If Momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy. And if you've been to a tea party, you know Momma ain't happy at all.
Forget "angry white men." In the male-dominated world of conservative politics, the tea party stands out as a movement of energized and organized women. In particular, moms.
Moms like Sarah Palin, of course, who's been described as the "Momma Bear" of the tea party movement. But more important are the thousands of women at the state and local level who created this political phenomenon.
Moms like Christen Varley, the suburban mother of four who organized the successful tea party rally on Boston Common last month. Moms like Karen Miner Herd, who calls herself "one of the founding mothers" of the tea party movement in Virginia.
Her favorite tea party sign? "Menopause Was Change Enough for Me."
In fact, a recent Quinnipiac poll of voters found a majority of tea party supporters—55%—are women. To put that in perspective, only 48% of women voted for George W. Bush in 2004. And just two years ago, President Obama won 56% of the female vote.
As part of a recent book project I've been asking women around the country: Why are you angry? What is it about the tea party movement that energizes busy working moms to get even busier organizing protests?
Many women gave the most obvious answer: "If we waited around for you men to do it, it would never get done."
When I asked Christen Varley, the Boston tea party leader, she said it's because moms tend to be "the CEO's of our households. We do the shopping, bill paying, budgeting, etc. We know less money means less freedom. Maybe if the president and Congress did the grocery shopping, they'd know why we're mad."
Dana Loesch, talk host and co-founder of the St. Louis tea party, believes the tea party movement is the modern conservative version of "the personal is political."