My HLN Panel at the Republican National Convention

I got to go on zee teevee last week. On a cable news network. THE Cable News Network. Well … kinda. I was on the Headline News channel, otherwise known as HLN, previously known as CNN2.

Funny side note: I didn’t know that HLN stood for Headline News until someone said they saw me on Headline News. I said, “Aww, thanks! But it was Evening Express on HLN that I was on.” And then the very kind friend gently asked me what HLN stood for. Sometimes, my blond roots show, mmmkay?

Anyway. I got to go on a real live television show, and I don’t know how many people watched it live, aside from Ashley and me, but I know at least a dozen of my friends have watched it on the internets. Because I have at least a dozen friends that are awesome enough to sit down and watch me chat about partisan politics with Tennessee Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn, Republican delegate and Mormon BYU biology professor Laura Bridgewater, host Lindsay Ferrier, and HLN’s Kyra Phillips.

Because that totally happened.


Kyra surprised me the most. She’s spent over a decade with CNN, and through the magic of Google, I found out that she sometimes goes after social issues. I was expecting her to tolerate us Republican chicks at best, but I had my talking points reay and my smile in place.

When I met her, I pleasantly surprised to find a warm, laidback host that seemed to genuinely want to have a real discussion about the Romney’s and the election. Once the cameras were rolling, I was still half expecting a couple of ‘gotcha’ questions – most likely over gay marriage or abortion.

Nope! The discussion centered around the economy, which most Americans agree is the number one issue right now. I could see Kyra’s brain trying to wrap itself around some of our answers when asked why we women (moms!) support Mitt Romney. I love when people keep an open mind to other people’s convictions, so add another point to the I Like Kyra column.

Lindsay was great too. I’ve been working with her on Moms Matter 2012 over at since the end of last year, and she’s a total pro. It was fabulous to finally meet her in person.

Representative Blackburn was also a delight. She didn’t know it, but she was a huge inspiration to me after I heard her speak at Smart Girl Summit in 2009. That was my first political convention as a blogger, and I loved what she had to say about how much moms can rock the world. Plus she thanked me for doing what I do out there on the internet on a daily basis. That was awesome.

I’d never met Laura before, but I was glad to get to know her. She spoke of faith and family, and how Mitt Romney has shown a commitment to both, and how that will be translated into a commitment to get our economy back on track.

Overall, it was super fun, I’d do it again in a heartbeat, and I’m soooooo glad that we got to talk about real issues, rather than that tool Todd Akin.


Here’s the condensed version played by HLN:


And the full version from

Tiger Mothers, Helicopter Parents, and Raising Responsible Adults

You’ve heard of Mama Grizzlies, now make way for Mama Tigers. Amy Chua is a Chinese-American mom who parents her two daughters with what she calls the Chinese way. It does not involve coddling. Or a self-esteem training course.

Mama Tigers have complete faith in their children to be extraordinary, and gosh darn it, extraordinary they will be! Criticism is harsh and approval is doled out sparingly, saved for the times when the child actually excels at something.

It’s a jarring juxtaposition to the hovering helicopter parent that many moms have become these days. But wait! Isn’t a tiger mother a helicopter parent, continually constructing their children’s’ world for them to ‘save’ them from outside influences or dangers?

Not exactly. A helicopter parent strives to make life as easy as possible for their children. They cut their food, resolve their playground disputes, and practically do their homework for them. A tiger mother says, “You will sit at that table until you cut your meat and eat it because it’s time for you to grow up a little bit.”

The helicopter mom says, “I’ll do it for you because I don’t believe you can do it.” The tiger mom says, “Don’t be ridiculous. Of course you can do it. I believe in you.” Which one screams love in your mind?

Perhaps our generation would be better off if more moms parented the Chinese way. Instead of perpetual children that stay on our parents’ health insurance until the age of 26, we’d have some functioning members of society. Even better, these kids of voting age might actually vote in some candidates that do more than promise them lollipops that they’ll never be able to deliver anyway.

Parents, you are not doing your children a favor by infantilizing them. Teach them the value of hard work and the sweet reward of triumph. Don’t pretend that good enough is the same as the best you can do.

Perhaps the tiger mother is too harsh for your tastes. That’s ok. There is no Parenting Rule Book, and there’s no exactly correct way to raise a child. That’s the beauty of America – we can pick and choose what we like and create our own lives outside of government oppression. If being poor and lazy seems like a better life than working your hiney off to improve your socioeconomic status, then by all means, please, live in your mom’s basement for the rest of your life. We all make choices, and all decisions have consequences.

Especially parenting decisions.

What about the poor, burdened kids raised in such strict, go-get-em homes? Are they scarred for life? It turns out they’re doing just fine, thank you very much.

Motherhood is political. Love your children, but teach them to be self-sufficient. They’ll thank you someday for it. By the way, Mom, if you’re reading this … Thank you.

Cross posted in the fabulous, newly-designed Smart Girl Nation.

Big Announcement

It is hard to believe that it was only a year ago that I was packing my suitcase, jamming down my nerves, and getting on a plane to Nashville for the very first Smart Girl Summit. I had had become involved with Smart Girl Politics, and occasionally talked to some members of the leadership team, and I had been a guest on an RFC podcast or two, but I was nervous to finally meet some of my online activist friends.

The whole experience was amazing. I won’t bore you with the details right now, but you can read my write-up from the conference here.

Within a few weeks of the Summit, I was off and running with a Smart Girl Politics Podcast. The Smart Girl Report has played nearly every week, first on RFC Radio, then on FTR Radio when the latter acquired the former.

For 43 episodes, I have done my best to get listeners fired up for activism, as well as introduce them to conservative politicians and others fighting the good fight alongside Smart Girl Politics. With the support of the organization, The Smart Girl Report has become more popular than I ever dreamed of, and I owe a debt of gratitude not only to SGP for taking me under their wing, but also to every single person that takes the time each week to tune into the show.

As with all good things, my time with The Smart Girl Report has come to an end. It is important to notice that I did not say my time with Smart Girl Politics has ended, only my involvement in producing and hosting the podcast. While remaining on the leadership team of SGP, I will continue to broadcast each week, only under my own name.

The nature of SGP’s non-profit status combined with my growing conviction in political punditry has led me to the conclusion that it is time for this little birdie to leave the safety of the nest. I am standing on the edge looking out, grateful for the mama bird that has taught me to fly, but oh so nervous that my baby wings won’t work.

When I stepped on that plane last year, to my very first political conference, I was scared. But I knew that I could make a difference just by showing up. By letting others know that they weren’t alone. By holding a hand, sharing a smile, and offering a word of encouragement.

I can only hope that I’ll be able to share and connect even more with my listeners without the restrictions that come with representing a branded organization, even one as fabulous as Smart Girl Politics.

Thank you everyone for such a beautiful year. I have a feeling the best is yet to come for all of us.

The Smart Girl Report – Episode 0039

Smart Girl Spotlight on Ashley Sewell, Conservative Chick Chat with Congresswoman Cathy McMorris-Rodgers, and cocktails with Mike G.

SGP Meet & Greet

Hey everyone in the San Diego area!

This Saturday, May 22nd, I’ll be hosting a Smart Girl Politics Meet & Greet at The Barrel Room in North County at noon. Come by and say hi!

PS- I won’t tell if you don’t if we order wine with lunch. 😉

The Smart Girl Report – Episode 0029

Jenny rants about the nanny-state .. Senator John Thune (R-SD) joins to talk about his stance on current events … and Smart Girl Politics President Stacy Mott comes on to give an SGP update.

The Smart Girl Report – Episode 0026

A new contest, the tea parties and extremism, Smart Girl updates, and cocktails with Mike G.

The Smart Girl Report – Episode 0025

What’s really wrong with immigration, and is there any way to fix it? Plus we talk to Jennifer Leslie and Jonathan Grim about a special Smart Girl Politics project on the Arizona border. And cocktails with Mike G.

The Smart Girl Report – Episode 0024

Senator Tom Coburn joins to talk about health care and the possibility of “repeal & replace” in the near future, Health Care Jeopardy with Thomas LaDuke, Molly Teichman, and Michelle Moore, and cocktail time with Mike G.

Tea Party Chatter

In less than two days, I’ll be speaking at a Tax Day Tea Party in Southern California. I haven’t publicly spoken to a live audience since my high school graduation. Ten years ago. Ok, maybe on my wedding day, but really, I was nervous for other reasons that day (wink, wink).

So now I’m nervous. I’m downright skeered.

Or at least I was until I started reading about the Tea Party Crashers-a group of people attempting to infiltrate tea party rallies in order to make us look stupid. News flash: If tea party rallies are stupid groups of racist idiots, lefty liberals don’t need to show up and pretend to be what they claim we are in the first place. They’d just need to bring a video camera, not crash the tea parties.

In fact, if someone has video footage of Representative John Lewis being called a “n***r” as he made his way into a meeting on health care during the push for the final vote, Andrew Breitbart will write you a check for 100 big ones. 100 big Ks, that is. Yup. $100,000 is all yours, and all you have to do is come up with some footage of John Lewis being called a derogatory name by a tea party protestor, as Lewis claims happened fifteen times.

So weird about the lack of evidence, witnesses, or any shred of viability.

So why does the Crasher story make me less nervous? Because now I’m more ticked at these people trying to scare me into silence. I’m done being quiet. I have a right to my voice, and I’m not afraid to use it (not afraid, but still slightly nervous). If people don’t like what I have to say… well then it’s their right not to listen. Not to call me a homophobic racist or put words into my fellow protester’s mouths.

Not cool, people. Not cool.

If you’re in Orange County this Thursday, please come by and say hi; I’d love to meet you. And please try not to stare at my shaky hands or sweaty armpits.

Thanks a bazillion!