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Posts tagged "Sarah Palin"

Conservative media are pushing the conspiracy theory that the Obama administration deliberately created the humanitarian immigration crisis on the Southern border for political reasons. The rhetoric echoes claims from Republican politicians, most notably Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who said he didn’t want “to be conspiratorial,” but the administration may be “in on this somehow.”

Child migrants have surged across the border in recent months to flee violence in Central America. President Obama has asked Congress for $3.7 billion to respond to the crisis, as the mass migration has overwhelmed existing detention facilities and border resources.

The president has publicly discouraged the migration, stating in an ABC News interview on June 27: “That is our direct message to the families in Central America: Do not send your children to the borders. If they do make it, they’ll get sent back. More importantly, they may not make it.” PolitiFact called the claim that Obama planned the border crisis “pants on fire” false, writing: “Many of the factors behind the surge of children lie outside the control of the administration. No expert we reached gave any credence to the idea that the administration planned this crisis on the border.”

Gov. Perry has responded to the humanitarian crisis by suggesting the Obama administration is secretly coordinating the effort. In a June 17 Fox News interview with Sean Hannity, Perry said: “We’re doing our part to make sure we can keep our citizens as safe as we can. But the federal government is just absolutely failing. We either have an incredibly inept administration or they’re in on this somehow or another. I hate to be conspiratorial, but how do you move that many people from Central America across Mexico and into the United States without there being a fairly coordinated effort?” 

The potential 2016 Republican presidential candidate subsequently appeared on ABC on July 6 and said Obama may have an “ulterior motive” on the crisis.

Other Republican politicians have also suggested President Obama is deliberately creating the border crisis. Rep. Steve King (R-IA) told conspiracy website WND, “If you don’t see them bring reinforcements down there to seal the border, that means that, yes, it’s a Cloward-Piven maneuver to flood the country until we get to the point where we are an open-borders country that welcomes everybody, legal and illegal” (“Cloward-Piven” is a reference to a right-wing conspiracy theory that believes progressives are attempting to overwhelm capitalism, leading to its collapse). Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX) similarly claimed it’s “an open secret Obama is trying to flood Texas with illegals to make it into a blue state.” Rep. John Culberson (R-TX) told Fox Business’ Lou Dobbs on June 10 (via Nexis), “Everything that Barack Obama’s doing is intentional, deliberate … This is deliberate, Lou, and all Barack Obama’s asking for is more money to do more of the same.”

Despite evidence to the contrary, many members of the right-wing media have followed their Republican partners in accusing Obama of having “planned” and “orchestrated” the crisis for political gain. Here are ten examples:

Rush Limbaugh Speculates “This Whole Thing Was Planned In Advance By Somebody.” Speaking on the June 24 edition of his radio program, Limbaugh said: “Somebody needs to go to the Oval Office. I don’t know who. I wouldn’t want to be the guy, but somebody better make tracks to the Oval Office right now and tell Obama that this whole thing was planned in advance by somebody. Don’t wait for the newspapers on this — and they’re not gonna trust me when they hear about it.” Limbaugh’s website headlined his remarks, “Obama Regime Planned the Influx of Illegal Alien Children at the Border.” 

Newt Gingrich: There’s A “Deliberate Policy Of Maximizing The Number Of Illegal Immigrants.” The CNN host wrote on his website on June 27 that the crisis “is a direct result of deliberate Obama administration policy that encourages illegal immigration” and “appears to be a deliberate policy of maximizing the number of illegal immigrants allowed to stay in the United States.” Gingrich added: “If you have any doubt consider that the Obama administration is deliberately encouraging this surge in illegal immigration, consider that instead of focusing on controlling the border and stopping people from entering illegally, we now have our government using our tax money to hire ‘escort services for unaccompanied alien children.’”

Sarah Palin: “Opening Our Borders To A Flood Of Illegal Immigrants Is Deliberate.” The Fox News contributor called for Obama’s impeachment in a July 8 Breitbart.com post, citing Obama’s allegedly “purposeful” actions with regard to the immigration influx:

Without borders, there is no nation. Obama knows this. Opening our borders to a flood of illegal immigrants is deliberate. This is his fundamental transformation of America. It’s the only promise he has kept. Discrediting the price paid for America’s exceptionalism over our history, he’s given false hope and taxpayer’s change to millions of foreign nationals who want to sneak into our country illegally. Because of Obama’s purposeful dereliction of duty an untold number of illegal immigrants will kick off their shoes and come on in, competing against Americans for our jobs and limited public services. There is no end in sight as our president prioritizes parties over doing the job he was hired by voters to do. Securing our borders is obviously fundamental here; it goes without saying that it is his job

Lou Dobbs: “All Of This Is Orchestrated By This Administration.” Dobbs stated on the June 26 edition of Fox Business’ Lou Dobbs Tonight: “All of this is orchestrated by this administration. Anybody who doesn’t understand that hasn’t got the common sense that, you know, God gave a goat … The fact is that this administration is working in concert with the Central American governments.”

Monica Crowley"He Created This Crisis, He Orchestrated It, And He’s Perpetuating It." The Fox News contributor added on the July 10 edition of Fox Business’ Varney & Co. that Obama “wanted the chaos” to pressure Republicans on immigration reform and to turn red states blue.

Jeanine Pirro: “One Conclusion: Barack Obama Is Intentionally Using The Immigration Crisis As An Excuse To Change The Demographics And Ultimately The Electorate.” Pirro added on the July 12 edition of her Fox News program Justice with Judge Jeanine that Obama is using a “Trojan horse” of children to advance his political party, his agenda and his legacy.”

Peggy Noonan Suggests Obama “Let The Crisis On The Border Build To Put Heat On Republicans.”Noonan accused the president of trickery for political gain in her July 11 Wall Street  Journal column.

Allen West: “A Planned Event By The Obama Administration.” The Fox News contributor and former Florida congressman wrote on his website on July 3, “it seem [sic] harder to believe it was not a planned event by the Obama administration. That’s not that conspiracy theory - it’s trend analysis.” West wrote on July 14: “I believe the whole immigrant surge is purposeful” and asked if it’s to turn red states blue.

Dinesh D’Souza: Obama Wanted Border Chaos To Put “Republicans On The Defensive.” The conservative filmmaker and campaign finance felon claimed on Fox News on July 15 that Obama wants the crisis to “put the Republicans on the defensive and say, listen, either you give me amnesty or I’m just going to let these people start coming across the border and there’s nothing you can do about it.” 

Bryan Fischer: “This Is All Deliberate On The Part Of President Obama.” American Family Association’s Fischer added on the July 14 edition of his program that it was part of his “anti-American agenda” to transform the country.

h/t: Eric Hananoki at MMFA

If you’re a conservative who wants to impeach President Obama, time is running out. You need to give Allen West money, and quickly. It’s an “emergency.”

In a series of emails sent to subscribers in recent weeks, Fox News contributor and former Republican congressman Allen West has implored people to donate to his PAC, the Allen West Guardian Fund, in order to hasten Obama’s impeachment. And West isn’t alone — numerous conservative media figures and political groups are looking to cash in on Obama’s supposedly impending impeachment through donations, books, and various impeachment merchandise.

Right-wing media have been pushing for Obama’s impeachment for more than five years over a wide range of issues, but impeachment chatter got a boost earlier this July when Sarah Palin penned an opinion piece for Breitbart.com. She called for Obama’s removal from office, arguing that the president’s “unsecured border crisis is the last straw that makes the battered wife say, ‘no mas.’”  She reiterated her call on Fox’s Hannity, telling viewers it was time to “get going” on impeachment. 

While numerous members of the conservative noise machine are agitating for impeachment, not everyone is on board. Fox News contributor Erick Erickson, for one, thinks ”impeachment would be crazy” at the moment.

But regardless of whether impeachment is good politics for conservatives, it’s starting to look like good business.

In a July 10 email to subscribers, West pointed to Palin’s comments as evidence the “growing” impeachment movement is “gaining speed!” Asserting that the president is “guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors,” West touted a survey hosted on his PAC’s website asking whether the House of Representatives should draft articles of impeachment over the unrelated release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. He also asked for an “an emergency contribution of $5 or more right away, so we can get this survey into the hands of as many conservatives as possible.” 

West, who has been calling for Obama’s impeachment since early June, has previously asked subscribers for money to (somehow) help boost his impeachment survey. A June 19 email pointed to comments from GOP congressman Lou Barletta raising impeachment to proclaim, “Now - more than ever - we need to get the Guardian Fund’s impeachment survey into the hands of every conservative in America. Can you help me?” West once again asked for an “emergency” donation. On June 28, West asked for “an emergency donation of $5 or more right away,” again to help promote his impeachment survey.

West isn’t the only one emailing fundraising appeals about impeachment. On June 20, Takeover Super PAC — the nascent political group backed by WND founder Joseph Farah, leading birther and WND reporter Jerome Corsi, and notorious smear merchant Floyd Brown — rented WND’s email list to send out a message with the subject line, “Impeach Him!” Pointing to the group’s campaign activities in various states, Takeover Executive Director Tom Freiling argues, “When we gain an absolute majority in the House and Senate, we conservatives can finally expose Obama law-breaker [sic].” Arguing that it was “urgent,” Freiling asked for donations of “$25, $50, $100, or more.” 

If you were worried your money might not be spent well, fear not. Freiling explains in the email, “You can trust us.”

Farah also sent a fundraising appeal to WND subscribers on July 2 touting Takeover Super PAC as “the first Federal PAC to pursue the impeachment of President Obama.” They will, he believes, “launch the next, and LAST, American revolution.”

In addition to promoting Takeover, WND also has an entire “Impeachment Store” on its website, featuring items like magnetic “Honk for Impeachment” bumper stickers, a $9.95 “Special Report" on "Why Barack Hussein Obama Should Be Impeached To Save America," and a card game called “Scandal,” which is “a contest between players to create the best cases for impeachment by collecting and displaying valuable evidence (Case) cards… This game is fun to play and historically accurate.”

The WND “Impeachment Store” also features Impeachable Offenses: The Case For Removing Barack Obama From Office, a 2013 book co-written by WND reporter Aaron Klein and published by WND. (Last month, National Review writer Andrew McCarthy also released a book flogging impeachment.) 

While Erick Erickson may find impeachment “crazy,” that hasn’t stopped RedState — the site where he serves as editor in chief — from renting out its email list to pro-impeachment groups. On July 10, conservative non-profit Secure America Now rented the RedState list to urge readers to sign an impeachment petition, which would “help mobilize our massive grassroots army, and strengthen our demand that Congress file articles of impeachment against the President.”

In addition to renting out the RedState list, Secure America Now has also sent out fundraising appeals to its own email list, asking subscribers to “help us impeach Obama by donating right now.” According to Allen Roth, the Secure America Now president, “every $10 allows us to reach 300 people. That means $20 translates to 600 people, $50 to 1,500 people, and $100 allows us to educate 3,000 people!”

Conservative activist Alan Keyes has repeatedly used his WND column to encourage readers to visit “Pledgetoimpeach.com,” a website featuring a petition calling for the president’s removal from office. Alongside the petition is, of course, a request for money: ”Even if you can only afford $5 or $10 to assist our push for impeachment, that will help a lot.”

Other conservative groups asking for money to help impeach Obama include TheTeaParty.net, which runs the “Tea Party News Network.” An April 16 fundraising appeal announced that if Obama is not removed from office, “The great experiment of America will be over.” It continued by asking people to donate even as they are having trouble making ends meet (emphasis added):

We will not give up the fight, though it will be costly to keep the voice of freedom out there as we keep up the call for the impeachment and removal from office of President Obama. I know that times are tough. Many are feeling the effects of Obama’s destruction on a daily basis with not being able to make ends meet. But, we need you to help us win. Our republic is counting on us. So, whatever you can afford, whether it is $5, 25, $50, or more will help us as we push for the impeachment and removal from office of President Barack Obama. Can we count on you?

The donation page features a “PATRIOT HEROES LIST” of ”Patriots Who Donated $100, $250, $500, $1000, $5000 Or More.”

h/t: Ben Dimiero at MMFA

crooksandliars:

Sarah Palin, the Queen of the Quitters Society, has joined another fringe group of freaks and wrote in the pages of Breitbart’s rag that it’s time to impeach President Obama because- Americaaaaaa!

read more

She and the people that idolize her are sub-zero IQ idiots. 

h/t: Paul Rosenberg at Salon

mediamattersforamerica:

At least 15 Fox News personalities recently campaigned with organizations that were either created or heavily-funded by the billionaire Koch brothers.

No wonder these same Fox figures defended and praised the Kochs on-air. 

Rauner/Sanguinetti ticket = Illinois’ version of Walker/Kleefisch. 
h/t: Mark W. Anderson at NBC Chicago’s Ward Room

assholeofday:

Sarah Palin, Asshole of the Day for June 16, 2014
by TeaPartyCat (Follow @TeaPartyCat)
It’s not often you see Sarah Palin criticize Republicans and Democrats alike for the same thing, which is really no surprise really when Mitch McConnell and others conspired in 2009 to make sure that Republicans never, ever voted for anything with Obama. In 5 years they’ve pretty much been the Grand Old not-Obama Party.
But with the growing crisis in detention centers along the border, St. Sarah of the North gives Republicans an equal share of blame for doing nothing. Both parties, she says, must do something.
And then, before anyone can think about giving her a primary challenge from the right for being bipartisan and soft on immigration like Eric Cantor, she launches into a diatribe about how Obama caused it, even though of course she expects both parties to fix it:

So, GOP and Democrats alike, where are you on this humanitarian issue of child abuse?
Hang on to your hat, because here’s the issue: Barack Obama has orchestrated this newest “crisis” in order to overload the system with the intention of “fixing” the problems his own policies create – by fiat, and that infamous phone and pen; screw the rule of law. He’s warned you by proudly claiming his executive orders can bypass the peoples’ representatives and obviously ignore the will of the people.
This exploitation of foreigners’ children is an inhumane ploy to entice families to break laws by literally shoving kids across one of Obama’s infamous and irrelevant lines, with assurance that parents, aunties, step-uncles and third cousins twice removed will get to cut in line too – that sacred line that previously led law abiding, hardworking immigrants to build this great nation. Barack Obama will keep phoning in and penning the message that he will NOT secure borders, so, hey, extended undocumented relatives, you’re free to join the kids being used and abused to snag that golden ticket. Obama surely knows a nation is not a nation without borders, while we must surely know this is the “fundamental transformation of America” that he promised and some of us warned about.
Congress and American voters, how long will you let Team Obama get away with this? The recent avalanche of devastating crises caused by a president believing he is above the law has set the most dangerous precedent a once-free people can imagine. To encourage and reward lawlessness by refusing to enforce the will of the people as proven by laws passed by our political representatives is the signature of a tyrant. In this case, Obama’s refusal to enforce immigration laws and his blatant suggestion that his chosen illegal activity will be rewarded are proof of his tyrannical tactics. The recent numerous manipulated “crises” have the media pinging and ponging trying to keep up with what is the scandal of the day, which one overshadows another, and how will they distract next, and who’s on first?! Purposeful decisions causing these crises are meant to overload the system, justify abuse of executive power to “fix” it all, and ultimately tighten control of the people.

And she ends by saying she wants the major expenditure to be jet fuel to send all these children home. How exactly they get matched back to their parents or even how border agents will know which country they go to is not of interest to her. It’s not even a stretch to suggest that were it up to her to execute, they’d all be dumped in the wrong country where they would face a new humanitarian crisis, but not here, so she would no longer be interested.
Of course an unsecured border and the prospect of more generous welfare benefits might be enough to get someone to cross and take advantage. She’s right about that— because she tells a story about how her family crossed into Canada to take advantage of free Canadian healthcare when she was young.
But still, the accusation that Obama created a humanitarian crisis with foreign children is laying it on a little thick, even by Palin standards. It’s up there with her lie about “Death Panels”, which were actually to pay doctors to discuss what types of life saving measures (if any) patients wanted instead of leaving it to their families to decide.
So, for saying Obama enticed people to send their children illegally to the US so they can become anchors to pull in all the rest of their clan, Sarah Palin is the Asshole of the Day.
It is Sarah Palin's seventh time time as Asshole of the Day. Previous wins include:
saying that by becoming a grandmother Hillary will adopt conservative views
making a huge “scandal” out of a president having someone hold an umbrella
saying black people don’t understand her definition of slavery
defending Phil Robertson’s homophobic, racist interview without even reading it
saying Putin invaded Crimea because Obama wears “mom jeans”
saying if she were in charge “waterboarding is how we’d baptize terrorists”
criticizing Obama for bringing home Bowe Bergdahl after she had publicly prayed for Bergdahl’s return
Full story: Sarah Palin Facebook page

assholeofday:

Sarah Palin, Asshole of the Day for June 16, 2014

by TeaPartyCat ()

It’s not often you see Sarah Palin criticize Republicans and Democrats alike for the same thing, which is really no surprise really when Mitch McConnell and others conspired in 2009 to make sure that Republicans never, ever voted for anything with Obama. In 5 years they’ve pretty much been the Grand Old not-Obama Party.

But with the growing crisis in detention centers along the border, St. Sarah of the North gives Republicans an equal share of blame for doing nothing. Both parties, she says, must do something.

And then, before anyone can think about giving her a primary challenge from the right for being bipartisan and soft on immigration like Eric Cantor, she launches into a diatribe about how Obama caused it, even though of course she expects both parties to fix it:

So, GOP and Democrats alike, where are you on this humanitarian issue of child abuse?

Hang on to your hat, because here’s the issue: Barack Obama has orchestrated this newest “crisis” in order to overload the system with the intention of “fixing” the problems his own policies create – by fiat, and that infamous phone and pen; screw the rule of law. He’s warned you by proudly claiming his executive orders can bypass the peoples’ representatives and obviously ignore the will of the people.

This exploitation of foreigners’ children is an inhumane ploy to entice families to break laws by literally shoving kids across one of Obama’s infamous and irrelevant lines, with assurance that parents, aunties, step-uncles and third cousins twice removed will get to cut in line too – that sacred line that previously led law abiding, hardworking immigrants to build this great nation. Barack Obama will keep phoning in and penning the message that he will NOT secure borders, so, hey, extended undocumented relatives, you’re free to join the kids being used and abused to snag that golden ticket. Obama surely knows a nation is not a nation without borders, while we must surely know this is the “fundamental transformation of America” that he promised and some of us warned about.

Congress and American voters, how long will you let Team Obama get away with this? The recent avalanche of devastating crises caused by a president believing he is above the law has set the most dangerous precedent a once-free people can imagine. To encourage and reward lawlessness by refusing to enforce the will of the people as proven by laws passed by our political representatives is the signature of a tyrant. In this case, Obama’s refusal to enforce immigration laws and his blatant suggestion that his chosen illegal activity will be rewarded are proof of his tyrannical tactics. The recent numerous manipulated “crises” have the media pinging and ponging trying to keep up with what is the scandal of the day, which one overshadows another, and how will they distract next, and who’s on first?! Purposeful decisions causing these crises are meant to overload the system, justify abuse of executive power to “fix” it all, and ultimately tighten control of the people.

And she ends by saying she wants the major expenditure to be jet fuel to send all these children home. How exactly they get matched back to their parents or even how border agents will know which country they go to is not of interest to her. It’s not even a stretch to suggest that were it up to her to execute, they’d all be dumped in the wrong country where they would face a new humanitarian crisis, but not here, so she would no longer be interested.

Of course an unsecured border and the prospect of more generous welfare benefits might be enough to get someone to cross and take advantage. She’s right about that— because she tells a story about how her family crossed into Canada to take advantage of free Canadian healthcare when she was young.

But still, the accusation that Obama created a humanitarian crisis with foreign children is laying it on a little thick, even by Palin standards. It’s up there with her lie about “Death Panels”, which were actually to pay doctors to discuss what types of life saving measures (if any) patients wanted instead of leaving it to their families to decide.

So, for saying Obama enticed people to send their children illegally to the US so they can become anchors to pull in all the rest of their clan, Sarah Palin is the Asshole of the Day.

It is Sarah Palin's seventh time time as Asshole of the Day. Previous wins include:

Full story: Sarah Palin Facebook page

(via thepoliticalfreakshow)

h/t: http://www.pfaw.org/rww-in-focus/persecution-complex-religious-right-s-deceptive-rallying-cry

h/t: Catherine Thompson at TPM

h/t: Tom Kludt at TPM

crooksandliars:

Hannity And Palin Bring Back Tired 'Death Panels' Myth To Attack Obama Over VA

They got their pound of flesh, but you can be sure it’s not going to put an end to attacks like this one. Here’s Princess Dumbass of the Northwoods (h/t Charlie Pierce) and screeching Hannity from his live show at the Republican Leadership Conference last night.

From Fox’s blog: Palin: Obama Shows ‘Lack of Understanding’ of Debt of Gratitude to Military:

“I think there’s a lack of understanding on our commander-in-chief’s part about what the mission of the military is, and why it is that we owe a debt of gratitude that’s manifested in benefits paid to those who’ve already earned them,” Palin said.

Palin ripped President Obama’s speech to West Point cadets this week, calling it “weak,” and went on to say that she doesn’t think Obama believes in American exceptionalism.

“It’s not that we are weak as a country, but we are so unreliable now, under Obama,” Palin said. “My concern is the effect that his doctrine, his policies, his attitude, has on those who are volunteering to serve this country — to those whom we owe a debt of gratitude.”

read more

h/t: Kyle Mantyla at RWW

h/t: Katie McDonough at Salon

h/t: Catherine Thompson at TPM

NRA swag

INDIANAPOLIS— The theme of last week’s National Rifle Association annual meeting was an odd one: maternity.

It was not an official theme in the way macho slogans like “All In” and “Stand and Fight” have formally defined recent NRA congresses. But it was a thick running thread, one that signals the quickening of a broad shift underway across the gun rights movement, from the gun makers to the grassroots.

Red schwag set the tone. At tables throughout the complex, NRA staffers handed out “I’m an NRA MOM” buttons and t-shirts. At the building’s main entrance hung an enormous banner of a woman, looking a little pouty, next to a populist taunt of former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who recently said he would spend big on behalf of the gun safety movement.

While it is unclear if the woman is an NRA mom, she is notably not NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre or board member Ted Nugent. The billboard captures perfectly the NRA’s double-pronged messaging campaign of the moment, best summarized as “Glocker Moms against Mayor Mike.”

NRA banner

For years the role of women in the politics and business of guns has been growing. We may look back at 2014 as the year it flipped. In Indianapolis, women constituted a full quarter of NRA attendees for the first time — up to a five-fold increase over the past decade, according to the group.

The NRA is pivoting quickly to adjust, and for the first time its convention program featured two major events for women. In addition to the $250-a-plate Women’s Leadership Forum Luncheon and Auction, the group held the first annual Women’s New Energy Breakfast, where female gun owners and NRA moms mixed and networked over a $15 breakfast buffet.

These same women are the target of a female-oriented media push, anchored by a running NRA web series called “Armed and Fabulous.” An early episode looks admiringly at the Potterfield women of the Midway ammunition empire, whose scion, Larry, is one of the NRA’s biggest industry donors.

The women-and-guns motif carried over into the male-dominated dog-and-pony show known as the Leadership Forum, where 2016 hopefuls bragged about their wives’ gun racks. Rick Santorum boasted that his wife owns more guns than he does, and that his five-year old daughter is already an NRA member. Indiana Governor Mike Pence talked about falling in love with his wife for her handgun. Florida Senator Marco Rubio bemoaned the paperwork required for his female staffers to carry and conceal. And after two years in which Glenn Beck delivered the keynote, this year’s honor fell to the pistol-packin’ Mama Grizzly, Sarah Palin.

What’s going on? The modern NRA is, above all, a thinly veiled industry group. Its “mom” offensive reflects basic gun industry economics: manufacturers’ continued growth depends in no small part on making up for the duck and deer hunting demographic, which has been static or declining for generations.

The industry hopes that women can be their growth market. Thus far its degree of success is anyone’s guess. Anecdotal evidence and some polling shows an increase in female gun ownership in recent years. But according to the General Social Survey, the gold standard for survey research, only 12 percent of women owned guns in 2012, a lower level than in the mid-1990s.    

Whether or not there’s a real demographic sea change at hand, the transformation is unfolding in the gun media, both popular and trade, where designers and analysts discuss the need for new models representing the past and future of the industry. Gun makers are rolling out more rifles fitted for arthritic fingers, as well as handguns like the Pavona pistol, “designed for the discerning woman.”

Gun swag

There is also a political dimension. Following the Sandy Hook massacre, Shannon Watts opened a new front in the gun debate by founding Moms Demand Action For Gun Sense in America, which now claims 130,000 moms as members and chapters in all 50 states. The group’s calls for common-sense gun-reform sparked new life in a grassroots gun-reform movement that needed a boost. Last year Watts’ group merged with Bloomberg’s Mayors Against Illegal Guns, giving it money to go with its grassroots muscle. Watts’ success created a frame that put the gun lobby on the wrong side of the gender divide.

The result was the image makeover rolled out in Indianapolis. A couple of years ago, in St. Louis, the group unveiled a testosterone-heavy election 2012 media campaign centered around Chuck Norris and R. Lee “Gunny” Ermey, best known as the donut-hating drill sergeant in Full Metal Jacket. Last weekend, the NRA unveiled a modern look: slick ads that prominently featured women and people of color.

After drawing criticism in the wake of Sandy Hook for the paranoid ranting of white male spokespeople like LaPierre, the NRA has spent the last 18 months building a diverse bench. It now employs seven commentators for its NRA News media wing, including three women (Natalie Foster, Gabby Franco, and Nikki Turpeaux), an African American (Colion Noir), and Chris Cheng, an Asian-American who has declared himself “gay for guns.”

Meanwhile, young women like CNN’s S.E. Cupp, The Blaze’s Dana Loesch, and Fox News’ Katie Pavlich regularly appear on cable news to provide the NRA’s line on the gun issue.

The NRA mom meme isn’t just a top-down thing coming from Fairfax. While strolling the gun show floor — a 40,000 square-foot maze of merchants exhibiting everything from gun insurance to fully automatic, sub-compact “greasers" — I ran into Kyle Coplen, the affable young CEO of the Armed Citizen Project, a non-profit that offers free shotguns and training to residents of high-crime neighborhoods. He was handing out his own mom-themed schwag, and said he’d been doing it for months. The shirts he designed show a female silhouette holding a child’s hand with one arm, a shotgun with the other. With a nod to shirts found in the tourist shops of South Beach and the French Quarter, it reads: "I support single moms."

Coplen explained that he’s currently arming all kinds of moms. “We’ve trained and armed women in wheelchairs and women with special needs children,” he said. So far, his donated shotguns have all been traditional steel and wood, but he’d have no problem handing out guns in the increasingly popular hot pink. “The idea of banning pink guns is part of the liberal anti-gunners ‘war on women’,” he said.  

I’d heard the same thing earlier that morning in a park opposite the convention center. There, a coalition of new pro-gun mom groups took advantage of perfect spring weather and rallied under the slogan, “Armed Moms United to Protect.” Suburban and middle-class, they were textbook Glocker Moms. There weren’t many of them, but they all seemed to have their own mom group.

Whether these groups were letterhead organizations or represented a genuine phenomenon among the brassroots is hard to say. But they do seem serious. Most have registered as 501(c)3’s and some are also functioning as PACs. The groups sponsoring the Saturday rally included Moms With Guns Demand Action, Indiana Moms Against Gun Control, and 1 Million Moms Against Gun Control. Some of them had mom-guns in their mom-jeans.

I asked one of them, Linda Elliot of 1 Million Moms Against Gun Control, how many mom groups like hers had sprung up. “Too many to count probably,” she said. “The rhetorical terrain is shifting toward women, so our message is that it’s okay to be a mom and own guns. I hate to give Shannon Watts any credit, but when she threw such a tempter tantrum, it kind of exploded.”

The Glocker Moms’ message may be tailored for women, but they are going to have trouble with that broad political hinge group once famous as Soccer Moms. As I approached their rally, the gun lobbyist and hard-right operator Larry Pratt, who runs the NRA rival Gun Owners of America, was praising Cliven Bundy as an American hero (this was after Bundy’s comments on the state of “the Negro”).

Pratt, who has consorted with neo-Nazis and other extremists over the years, may be the scariest mother of them all. If Linda Elliot wants to cultivate non-rural female gun ownership and activism, her group might want to stop associating with people with long records of conspiratorial and racist commentary.

Pratt is a minor obstacle if the goal is bringing more women to the gun movement. The NRA’s board of directors tolerates a culture shot through with misogyny. Earlier this year, Nugent became the subject of a firestorm of controversy after he was invited to campaign with the GOP’s candidate for governor of Texas and state Democrats responded by highlighting his inflammatory commentary on women.

Larry Pratt

Later that afternoon, back at the gun show, I asked Jan Morgan of Armed American Women about this tension. Morgan had keynoted the “Armed Moms” rally with a speech that blended gun-policy with attacks on liberals and abortion rights, delivered while wearing a pistol prominently strapped around her calf. She said pro-gun women should make their case in the context of protecting life, and that means tying it to anti-abortion politics. “Look, if anti-gun liberals are going to talk about banning guns to protect children, then they need to look at abortion,” she said.

Whether most women agree with her on abortion or not, she said there was no stopping the surge in women buying guns. “Women [gun owners] are the largest growing group because of the level of crime, the number of mass shootings,” she said. “They understand the best way to protect yourself and your children is with a gun. They’re gonna have a huge impact on the movement. Shannon Watts and Bloomberg are going to regret opening up the language of ‘moms’.”

Shannon Watts, the original Gun Debate Mom and an Indianapolis native, was in town for the weekend. On Saturday, she led a 300-mom strong “stroller jam” in protest a few blocks north of the convention center. On Sunday, she unveiled a Mothers Dream Quilt and released a new report, “Not Your Grandparents’ NRA.” The latter was written under the imprimatur of her new group, Everytown for Gun Safety.

Watts’ report focused on the NRA’s growing political radicalism, but the gender shift is leaving pink streaks that are also unlike anything in the group’s history. Few were the exhibits on the gun show floor that did not feature products catering to women. We are now well past the novelty of a pink AR-15 here, a sparkled pistol there. Today’s woman has holsters and targets of her own. In Indy, the Law Enforcement Targets booth had already sold out of its bestselling pink shooting target, sales of which benefit not the NRA’s “round-up” program, but breast cancer research and awareness. “Our new line of female targets is selling like crazy,” said a company rep. Down the aisle, the first company to market exclusively to the woman shooter, the Ontario-based Packing In Pink, likewise did a brisk trade.

"Industry is finally catching up with us," said Linda Elliot of 1 Million Moms. "A few years ago it was hard to find a holster or gun that fit a woman’s hand."

As the convention was winding down on Sunday afternoon, I chatted with Alan Gottlieb, the man who anticipated all of this. Gottlieb was sitting unassumingly in his trademark bowtie, signing up new members for his gun-rights group, the Second Amendment Foundation. Most NRA members have never heard of Gottlieb, but he is among the most important figures in the development of the modern gun-rights movement. His group, not the NRA, built the legal team and the strategy behind the landmark Supreme Court gun cases of McDonald and Heller, not to mention dozens of important state-level suits. Among the literature arrayed before him was the current issue of a magazine called Women and Guns, which he has been publishing since 1989. A long-term strategist, Gottlieb dismissed the “mom” boom as a silly marketing arms race and a distraction from larger trends.

"It’s not just about ‘moms,’" said Gottlieb. "The future is about all of the non-traditional groups: single women, the LGBT community, people living in cities, Hispanics who come to this country to enjoy our freedoms, including Second Amendment rights. Those are the only places we can grow. That’s where you find the future of the gun-rights movement."

As he began packing up his materials, I asked Gottlieb if the rapid adoption of maternal messaging — by the NRA, by the Glocker Moms, by industry — might not betray a fear, or at least a nervousness, that suburban women and mothers, if unchallenged, could swing the political momentum toward serious gun reform.

"Fear? Look around," he said, gesturing at the bustling arms bazaar extending in every direction.

"No, I really don’t think these guys are too worried about their future." 

h/t: Alexander Zaitchik at MMFA