The XX Factor

Sarah Palin’s Mama Grizzlies Are On-Message

Sarah Palin is a master self-marketer , and her minions are showing a talent for the same sort of on-message political advertising. Via ABC News , comes this campaign ad from Georgia gubernatorial hopeful Karen Handel. Handel-for whom Palin taped a robocall-has internalized Palin’s message of feminine Mama Grizzly power in this video, called ” Lipstick .” It begins provocatively, with three silhouettes of male mouths, and the female voice-over announcing, “Three with iffy ethics,” referring to Handel’s challengers. Then a pair of brightly-colored female lips appears, “And one with lipstick,” the voice taunts. Then the ad goes on: “Three who look after themselves. One who looks after you.” Get it? She’ll be like the mom of the entire state, telling Georgia to pick up its socks! Unlike those selfish boys. The ad informs us that young Karen admirably left an abusive home at age 17 and then went all the way to the White House. Karen is “tough as an ox,” the ad says, while showing an ox … also wearing lipstick, “but with a heart that comes from a life beating the odds.”

Sarah Palin’s ad evoked stampeding elephants and pitbulls and grizzlies , and now we have Handel’s lipstick-wearing ox to add to the pile. Of course, it doesn’t actually make sense, but the underlying message is weirdly cohesive and powerful: We’re tough mamas and we’re going to mow you down if you stand in our way. And that message seems to be working, as Handel is currently the GOP primary frontrunner. Ad embedded below.