Sarah Palin—Susan B. Anthony List Celebration of Life Breakfast: Analysis

Photo Courtesy: Gage Skidmore

Photo Courtesy: Gage Skidmore

On May 14, 2010, the Susan B. Anthony List hosted the Celebration of Life breakfast at the Ronald Reagan building in Washington, D.C. Former Alaskan Governor, Sarah Palin, headlined the fundraiser as the keynote speaker. In her keynote address, Palin pushed a pro-life agenda amidst the season of midterm elections. The following are the claims that Palin addressed in her keynote.

  • “Ronald Reagan was always so supportive of women leadership.”
    • Although there is not verified source that accurately testifies to this statement, Reagan did appoint Sandra Day O’Connor, the first female Supreme Court justice in 1981. He also frequently supported the National Federation of Republican Women.
  • “He [Ronald Reagan] often liked to tell a story about his good friend and another hero, Margaret Thatcher.”
    • Palin was correct about this. Nicholas Wapshott, author of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher: A Political Marriage, mentioned how he liked to elaborate on the story of his encounter with Conservative Party old-timers and their conversation about Thatcher (p. 91). Intrigued by the political relationship between Reagan and Thatcher, Wapshott interviewed as well as analyzed hundreds of declassified private letters and phone calls to uncover and understand the “political soulmates.”
  • “He first met her before she became prime minister and it was a trip he took to England while governor of California.
    • Thatcher first met Reagan in 1975 at the House of Commons in London. According to USA Today, Thatcher recalled that meeting in a 1997 speech at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C.
  • Former U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher in Aspen Lodge, 1984. Photo courtesy: Wikipedia.

    Former U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher in Aspen Lodge, 1984. Photo courtesy: Wikipedia.

    “He said, Lord, somebody or other come over to him and asked, ‘Well, what do you think of our Mrs. Thatcher?’ and Reagan said, ‘I think she’d make a magnificent Prime Minister’ and the British Lord said, ‘Oh, my dear fellow, a woman prime minister?’ and Reagan replied, ‘Well, you had a queen named Victoria who did pretty well.’ ”

    • Semi-true. This is mostly because Palin did not directly quote Reagan. According to Wapshott, Reagan replied to the old-timer by saying, “England once had a queen named Victoria who did rather well.” The mystery man replied stating, “By Jove, I’d forgotten about that.”
  • “Thatcher liked to say in politics, “You want something said? Ask a man. You want something done? Ask a woman.”
  • “And Washington, let me tell you, you no doubt don’t want to mess with moms who are rising up, they’re in Alaska. I always think of the mama grizzly bears that ride up on their hind legs when somebody is coming to attack their cub—to do something adverse to their cub. No, the mama grizzlies rear up. If you though pit bulls were tough, you don’t want to mess with the mama grizzlies.”
    • Grizzly bears do rear up their cubs…but for two-to-three years. This is not the first time Palin uses this grizzly bear analogy. Two years ago from this speaking date, Palin used the same analogy in an interview with Brenda Blackmon at WWOR-TV/MY9 studios while she was campaigning as the Vice President nominee in the 2008 election.
  • “And women leading the grassroots people’s movement, many of the tea party leaders, most of them are women.”
    • There were eight board members of the Tea Party Patriots who served as coordinators for the movement in 2010—six of these coordinators were women. Slate also reported that of 25 state coordinators, 15 of them are women.
  • “Women like your namesake and like Elizabeth Katie Stanton, Sarah Norton, and Alice Paul, who of course was the author of the original Equal Rights Amendment back in 1923, who said “Abortion is the ultimate exploitation of women”
    • According to the Congressional Record, the official record of the proceeding and debates of the U.S. Congress, Alice Paul did state this and was the original author of the Equal Rights Amendment.
  • Both genders mostly identify as pro-life. Graph Courtesy: Gallup website.

    Both genders mostly identify as pro-life.
    Graph Courtesy: Gallup website.

    “Today, polling shows that more young women agree with these feminists foremothers than ever before and believe in that culture of life.”

    • According to a report by Gallup in May 2010, 48% of American women identified as pro-life, a four percent increase from 2007/2008. 49% of men, on the other hand, also identified as pro-life.
  • “A Gallup poll showed for the first time in 14 years there are more Americans proudly proclaiming themselves as pro-life understanding that sanctity of life than ever before”
    • False! The Gallup poll from May 2010 stated that this was the third consecutive time they have found more Americans considering themselves pro-life, meaning that there was a real change in public opinion.
  • “Far too long, when people heard the word feminist, they thought of that faculty lounge at some east coast women’s college, right?”
    • There are no sources that verify this relic in the idelogy of feminism.
  • “I’d like to remind you of another feminist tradition, kind of a Western feminism. It’s influenced by the pioneering spirit of our foremothers who went in wagon trains across the wilderness, and they settled in homesteads. And these were tough, independent, pioneering mothers whose work was as valuable as any man’s on the frontier, and it’s no surprise that our western states that gave women the vote, the right to vote way before their east coast sisters in a more general gentile city got it right.”
    • Palin took a rather unique approach in re-defining the new emerging conservative feminism. According to History Today, by 1913, 11 western states extended the vote to women.
  • “I’m proud to call myself a western conservative in the tradition of Ronald Reagan! Ronald Reagan, understanding those western values—those small town values.”
    • Yes, Reagan was from Tampico, Il., a small town 110 miles west of Chicago.

To watch the full keynote address by Palin, click here.


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