Women certainly have come a long way, baby. Ninety years ago today, American women finally gained the right to vote.
Maybe it was inevitable that, as more women became active in politics, divisions would grow more pronounced. Today, with Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann leading the charge, conservative women are taking on the liberals like never before.
Now the group Emily’s List, which raises money for abortion rights Democratic women candidates, is fighting back and taking on former Governor Palin in a campaign called Sarah Doesn’t Speak for Me. The campaign is a response to Palin’s “mama grizzly” endorsements of conservative anti-abortion women candidates around the country (a club that grew on Wednesday, as Palin took to her Facebook page and endorsed seven more women).
“Throughout this cycle, Sarah Palin has predicted a rising tide of mothers and women voters who will support her so-called ‘Mama Grizzly’ candidates,” EMILY’s List President Stephanie Schriock said in a statement announcing the campaign. “Palin has made it her mission to defeat candidates who have worked hard to champion the rights of women and families across the country and replace them with conservative candidates who want to repeal health care, stand with big business, and eliminate a woman’s right to choose.”
The new site, http://www.sarahdoesntspeakforme.com, will include multimedia features and information about candidates backed by Palin. It already includes a video of Emily’s List-style “mama grizzlies,” young women dressed up as bears telling their stories, that is less ambitious than California Republican Senate candidate (and Palin endorsee) Carly Fiorina’s “demon sheep” ad, but in some ways is just as cringe-worthy.
On Wednesday, Palin and Ms. Schriock duked it out on Twitter. Palin tweeted: “Who hijacked term:"feminist"?A cackle of rads who want 2 crucify other women w/whom they disagree on a singular issue; it's ironic (& passé)”
An hour later, Schriock tweeted back: “@SarahPalinUSA: you might've watched the video, but you & your allies aren't listening to women about #HCR, #FinReg, & our families.”
For those who don’t speak Twitterese, Schriock was referring to health-care reform and financial regulation.
The Susan B. Anthony List, a group that supports Republican women candidates who oppose abortion – and named for a leading suffragette of the 19th century – has also taken off after Emily’s List’s new campaign.
“Emily’s List is running scared – and it shows,” the group’s president, Marjorie Dannenfelser, said in a statement. “Clearly, in this ‘Year of the Pro-Life Woman,’ which Sarah Palin helped make possible, women have found their political voices.”
Republicans have long trailed the Democrats in getting women elected, and this year the GOP has nominated some high-profile women for major offices – including former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, former eBay CEO Meg Whitman for California governor, South Carolina gubernatorial candidate Nikki Haley, and former TV wrestling CEO Linda McMahon for the Connecticut Senate race. But not all of them qualify to be Palin-style mama grizzlies: Ms. Whitman and Ms. McMahon both favor abortion rights, though with some restrictions.