Sarah Palin and the Sisterhood of the Traveling Political Moms

Image via Flickr by Bruce Tuten
Political sisterhood is on the rise, especially for those "mama grizzly" fans of Sarah Palin. I've been pondering the secret to Sarah Palin's political popularity and whether there are lessons the rest of us can learn when it comes to building a coalition of like-minded sisters.

By sharing her limelight and bestowing her Madonna-like blessings on other GOP women candidates like Nikki Haley, who's running for South Carolina governor, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, who's up tor re-election in Minnesota (fingers crossed here that her opponent Tarryl Clark will take the seat away from her), and Carly Fiorina, who's vying for the U.S. Senate in California, she's forming her own Sisterhood of the Traveling Political Moms!


So if this new form of networking is building up a Republican village for Palin and her pals, I have to ask -- why aren't my Democratic sisters doing the same for candidates like Clark and others? It may seem like the Year of the Conservative Woman to some observers, but that's just because progressive women aren't creating enough buzz for each other.

It's not just the politicians I'm talking about. Smart Girl Politics started out as a blog written by politically conservative women. They now hold an annual political conference to cheer each other on and huddle over strategies that go with their ideology. So where is one for Democratic women? Sure, we've got the MOMocrats (and I am proud to be one!), but for some reason Democratic women haven't yet come together to support each other in the way that Republicans -- or at least the smaller group of Tea Partiers within the GOP -- have.

Are GOP women better at networking? Are they superior at feeling their sisters' pain? Or are they just so tired of not being represented in politics that they're mad as hell and they're not going to take it anymore? Whether it's a result of a true Sarah Palin sisterhood or something less organized, it seems that conservative women have forged a path toward taking something they want -- collective political power. 

Attention my progressive sisters -- we need a little of that fire in the belly!

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is trying to foster some of that, but she's not getting much support from her sisters or brothers on the Democratic side of the aisle. She recently called on Democrats who are up for re-election, but have seats that appear to be safe, to share some money from their campaign coffers to support their fellow Dems who are in more trouble and could use the money to hang on to their offices. The silence to her request was deafening.

In her forthcoming book No Excuses: 9 Ways Women Can Change the Way We Think About Power and Leadership, Gloria Feldt talks about the need for women to embrace "sister courage," that is, getting women to proactively support, lift up, and connect with each other for the common sisterhood. We routinely do that in our everyday lives when it comes to juggling work and kids and husbands and parents and everything else. So why not when we're talking about our own political good?

I'm not sure why Democratic women are more in the "every woman for herself" boat, but it's time to invoke some serious sisterhood when it comes to our politics because I'm already tired of Sarah Palin's version.

Joanne shares her political musings here every week at Speaker of the House. When she has stuff to say other days of the week, you can read her commentary at her place, PunditMom.


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