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Friday, October 8, 2010

"Mama Grizzlies" Break Political Glass Ceiling: GOP's Secret Weapons

Sarah Palin The Pack Leader As "Mama Grizzlies" Roam US Political Landscape

It's cubbing season in the United States and all over the country mother grizzly bears are on the attack, tearing their foes limb from limb and gorging on the carcasses. It's a bloody business, American politics.

The concept of the "mama grizzlies" was first introduced into the political debate in 2008 by vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin as one of her homely campaign trail mantras – alongside "hockey moms" and "First Dude".

Since May this year she has been using it nonstop. She seems almost ready to launch the Mama Grizzly party.

"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," she said at one conservative rally.

"You thought pitbulls were tough, well you don't want to mess with the mama grizzlies."

When she first started projecting the metaphor, critics within both the Democratic and Republican parties ridiculed it as just another marketing gimmick to disguise Palin's lack of policy substance.

But the curious thing is, the more she deploys the expression the more it appears to be coming true.

Across the US a growing number of female politicians have indeed broken through the glass ceiling of local obscurity to become nationally recognised figures.

Many are on the right or members of the Tea Party eruption to which Palin has attached herself.

In part the phenomenon can be seen as a self-fulfilling prophecy. Palin used her star power to back mama grizzlies, helping them to come into existence.

Nikki Haley, the Republican nomination for governor in South Carolina; Carly Fiorina, the anti-abortion former Hewlett-Packard boss standing for the Senate in California; Sharron Angle taking on Harry Reid, the Democratic leader in the Senate, in Nevada; and the volatile Christine O'Donnell in Delaware all bear the Palin mama grizzly stamp.

Having coined the expression, Palin helped make it real. But that only goes so far as an explanation. For Palin not only helped make the trend happen, she has also ridden on the back of it.

Recent polls suggest that more than half the followers of the Tea Parties are female.

Several of the most important Tea Party leaders, who have risen from nowhere to become significant names on the national stage, are women.

These include Jenny Beth Martin of the Tea Party Patriots and Amy Kremer who is chairman – her title – of the Tea Party Express.

Palin cleverly spotted that times were changing. Conservative American women are no longer satisfied with organising cake sales and potlucks.

They are starting to feel their own power, and they are in for the kill.

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Sources: CBS News,, Huffington Post, Politico, Youtube, Google Maps

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