My Mom Is Changing The World (and you are too)

I’m feeling very empowered right now, so either run or duck.

I realize I get this way a lot…but something hit me today on the way home from BlogHer DC where I spent a day with hundreds of women (and a few men) plotting our world domination. (what? that’s totally what we do when we get together…you didn’t know that?)

I keep thinking about my mom*.

I know that sounds strange, she’s not a blogger or anything. But as I sat on my panel saying the things I also said at other conferences to audiences…my whole spiel about how womens’ power and influence now have the candidates courting us, not us going after them…how we’re dictating the news cycle…and how our work is actually making a difference….yada yada yada…

It hit me that my MOM is my one, Florida-living, Nana-microcosm of exactly what I mean.

Reading blogs (my Mom is a hesitant** reader of Queen of Spain, an avid reader of BlogHer, and she’s now a fangirl of MOMocrats -she thinks you momo’s are ‘sassy’ and ‘I just LOVE them’ about 50 times per phone conversation) my Mom has gained her own empowerment in this election and it pushed her out the door and to her local Obama HQ.

My Mom.

My Mom who always voted but that was about it. My Mom would tell my Dad and Uncle to stop arguing about politics and come eat. My Mom who now calls ME to yell about something she reads or sees.

Erin, uuuuuuugh I just couldn’t stand the look Palin got on her face when she answered that question…and she didn’t even ANSWER IT! ugh!

My Mom who went from volunteering to do a few phone calls for Obama, hesistant…to now attending volunteer BBQ’s and knocking on over 150 doors.

My. MOM.

She now knows, as do I…that she’s making a difference in Florida. When the latest poll came out, I very seriously said ‘It’s ALL Nancy! If Obama wins Florida, it’s because of Nanc!’

But that’s what’s happening everywhere. Using the tools of the web, people like MY MOM..the NONblogger, NONpolitico are getting fired up and doing what they can to make sure their voice is heard.

My Mom has been heard in Florida.

The woman sitting in the second to last row who submitted a question during a panel at BlogHer ’07, had THAT question, HER question, answered by Senator Obama on

A group of women blogging on this whacky world wide web can command the attention of each campaign, of the main stream media, and sit our sassy asses on CNN to tell THEM our expert opinion.

I always knew one person could make a difference. I always believed that if people wanted change, it really could happen. I always preached about the potential power we had in this space and at this time…But I honestly had never seen it in action until now.

Right now.

It’s amazing and I am empowered.

I hope you are too.

*..and apologies to my mom for not asking her first if I could blog this…but it’s too late to call Florida. Sorry Mom. But I hope it helps that you are totally a rockstar for getting out there and making a difference.

**…if you were my mom you’d probably be a hesitant reader of me too, ’cause lord only knows what I’ll say next.

It’s Stuff Like This…

Let’s not talk about the kid…let’s talk about policy and politics. Forget WHY we are having this discussion, but we still need to have this discussion. And while we’re at it, let’s talk abstinence only education, family leave, affordable child care, and yes…funding for programs for teenage mothers.

From the Washington Post: h/t reader The Truffle

By Paul Kane
ST. PAUL — Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the Republican vice-presidential nominee who revealed Monday that her 17-year-old daughter is pregnant, earlier this year used her line-item veto to slash funding for a state program benefiting teen mothers in need of a place to live.

After the legislature passed a spending bill in April, Palin went through the measure reducing and eliminating funds for programs she opposed. Inking her initials on the legislation — “SP” — Palin reduced funding for Covenant House Alaska by more than 20 percent, cutting funds from $5 million to $3.9 million. Covenant House is a mix of programs and shelters for troubled youths, including Passage House, which is a transitional home for teenage mothers.

According to Passage House’s web site, its purpose is to provide “young mothers a place to live with their babies for up to eighteen months while they gain the necessary skills and resources to change their lives” and help teen moms “become productive, successful, independent adults who create and provide a stable environment for themselves and their families.”

Palin’s own daughter, Bristol, is five months pregnant and has plans to wed.


We took down the ribbon.

My daughter takes down the yellow ribbon, her uncle is home!

We retired the flag.

Retiring our Flag

15 months. Second time. Safe.


Now I’m off to Denver to see our next President who will hopefully bring ALL our brave men and women home.

A Lesson On What IS News, And What is NOT

“But it’s NOT NEWS…”

I remember it so clearly.

I was nearly screaming it at the top of my lungs.

I fought with my news director from 4am to 5am begging her to change our lead story to no avail.

She was leading with “Tabloid Talk Heats Up Over Alleged Clinton Affair” and I was cringing as I had to read the words.

I couldn’t believe our 24-hour news station was leading with a sex scandal alleged in a tabloid. I was disgusted. Baffled. Humiliated.

It took about 24-48 hours before it was all anyone was talking about and the name Monica Lewinsky leapt from the likes of the Washington Post and the New York Times.

It didn’t matter if I thought it was news. It didn’t matter if a mother in Orlando had been murdered that morning or if police had once again swept homeless off the streets of downtown…all that mattered was it was “sexy” and “sexy sells.”

Sexy cost this country millions upon millions of dollars while we all debated what the definition of ‘is’ is and several families’ lives were changed forever.

So now, every time I see a sex scandal splashed across my tv screen, or main stream media anchors alluding to tabloids…I realize we’re on the path for yet another “sexy” headline to whip news directors into a frenzy and distract for our attention elsewhere.

The MOMocrat love for Elizabeth and John Edwards is no secret. Their activism and contributions to this country inspire us without question. Their marriage, unless subsidized by my tax dollars, isn’t my business.

Maybe you think it’s yours. Maybe you think it speaks to character. Maybe you would never vote for a Spitzer or Craig or Clinton.

Maybe you find all of that more important than today’s real headlines that include:

Police: Killer Targeted Church for Liberal Views

Female Bombers Target Pilgrims

Or how about

White House Projects Record Deficit for 2009

I’m posting this because I do agree with my friend Lee Stranahan. It doesn’t matter what I think is important; the GOP machine will chug and churn and try and turn tabloids into multi-million dollar taxpayer time sucks. They will drag a family’s business through the mud and back. They will try and run the news cycle, the spin, and even the private lives of citizens.

It will be a story whether we want it to be one or not, and whether there is currently a reporter in a newsroom screaming ‘But it’s NOT news!!!’ at the top of her lungs.

It won’t matter of nothing comes of it, if everything comes of it, or if everyone involved is happy and content.

It won’t even matter if none of this is true.

It will be news.

I sincerely hope this is all I ever write on the matter, but I doubt. I sincerely hope there are no ‘legs,’ as they say, to this story.

I sincerely doubt it’s just going to go away.

It might not be news, but it sure is “sexy.”

So I will continue to point out all of the real news going on, while everyone else speculates on tabloids. I will continue to remind people we are at war and people are dying.

I will continue to yell “But it’s NOT news!”

And hope someone listens.

Crossposted at

Going to the Chapel

I’m not going to lie.

My brain still fuzzy after the 4th’s fireworks and libations, I had to rub my eyes and go get my glasses upon reading this morning’s headlines.

Obama: Mental distress can’t justify late abortion

My heart sank.

Then I had to clear the cobwebs from my brain and process what was being said before I cried into my Women for Obama t-shirt.

Here is the short version, and what went on in my head as I read:

Senator Obama did an interview with some Christian magazine and said

Obama said prohibitions on late-term abortions must contain “a strict, well defined exception for the health of the mother.”

Obama then added: “Now, I don’t think that ‘mental distress’ qualifies as the health of the mother. I think it has to be a serious physical issue that arises in pregnancy, where there are real, significant problems to the mother carrying that child to term.”

In my head:

oh holy hell, is he pandering to the right with this crap? are you kidding me? why would he even talk about limits and and definitions when the women’s vote is being so heavily courted by Senator McCain…is he talking about limits on just late term or could this carry over into ‘mental distress’ in any termination of pregnancy and what exactly qualifies as ‘mental distress’ and who gets to decide and why is the government even INVOLVED in this and why on earth wold he say some like that to a Christian magazine and would he have said the same to planned parenthood and what in the hell is going on with my candidate because I realize this whole ‘move to the center’ thing is really just people educating themselves on where he has ALWAYS stood but has he always stood against mental distress/late term abortion stuff….crap I need coffee.

I then hinted to fellow Huffington Post contributor Lee Stranahan that he was welcome to drive the extra 20 minutes to deliver me a latte, since he was already out getting one for his wife. Lee politely mentioned something about gas prices and I begrudgingly made myself a pot.

I’m now two cups in and ready to break this down a bit so no one gets hysterical and suffers the same caffeine-free heart failure I did a few hours ago.

NARAL endorsed Obama. They believe “A health exception must also account for the mental health problems that may occur in pregnancy. Severe fetal anomalies, for example, can exact a tremendous emotional toll on a pregnant woman and her family.”

If Obama acts on his position, he’d be going against NARAL and other pro-choice entities.

However, Obama spokespeople stress “Obviously, as he stated in the interview, he has consistently believed those exceptions should be clear and limited enough to ensure that they don’t undermine the prohibition on late-term abortions.”

Which I HOPE means he’s not going to push that provision because it would undermine.

We will need clarification on that before we all go crazy here.

I’ll be the first to admit late-term abortion is where my very staunch support of all reproductive rights gets clouded. It’s uncomfortable to think about, to grapple with, to imagine. However I always default to the position of NOT knowing every woman’s situation.

We also know our right to control our own reproduction is constantly under attack. The anti-choice movement takes every inch they can get on any issue on the table to tries and ‘undermine’ current laws and legislation.

The issues are varied and the debate is large and overwhelming.

Even in my own family, the discussion and debate causes problems. My husband and I disagree over parental consent and continue to go around-and-around on the topic.

I respect my husband’s opinion, but I think he’s wrong.

I respect Senator Obama’s opinion, but I think he’s wrong.

I still married my husband, and we continue to debate the issue.

I’m still voting for Obama, and expect we will continue to debate the issue.

Maybe voting is a bit like marriage.

My husband has core values that I agree with and we compromise and fight and respect each other on some of the details.

Senator Obama has a core values that I agree with…I’m guessing between FISA and this, the compromise and fight and respect on those details will also emerge.

So long as those core values remain, I’m guessing we can stay out of divorce proceedings.

So long as those core values remain, I’m guessing we can stay out of third-party candidate, write-in vote proceedings.

The Senator, like my husband, remains the best person for the job.

Although I wish they were both a bit more like Mrs. Stranahan’s husband and would bring me some coffee.

Erin Kotecki Vest is Political Director at and thinks she’s Queen of the World on her own blog Queen of Spain blog. She also contributes over at MOMocrats where even her non-coffee bringing husband has guest posted so the entire family can Rage Against the McCain.

Cindy McCain is No Baby Mama

Or Laura Bush. Or Barbara Bush. Or Hillary Clinton. Or myself.


We’re white.

As discussion swirls around ‘fist-bumps’ and so-called ‘news stations’ labeling the next potential First Lady as ‘Obama’s Baby Mama’ let us all be very clear: racism is not ok just because it’s on Fox.

It is not ok because it’s in West Virginia or Kentucky. It’s not ok because it’s part of the culture or the heritage or the geography.It is certainly not ok as the caption on a major cable news network, regardless of their ‘right’ leanings.I may be as white and suburban as Cindy…strike that…maybe McCain’s first wife is a better example, either way I KNOW ‘baby mama’ is certainly not meant as a term of endearment.I’m sure Mr. ProducerMan at Fox News thought maybe tagging it under ‘Outraged Liberals: Stop Picking on Obama’s Baby Mama!’ would blame this on Democrats or maybe just ‘progressives.’

Nice try asshat.

What part of ‘we are not stupid’ do you fail to get?

Let’s also be clear, the ‘blogger’ you see in the clip, Michelle Malkin, would be branded a ‘baby mama’ far quicker than I ever would. I wonder how she feels about this racism and sexism going on as she sits and spins for the GOP that uses her skin color to gain credibility with minorities? (yes, GOP, we see what you are doing)

Oh wait, apparently she thinks it’s ok because Michelle Obama has been treated with kid gloves and allegedly used the term ‘baby daddy.’

She’s kidding, right?

Sadly, she is not kidding.

Here is what that half of America is missing:

This has nothing to do with feeling the next first lady is ‘off limits.’

I expect everyone within an inch of Senator Obama be scrutinized.

I also fully expect Michelle Obama can take care of herself, and do not for one second worry the media is too hard on her or the right-wing bloggers too nasty. I get the distinct feeling Michelle Obama would and will handle herself as I would expect any strong, American woman.

Any strong, American woman who’s not a Republican, anyway.

What I will not do, however, is sit by and watch sexism and racism on national news. THIS woman might moan and groan over feminism and Clinton, over which supporters are voting McCain and which are too angry to kiss and make up with the Democratic party, but just as we called-out sexism with the Senator from New York, we are calling it out with the rhetoric surrounding Michelle Obama.

Let’s ask that producer if he would put the caption ‘Bush’s Baby Mama’ under First Lady Laura Bush. Of course not, because Laura Bush is white.

Maybe Fox News would consider ‘Trailer Trash Mama‘ under their next First Lady caption?

Or would THAT be offensive? Playing into stereotypes?

Of course it would.

How about a ‘McCain’s Stepford Wife’ under the next Cindy McCain story?

Of course not, Fox would never dream of anything so crass and offensive while labeling the woman who could be the next First Lady.

Yet Fox is fine with ‘Baby Mama’ as the words describing Michelle Obama.


It’s called racism, sexism, and it is as clear as Rupert Murdoch’s bias.

Yes, Stefania at MOMocrats has it right:

“Just who do you think your audience is, Fox News? A bunch of 11-year-olds? Didn’t you forget to call her Obama’s ‘boo’ as well as his ‘shorty?’ /eyeroll It would be so easy to get outraged by this, but instead these tactics make me howl with laughter, because it shows that the right is scared out of their minds. Yesterday’s ‘terrorist fist jab’ is today’s Obama baby mama. Tomorrow will bring something worse, but it ain’t gonna make their cause look any better. The Republicans are are going to get handled come November. This I know…

In the immortal words of Kimora Lee Simmons, MOMocrats co-founder Stefania Pomponi Butler ‘will beat a bitch’s ass’ for messing with our country’s next First Lady.”

Updated: Liza at Culture Kitchen gives us a background reminder on Malkin.

Erin Kotecki Vest also blogs at Queen of Spain blog,, and She thinks Fox News can suck it.

Let’s DO This Thing

Truth time.

You are not over it.

I am not over it.

There are threats to vote McCain.

There are snarks about older white women.

There are accusations of it being my (and other women who voted Obama) fault Clinton didn’t break that ‘ultimate glass ceiling.’

There are sore winners, sore losers, and even discussion of what our daughters will take away from this, other than our inability to STOP fighting.

So I say, time to get it out all out there. Time to lay it all on the table and say every nasty thing, or upsetting thing, or even offensive thing you need to say. Time to fight it out with that Obama supporter. Time to fight it out with that Clinton backer.

Time to do what we need to do in order to move on.

It’s time to stop pitting women against women.

After we have our virtual pillow fight, I’m not talking about it anymore.

Unless of course, Clinton fucks up again (see, see why I need to do this? I have issues! ISSUES!)

7pm Pacific. We’ll start off on Stickam so as many people as possible get a chance to yell and scream and cry.

and then with any luck…by the wee hours of the morning, we’ll be back to feeling ya-ya.

What happens here tonight, stays here tonight.And if you are lucky you’ll win some skin care products to take away the bags under your eyes tomorrow morning from all the crying.

So we’re having it out in this virtual Red Tent to emerge stronger. And also to learn why each side is so entrenched so we can understand and come together.

Dear Senator Hillary Clinton, Please Step Down (the re-post)

 It seemed only appropriate that on the day where Senator Obama may get all the delegates he needs to end this primary race, I reiterate my call to Senator Clinton.

A  lot has changed since I wrote this post on February 12, 2008. I no longer have the respect for the Senator I once did. I no longer trust her campaign or her motives. My first inkling was way back when she swore she wasn’t running for office, or for the senate, or for president. And those Clinton haters wouldn’t buy it for a second. Here we are in 2008 and she’s a Senator from New York and a presidential hopeful.

Fool me once.

I’ve seen sexism played out against her, and I’ve seen her use it to her advantage. The Clinton campaign has denied gender is an issue and played the victim of misogyny on the same day, out-loud, in the media.

I have even watched her use the GOP fear-tactics we all have rallied against in the current administration.

Yet time and time again I’ve wanted to give her the benefit of the doubt. Time and time again, with my anger boiling over, I’ve conceded that she’s tough and brilliant.

She is not the candidate I thought I knew when this race began, and if Senator Clinton cares at all about winning back my respect or at the very least making sure there is a Democrat in the White House-she will finally, and with  all the humility she can muster, step down.

I do not believe she has the ‘popular vote’ because she is not counting caucus voters.

I do not believe she can sway any remaining superdelegates without having them turn on the voters they represent.

I do not believe she deserves the full seating of MI and FL at the convention. I am not arguing what the states deserve. I am arguing what her campaign deserves. And we all know Clinton flip-flopped on those states when it was clear she needed them to win. Normally one would call that ‘dirty campaign tricks’ and by far something done far and wide by politicians.  I’m over the far and wide way politicians do things and how we, far and wide, just accept it as normal.

This post was written months ago with emotion and conflict. It was written in the heat of the moment, while speeches played on the tv in front of me.

Instead of yelling. Instead of getting really angry again. Instead of using hate, I am simply going to re-post.

You can find the original post and it’s comments here.

This is a very hard letter for me to write, so please bear with me.

I’d like to ask you, with all due respect and humility, to step down as a Democratic Candidate for President of the United States.

Please understand this is not because I believe you can not or should not lead this nation. Please understand that I find you qualified, capable, and worthy. Please also understand I want nothing more than to see a female as the leader of the free world. I would be pleased and honored if you were that female.

However I am finding, right or wrong, many citizens of this country seem to react to you on an emotional level. Emotional, not practical. They can’t seem to see your record. They can’t seem to see your policy. They just hear or read “Hillary” and venom or praise spews.

I thought that with your candidacy, would come reason. I thought that you would be able to get a fair shake by main stream media, by voters, by sexists, and by soccer moms. I thought over time people would begin to see that you really are an effective politician.

I was wrong.

Tonight, I’m typing as I watch you speak in El Paso, Texas. I’m sad. There really is no other way to put it-I’m sad.

I truly believed you would be the best person for the job, and I had this nagging thought in the back of my mind that is now at the forefront. The thought that drove me on Super Tuesday to Vote for Senator Obama and the thought that is the driving force as I write tonight: Senator Hillary Clinton divides this country.

It’s not fair. It’s not right. And under just about ANY other circumstance I would go to the mat for you. However we are a wounded and deeply divided nation. We are a nation at war. We are a nation at odds with each-other. It’s ugly. I thought you could get people past it. I really did.

When I told myself it was gender that got people going, I refrained from asking and wanting you to step aside. Simply on principle, I wanted to see you run and win because they said it couldn’t be done. Because it was my belief, this was all about being a girl.

It’s not, and I was wrong.

I firmly believe while the gender issue has given you a handicap I hope we all one day overcome, it is NOT the reason people have a gut reaction to you or your campaign or your legacy.

Enter the Senator from Illinois, and what I think could be your true legacy. If you were to step aside now, shockingly early and shockingly un-Hilllary-like, you could galvanize an entire nation behind your party. If you were to throw your weight, and your tremendous political clout behind Senator Obama you could still change the world and make your mark in a way no one would expect and everyone would admire.

I don’t want to see you throw in the towel because the fight is too hard or the mountain too tall. I am asking you to throw it in because history is on the line. It is not the history either of us expected, however it is an equally important, momentous, earthshaking change in this country we sorely need.

Do something no one would ever expect. Do something extraordinary. Do something that changes politics as usual and changes history.

I could have never predicted having to chose between what my husband called “the lesser of two goods, not the lesser of two evils” when it came time to cast my vote.

It was agonizing.

But in the end, with no major policy difference and valid reasons on BOTH sides, I had to go with the candidate who I thought could best bring our nation back together. Who could cross party lines and gender lines and racial lines.

I wanted it to be you, but it’s not. For some reason you still get people very riled up, and not in the good way.

There is no way around it-it sucks. But after 7 years of nothing but fighting and head shaking and feeling like we’re living in two Americas, I can’t do it again. Not even if my team is in office.

I really hate asking you to do this, but I want you to please step down and let this nation heal.

We’ve been too angry for too long and your history and your name brings a suitcase of anger to the White House front door.

With the full weight of the Clinton name, behind the scenes, your true legacy could be written. With the full weight of the Clinton know-how you could help orchestrate the next chapter in American history where an African-American leads our nation.

It is this time in history your nation needs you.

As nation’s go, ours has never been one to do things the way we predict. Who could have seen when we finally get our first, legitimate, female front runner we’d see our first, legitimate front runner of color?

Our nation and it’s people need you to do what is best for this country. We need you to be true to what you say on the stump and bring us back together.

If you firmly believe that there is still time for you to change the hearts and minds of those rude and stubborn Americans who are voting with their gut when they see “Hillary” on the ballot-then please, prove me wrong. I’ll be at the Democratic National Convention come August and I’ll hold up my Hillary sign loud and proud and fall in line.

But I think you’ve tried. You tried with everything you had to overcome that Clinton-emotional reaction. Here we are, moving into Texas and Ohio and Pennsylvania-and it’s not you winning over hearts and minds, it’s the Senator from Illinois.

Let’s end the division in this country now. Right now. Let’s start with the Democratic Party early and provide a united front against the GOP months ahead of schedule.

Let’s take back this country for the people, with you playing a much different role than you envisioned.

Make history. Make us one. Step down now.


Erin Kotecki Vest

voter, mother, woman, feminist, writer, dreamer, and Hillary fan