But then I remember Rebecca Bahret, 35, a stay-at-home mom in Pinellas Park, Florida, whom I found over Twitter in October 2010 with a message reading, “Hoping to speak w/Republican women who are fired up on the right. Are you one? Know one? Send ’em my way!” One might look at her lifestyle—her son eats only organic food, and she never buys him Happy Meals—and think she’s a progressive. But as a conservative, she prefers to do those things by choice, not because of a government mandate. “As a mom, I have a lot of fear for where our country is headed, and I don’t like it,” said Bahret, who told me she voted in a midterm election for the first time in 2010. “And getting involved in the Tea Party is the only thing I think I can do to turn that around.”
And that’s when I realize: It’s her involvement that’s important right now, not what she does with it. As someone who cares deeply about politics, I am thrilled that a huge group of previously uninterested women is participating in the process for the first time. It’s impossible to predict where they will take us—or if long lines at a Palin book signing can ever turn into a Bachmann presidency—and it’s a mistake to try. There’s no way to know now if Becker and Boone and their friends will show up next fall to stuff envelopes and pass out petitions. But that doesn’t matter. Change has come to conservative women. It’s as Bahret said: “I feel like I’m awake now. And I can’t imagine going back to sleep.”
CHRISTINA BELLANTONI is the associate politics editor at Roll Call. See the rather blurry picture of her and Christine O’Donnell here.
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