes.

*6:27 – John McCain worked a bi-partisan effort on the recent bankruptcy bill.  Biden:  “Barack Obama saw the glass as half empty.”  The evening’s headline.

Continue reading Liveblogging the Palin/Biden Vice Presidential Debate

Around the Horn: Sarah Palin for Vice-President

John McCain has announced his choice for Vice-President. Sarah Palin is McCain’s choice for the next president of the United States should something happen to him while in office.
Media outlets are buzzing with stories about McCain’s interesting and unexpected nominee choice – here is a quick trip around the horn on McCain-Palin 08:
The Trumpet Resounds
Tim Grieve and Jonathan Martin give voters unfamiliar with Sarah Palin a quick history of the Republican governor from Alaska.
Trumpeting from the Left
Comparing her to Dan Quayle, Kos celebrates the end of an election about “experience,” “Obama is not ready to lead” attack lines. Those are dead… Palin is also a an ideologue, on choice, on the environment, on energy — all the way down the line. This an ideological pick…McCain has abandoned any notion of playing for the center. He’s looking to shore up his right flank and hoping that the Evangelical Right can somehow drag McCain over the line.”
Joshua Marshall at Talking Points Memo echoes Kos line about experience adding that Palin enters the race with baggage that could weigh McCain’s campaign down. “It’s a daring pick but I think a very weak pick. I’m perfectly happy with it. Palin is in the midst of a reasonably serious scandal in her home state. Her brother-in-law is a state trooper who is in the midst of an ugly custody battle with her sister. And she’s accused of getting the state police to fire him.”
Clinton campaign adviser Howard Wolfson notes the stinging question: “… you are going to have a lot of women voters wondering why Senator Obama didn’t tap Senator Clinton as his running mate.Trumpeting from the Middle
Jonathan Martin gives the upsides and downsides of a Palin pick. Upside: “Palin is a strong conservative, opposing abortion rights and enjoying a life membership in the NRA.” Downside: “She has no foreign policy experience whatsoever. She’s also entirely untested on the national political stage.”
Klause Marre at The Hill believes that Palin is a “high-risk, high-reward” candidate. It works to her benefit that she is outside the Beltway (way outside the Beltway) but she disagrees with McCain on ANWAR and supports drilling in that region.
Trumpeting from the Right
Fred Barnes gives a celebratory narrative of the relatively unknown governor. According to Barnes, Palin was the star born in the 2006 dark night of conservative politics: “The triumph came in Alaska where Sarah Palin, a politician of eye-popping integrity, was elected governor. She is now the most popular governor in America, with an approval rating in the 90s, and probably the most popular public official in any state. Her rise is a great (and rare) story of how adherence to principle–especially to transparency and accountability in government–can produce political success.”
Katherine Jean Lopez at National Review poignantly notes that any charge of inexperience leveled against vice-presidential pick Palin can be reflected back to Democrat presidential nominee Barack Obama. The media is in a quandary. Lopez seems happy with the tap saying, “That’s what authentic authenticity looks like.”
Michelle Malkin is “impressed. Very impressed.” She is tracking responses from the right.
Blowing My Own Horn
I agree with the buzz that McCain’s pick re-affirms his reputation as a maverick.
I am concerned that Palin does not bring many (if any) key battleground states such as Colorado or Michigan firmly into the McCain camp which would have happened in the event of a Romney or Pawlenty nod. However, I do not resonate with celebration on the Left about the death of the “experience” attack line.
Defined by experience, clearly there is a mentor/mentee relationship occurring on both tickets. However, the Republicans are not running their mentee as the presidential candidate. The vice-presidency has traditionally been understood as a preparatory role for the presidency. Therefore, it seems appropriate that John McCain would choose to groom a young, conservative star for the presidency by tapping her to be his VP nominee.
One final thought which I have not seen in the blogosphere as of yet. I am energized. I am a young, evangelical, conservative voter and I did not expect to be so energized by McCain’s vice-presidential choice. However, Palin is a woman who has a right philosophy of life and family issues. She glows with the kind of youthful authenticity that gave the pre-Rezko Obama his appeal. She fights oil companies where it makes sense to do so but does not bow before the altar of those who forget that nature is ours to steward, not worship.
I am energized. My conservative friends who are politically savvy are energized. People unfamiliar with her who find out about her story and her political philosophy become energized. Wake up Republicans, wake up conservative evangelicals, it is a new day.