The XX Factor

Who Holds Palin’s Purse Strings?

Abby , though Sarah Palin’s latest proclamation of Mama Grizzly-ness certainly sounds to you like an everywoman’s rallying cry, the PAC behind her new campaign ad relies less on hockey moms and more on affluent contributors to pay for Palin’s savvy media consultants and travel expenditures .

If you look at Palin’s donors or the major contributors to her fellow Mama Grizzly candidates in this year’s legislative races, the biggest checks are, as Bill Prendergast at the Daily Kos pointed out , coming from a not-so-egalitarian class of GOP devotees. He discusses the donors who helped Palin favorite Michele Bachmann raise a staggering $1.7 million in her bid for a GOP nomination in Minnesota’s 6 th district:

I mean a small political elite composed of the leadership of the religious right, the conservative media owners, the right wing of the business and media communities. It’s actually a very small number of people; it’s not the millions who would like to see someone like Michele Bachmann become president or lead the Congress.

The same rings true for Palin’s supporters. Her ad targets a very broad audience of “moms” and in the full speech from which the SarahPAC ad was excerpted , she calls the Tea Party “a movement of the people.” It’s true, the donor list of predominately small donations evinces Palin’s broad appeal, but the women really holding the purse strings are powerful female professionals or wealthy but nonworking women (like Lauren Coale or Patricia Lumry ) willing to reach deep into their husbands’ pockets to maintain political influence . The cross-section of Palin’s key financial supporters aligns with her platform of strong sisterhood, but the Tea Party’s economic momentum is about as “grassroots” as your average donor list of corporate lobbyists and Wall Street bigwigs.