Security Moms and a Shrinking Base

Michele Malkin has an op-ed in USA Today column entitled “Candidates ignore ‘security moms,’ at their peril.”

I am what this year’s election pollsters call a “security mom.” I’m married with two young children. I own a gun. And I vote. Nothing matters more to me right now than the safety of my home and the survival of my homeland. I believe in the right to defend myself, and in America’s right to defend itself against its enemies. I am a citizen of the United States, not the United Nations. I want a president who is of one mind, not two, about what must be done to protect our freedom and our borders. I don’t care about the hair on his head or the wrinkles in his forehead. I am not awed by his ability to ride a snowboard or fly a plane. Nor does it matter much to me whether his wife speaks four languages or bakes good cookies. What I want is a commander in chief who will stop pandering to political correctness and People magazine editors, and start pandering to me.


I am not alone. Professors and political analysts have observed the remarkable conversion of “soccer moms” to “security moms” since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. According to GOP pollster David Winston, “security moms” now make up between 11% and 14% of the electorate. The trend has manifested itself in increased concealed-weapons-permit applications among women; the rise of national-security-focused Web logs published by hard-hitting female “war bloggers”; and an upsurge in political activism by women on core homeland-defense issues, such as immigration enforcement.


So far, neither presidential ticket quite measures up. Judging from the touchy-feely-fest put on by the John Kerry-John Edwards campaign recently, it is clear that the Democratic Party still thinks it can win by wallowing in the Sept. 10 politics of grievance, entitlement and passivity. The Democratic presidential campaign is softer than a Kleenex tissue, when its motto should be “No More Tears.” As for the Republicans, I have supported President Bush’s war on terror overseas, but he continues to fight only a half-hearted battle to defend Americans on American soil from hostile invasion or attack. Recently, the White House revived an amnesty plan for millions of illegal aliens, and the Department of Homeland Security retreated on immigration-enforcement sweeps in Southern California. It is clear that the GOP elite gravely underestimates the wrath we security moms feel toward Washington’s fatal addiction to “cheap labor” and “cheap votes” at the expense of secure borders.

To paraphrase the Iron Lady, Margaret Thatcher: Gentlemen, this is no time to go warm and fuzzy. Security moms will never forget that toddlers and schoolchildren were incinerated in the hijacked planes on Sept. 11. Murderous Islamic fanatics will stop at nothing to do the same to our kids. As they plot our death and destruction, these enemies will not be won over by either hair-sprayed liberalism or bleeding-heart conservatism.

Neither will we.

This is in stark contrast to a long WaPo piece entitled “The Shrinking Base,” which cites anecdotal evidence that some traditional Republican voters are disenchanted with President Bush because of his over-focus on security matters, especially, the war in Iraq. For the most part, the piece strings together a handful of quotes from Reservists and their families who are angry they had to disrupt their lives to go to war.

FILED UNDER: 2004 Election, Iraq War, Terrorism, , , , , , , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Attila Girl says:

    Michelle has a point, but she often sees many issues through the single lens of immigration, and she is unable to divorce security matters from her passion regarding illegal immigration. I doubt that most security moms really regard Mexican, Salvadoran, or Puerto Rican nannies and gardeners as major security threats.

    Matter of fact, most of us think some kind of tracking system–a way of licensing and keeping track of undocumented workers–will allow us to weed out those who come here will malevolent intent much better than the Hard Right (and possibly unrealistic) approach of militarizing the border completely.

    The fact is, the economies of California, Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico would collapse without the contributions of Latin immigrants, many of them undocumented. I want someone who’s able to find a middle ground between amnesty and ignoring the problem/proposing idealized solutions. At this point, I believe Bush is finding that middle ground.

  2. Joseph Marshall says:

    “I’m married with two young children. I own a gun. And I vote.”

    Reminds me of a bumper sticker I saw the other day: “I ride lugged steel. And I vote.”

    So both parties had better attend to the wishes of serious bicylists.

    I and everybody else in this country (with the exception of major campaign contributors) thinks the politicians are ignoring them. And they are right.

    By the way, James, you don’t have any links to those hard-hitting female war bloggers do you?

  3. Attila Girl says:

    Here’s a start:

    Kathy Kinsley, On the Third Hand:

    Asymmetrical Information (Megan McArdle, AKA Jane Galt):

    Michele Catalano:

    Little Miss Attila:

  4. Joseph Marshall says:

    Thanks, Attila Girl. Entertaining reads.