What an incredible weekend! The inaugural Smart Girl Summit took place in Nashville, Tennessee this weekend. Smart Girls came from all over to learn, network, and just have fun.
I rode from the DC area with SGP Cofounders Stacy Mott and Teri Christoph. After a LONG ride to Nashville, we got in and had dinner with a fabulous group of people – yes, there were boys present, I promise. It was good to be back in Nashville, and to meet everyone that I already felt like I knew so well. Everything came together beautifully, and I think I speak for everyone on the leadership team when I say that it surpassed expectations.
We all knew that Michelle Malkin, Liz Cheney and Marsha Blackburn would be great. They are all fantastic women, and worthy of keynote status on their own. The one that surprised me was Robin Smith – she had half the women in the room contemplating running for Congress by the time it was all said and done. She’s the former head of the Tennessee GOP and is currently running for TN-3.
My favorite moments came from the women, many of whom had never been to an event like this, and were coming away with ways to become more involved at home. The training sessions offered by American Majority were overflowing, and the biggest feedback we got was “Can we make it TWO days next year?” Rest assured – we will offer even more next year.
Short story? If you weren’t there you missed out on some amazing time with smart, motivated, and generally awesome men and women. However, you can come to DC about this time next year for SGS ’10! I was there, so there are photos. Enjoy!
Jenny Erikson, Michelle Lancaster, Me, and Lisa Mei in the Grassroots Training session... naturally, I was tweeting.
Kimberly Haney and I - one of my favorite women!
Never too busy to cheese for the camera...
Liz Cheney and I.
Michelle Malkin and I at the fundraiser.
Me and RFC Radio's Fingers Malloy.
Duane Lester, Me, Andrew Riley, and Thomas LaDuke... the RFC Radio boys.
TX State Coordinator for SGP Michelle Lancaster, Kimberly Haney, and I.
Kristen Hawley, Michelle Malkin and I on the way to dinner.
I hadn’t planned on responding to the entire Tea Party attendance controversy, but since Media Matters is using information I was responsible for to smear Michelle Malkin, I figured I’d set the story straight.
Estimates for the 9/12 march ranged from the “tens of thousands” all the way up to two million. Yes, two million.
While I was attending the rally, I asked a police office how big the crowd was. He said they were estimating it was at 1.2 million people. When I asked a Park service employee, that person told me they thought that around 1.5 million were attending. Perhaps they had some basis for those numbers or perhaps they were just making wild estimates. Either way, after FreedomWorks misquoted ABC’s report on stage, that number was mangled and passed along to me at 2 million. That seemed to be in line with the previous estimates I’d heard at the rally. Had I been at my computer, I would have double checked the estimate and learned that ABC never put out that number. But, since I wasn’t, I tweeted it out on my 22,000 follower Twitter account and it was picked up all over the place.
We still don’t really know how many people were the 9/12 rally. The DC fire department put the number at between 60,000 and 70,000 people. However, other credible estimates put the number 800,000 plus.
Had Media Matters asked me, I’d have been happy to tell them that I didn’t just make the number up for fun. However, they just ran with an unconfirmed story — just like I did — and, also like I did, they got important parts of it wrong. A mistaken tweeted estimate has now been turned into a “2 million protester lie” and that story is now being thrown around the left side of the blogosphere like mine was thrown around the right.
Bottom line: I tweeted a mistaken estimate instead of writing an entire misleading story about it. I corrected the record instead of trying to claim that a mere mistaken crowd estimate was part of some sort of diabolical “misinformation campaign.” I’ve been wrong before and I will be wrong again. There’s a difference between an error and a lie – figure it out, Media Matters.
I’m in Washington this week, taking some politically centered classes. We totaled up the male to female ratio of the attendees: 5 to 1. I wish I could say I was surprised, but I’m not. I was also at RightOnline for a couple days, and the ratio was not much better. At Saturday’s opening remarks, Michelle Malkin and Rachel Campos-Duffy were the only female speakers, maintaining that 5:1 ratio there as well. As a general rule, politics is a man’s world, in which women, particularly on the right, sit back and roll with the punches. Why is this?
Well, there are a lot of theories. Mine is that conservative women are, for the most part, content to not be involved. One of my good friends has said to me before that most women would rather sit around and read about breast feeding and dirty diapers than be concerned with the country their children will be living in. Making your kids a priority? Absolutely! Does this not include actively participating in the country your children will grow up in?
There is no excuse for ignorance or apathy. Do you need to run for office? No. Not necessarily. But women currently hold just 17% of the House seats and less than 10% of the Senate. We’re entirely underrepresented.
I’d wager that this is one of the reasons for Sarah Palin’s success among right wingers. She motivated women on the right… the ones who don’t normally get off their butt. The moms who are too busy to get to their polling place, let alone volunteer at a phone bank or blog or be activists, were showing up. She got them excited. We saw families at the rallies. We saw women actually connect with a political candidate and want to engage for the first time. I was one of those women. Honestly, the momentum that she built is the reason Smart Girl Politics exists. In short, she made it okay for some of us to be a conservative. For that I’m grateful.
But where do we go from here? This is the danger of the cult of personality, which has always been my major issue with Palin. What happens when she goes away? If we center our movement on her, it will die when she drops out of the spotlight. She’s no longer an elected official. She’s a private citizen. An effective one, with a lot of potential and massive name recognition and fund raising capacity, but a private citizen nonetheless. Will women stay motivated? Will they stay engaged?
We NEED them to. Democrats believe that they own us, and in many ways they do. Women broke 56% to 43% for Barack Obama, where men only broke 49% to 48% for him. Feminists have been very effective. Conservative women are portrayed as self-loathing, close minded, backwards and irrelevant… and heaven forbid they remove “choice” from other women. FASCISTS! We’ve allowed them to frame the “choice” argument so completely that even those that would normally be pro-life are afraid to touch the subject for fear of stepping on the toes of other women.
One thing I think we forget is that the number of people in general that live and breathe politics like bloggers/activists/politicos do is incredibly small. Those of us on the front lines find it unfathomable that people don’t get as angry as we do about, say, health care. Or “insurance reform” as the White House says I should call it. The fact remains, those who are “independent” or “moderate” or any other ambiguous identification tend to vote liberal by default, especially those in the college/young professional demographic. They don’t much care about the specifics, they care about the general message.
Women in particular are emotional creatures. The left has no problem playing that emotional cord… mainly because it works. We respond to the cries of “hands off my body”, “help the homeless”, “choice”, and “let’s save the cute fuzzy trendy animal of the week”. Let’s face it, conservative pleas are generally more along the lines of “TAX CUTS! SMALL GOVERNMENT!” We’re just not going to get women all hot and bothered over issues like that. Guns tend to be emotional, but generally for those who are OPPOSED to them.
So how do we get women to care? We get more female candidates. Smart, conservative women who run for office garner attention. They give women someone to relate to. They saw in Sarah Palin a mother, a wife, and their best friend. She played on their heart strings. Was she perfect? No. But she elicited a response, simply because she was a woman running for office. That alone is powerful.
Ladies – we are the majority of the population. We’re smart. We’re capable. We’re entirely underrepresented in our government. By sitting back and allowing the left wing feminists to speak for us, we’re allowing women who really don’t even like being women define what we should be. Change that. Stop being apathetic.
UPDATE: Stay at home moms – you have one of the most important jobs in existence, and I’m not saying that you need to be “on the front lines”. I’m simply saying that it’s your duty to vote and know what’s going on. There’s no excuse for ignorance.
I have trouble deciphering the importance of politics in the scope of my faith. On one hand, I ultimately answer to God on everything. His word is final, and that’s where I need to gage my action – not by the law of man. However, I also understand that Jesus said he was going to set up leadership for us. His instructions were that we should:
1. Pay our taxes
2. Submit to their leadership, behind that of Him
3. Pray for them. A lot.
I struggle with how involved we should be. What I settled on is this: I should fight for the candidate that BEST supports the truth in the Bible. Jesus is a part of everything – including our government. We will be governed by man, but we are not to value their law above His. To minimize that conflict, it is our responsibility to do what we can to limit the contrasting government.
In short, the more government leaves us alone and makes us accountable to ourselves and God the better.
Sticking with today’s Reagan theme, “Government is not the solution to our problem, government IS the problem”.
Now, with that theme, let’s look at I Samuel.
“So all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah.They said to him, “You are old, and your sons do not walk in your ways; now appoint a king to lead us, such as all the other nations have” But when they said, “Give us a king to lead us,” this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the LORD.And the LORD told him: Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king, As they have done from the day I brought them up out of Egypt until this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are doing to you. Now listen to them; but warn them solemnly and let them know what the king who will reign over them will do.” (I Samuel 8:4-9).
Obama is that king that the left has been begging for. Hear me out.
Clearly, the theme of the left is big government, more regulation, and lots of promises. Their rampant idealism has infiltrated our society and left us lazy and entitled… now we have an entire nation begging for government to provide for them (hence welfare, WIC, and all the other socially liberal government programs that take away individual responsiblity).
This is why a conservative movement is absolutely critical. People need to be accountable. The government is not responsible for your well being – they are there simply to protect us from each other. Period. God gives us a pretty clear warning of what happens when we reject Him as king:
“Now listen to them, but warn them solemnly and let them know what the king who will reign over them will do.” (I Samuel 8:9).