The XX Factor

Sarah Palin’s Vague Rallying Cry to Angry Mama Grizzlies

SarahPAC just released Sarah Palin’s campaign-style political ad (embedded below) called “Mama Grizzlies,” based on the speech she gave in May to the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List . The ad features a montage of activist conservative women alternately holding up enraged signs and hugging Sarah Palin. The message is that after decades of political sleep, conservative mothers and grandmothers have experienced a “kind of a mom awakening in the last year-and-a-half.” Palin invokes pitbulls, grizzlies, and stampeding pink elephants to warn that-despite all the roses and the hugging and the pearls in the onscreen images-a new army of empowered conservative mothers is poised to rampage. The juxtaposition of all the hugs and the roses with the language of barely leashed physical violence is pretty stunning.

Palin never specifically identifies what it is that threatens our bear cubs. The women holding up their protest signs object to the health care mandate, claim to be “an angry, tax-bled hockey moms” and advise others to “Annoy Liberals: Work Hard & Pay Your Own Bills.” There is no need for specificity here. It’s quite enough that mothers feel angry and threatened by the “fundamental transformation of America.” This vague anger is its own politics; Palin even explains that “moms sort of just know when something is wrong.” There is no call to do anything here; no request for donations; no specific complaint. The ad is an appeal to mothers as purely intuitive, and to the instinctive violence we can muster when our kids are in danger. Palin wants us to just feel with her, then follow wherever that takes us.