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Conservative women’s group backs Bachmann in straw poll

Jennifer DeJournett
Courtesy of Jennifer DeJournett
Jennifer DeJournett

“We’re putting our stake in the ground” at the Iowa straw poll, says Jennifer DeJournett, president of Voices of Conservative Women, the Minnesota-based political action committee poised to become an influential PAC nationwide.

Fresh off sponsorship of the first Women’s Straw Poll won by Rep. Michele Bachmann last weekend in St. Louis, Voices is headed to Ames with a head of steam. It will sponsor a breakfast which all straw-poll candidates but Tim Pawlenty will attend and a reception tent with a prime location on the Iowa straw-poll grounds. After St. Louis, the group carries into Iowa an even stronger conviction that women voters aren’t just a coalition, they are key to winning elections.

“What I learned in St. Louis is that women from all across the country agreed with Voices that the candidate needs to engage women more,” DeJournett said. She quoted from the comments that the participants offered along with their vote: “Don’t assume you have my vote. Let me hear your real thoughts even if you think I might not like it. Let me know you, not your political self. We want our leaders to be in the trenches with us, not a general on a hill.”

DeJournett speculated that Bachmann’s tell-it-like-it-is approach was critical in her victory among these conservative women voters.

Bachmann’s hard-right tack on the economy also didn’t hurt. Of the 139 women from all parts of the country who cast straw-poll ballots, 112 supported the “cut, cap, and balance” plan under discussion in Washington and 99 said that reducing government spending and balancing the budget was the important issue of the day.

DeJournett describes reading those opinions as a moment of revelation. “I thought: We are not alone. There are more of us out there. Someone else from another part of the country gets this.”

Voices wants Republican presidential contenders in Iowa to get it as well. DeJournett says Voices is the first women’s organization in its own right to have a place in the Iowa straw-poll events.

Also in Ames, the group will launch Voices 2.0, a nationwide PAC supporting women candidates who run on a platform of fiscal conservatism. To start, Voices is working with PURSE-Iowa, a like-minded grass roots organization, to help the group broaden its recruiting and fund-raising capacity. Voices has made a campaign contribution to Lynn Fitch, running in a GOP primary to be the state treasurer of Mississippi.

“Every time I turn around there’s women across the country who have asked for our help,” DeJournett says. “It’s exciting but it’s heart-breaking because if you are a common-sense, fiscally conservative woman, we are the only organization.”

Because Voices supports conservative, mainly Republican, women candidates based only on pocketbook issues, its advocacy is unique. DeJournett acknowledges that the group has been pressured to enter the arena of social issues, but “we talk only about money and economics. I am almost a zealot on this.”

Equally important to Voices of Conservative Women is moving candidates and their campaigns to recognize the importance of women’s votes. The group hopes to make that point obvious in Iowa. DeJournett describes an encounter with one of the presidential campaigns where she said she was told, “We’ve got this great young woman, she’s in charge of the women’s vote.”

“But why isn’t she in the war room [of the campaign]?” DeJournett wonders.

Women outvote men in every election, she says. “We shouldn’t be confined to the back room with a pink button.”

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Comments (19)

  1. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 08/02/2011 - 09:28 am.

    When your selected candidate must submit to her husband and her major life choices are to be made by her spouse, why should that woman be taken seriously as candidates? Why should they be involved at all in politics? Aren’t they just acting as a beard to their husbands desires?

    Check this article out:

  2. Submitted by Tim Walker on 08/02/2011 - 10:23 am.

    I second Neal’s comment (#1).

    But who in the mainstream media will ask DeJournett and Bachmann about this critical point?

    I’m not holding my breath…

  3. Submitted by Dan Hintz on 08/02/2011 - 10:39 am.

    Shouldn’t “tell-it-like-it-is” be in quotes? Because there isn’t a candidate who tells more lies – and not just “political lies” but outright, provable falsehoods – than Michelle Bachmann. Anyone who supports Bachmann is saying that the truth is not important. Facts are not important. This article should be called dishonest group supports dishonest candidate.

  4. Submitted by Jim Bernstein on 08/02/2011 - 11:12 am.

    After reading this piece I am still searching for any evidence that this group is “poised to become an influential PAC nationwide” as Ms. Brucato claims. They’ve made a campaign contribution to a candidate in an obscure state treasurer’s race in Mississippi and conducted a straw poll on behalf of (apparently) Michelle Bachmann’s candidacy. All well and good for them but their activities to date certainly don’t merit a conclusion that they are “poised to become an influential PAC nationwide.” Given the obvious ability of Michelle Bachmann and Sarah Palin and other prominient, ultra-conservative women candiates to raise money, this PAC seems neither “influential” nor remarkable.

  5. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 08/02/2011 - 11:28 am.

    Bachmann supported by conservative women… didn’t see that one coming.

  6. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 08/02/2011 - 12:30 pm.

    “Women outvote men in every election, she says. ‘We shouldn’t be confined to the back room with a pink button.’”

    I absolutely agree, and at the same time second Neal and Tim (#1 & #2). Women ought to be major drivers of campaigns and policy in both (all?) political parties, but it’s impossible to ignore the yawning chasm in DeJournett’s and Bachmann’s reasoning about WHY they should play a major role. It’s the 500-pound gorilla in every conservative women’s group, and the one that, as Tim suggests, is never mentioned at press conferences – or in Cyndy’s pieces here on MinnPost.

    As Neal pointed out, if you’re going to do what your husband wants you to do anyway, you’re only serving as a façade for his political, social and economic views. Women’s involvement, to be useful and genuine, needs to spring from women’s experience and views, unrelated to whether husbands or significant others agree with, or even know about, those views. That important point is fundamentally incompatible with Michelle Bachmann’s expressed philosophy. It’s fundamentally incompatible, in fact, with every major religion’s views of the “proper place” for women in society.

    Can’t help but wonder if Mrs. Bachmann would continue her presidential campaign if her husband decided he didn’t like all the unwelcome attention from media personnel who are not “in his pocket,” so to speak, and insisted that she return to simply being the lying Congresswoman from Minnesota that we’ve all come to know and, in my case at least, loathe.

  7. Submitted by Jennifer DeJournett on 08/02/2011 - 06:07 pm.

    To clarify, VOICES of Conservative Women and Smart Girl Politics conducted the 1st women’s straw poll as a joint effort. The result were the votes from women who attended the Smart Girl Politics Summit. The Straw Poll, similar to the many other straw polls conducted, is the summary of the responses of those that completed the questionnaires in a snap shot of time. In addition to SGP and VOICES, the Independent Women’s Voice also participated in the counting of the ballots. It was not an endorsement ballot. It was a straw poll.

    VOICES is encouraging women to become active in politics and make their voices heard at all levels of government. Therefore, we reported the results and it isn’t an endorsement from our organization. VOICES will not be taking a position for or against any federal candidate.

    One of the articles that we recently wrote was aptly titled, “Alice in (Political) Wonderland”. The full article is posted on our website.

    We spoke that one woman in politics is not interchangeable for another. For those that missed it, here is one of the points we made.

    “There are also vicious attacks on conservative women on a daily basis because they dare to make their voices heard. There is even a thought that if women do not agree with the big spending, over reaching government agenda, we aren’t “real working women”. There is a much-discussed “war on women” but the voice of the pocketbook, common sense woman is not included because she might want to speak about fiscal responsibility, limited government and the free market policy. It is far easier for those in established political thought to believe that all women have the same political viewpoints than it is to adjust their strategy to account for the true range of women’s views.”

    Whether you are a political activist, a woman seeking the highest office in the land, or the mom running for school board, you are an individual with a unique view point. We encourage all women to stand up and make their voices heard on the issues and hopefully run for office.

    Anyone who is familiar with this political activist would chuckle at the concept that I am subservient to anyone. I have no problem letting anyone know my perspective, advocating for the causes that I believe in and respecting the perspectives of others who may not agree. I enjoy having intellectual conversations with both like-minded folks, and those that have alternate points of view. I count as friends individuals of many political stripes.

    It is my belief that without a strong economy, choices are limited and opportunities fewer. I do not believe “big government” is the answer to society’s ills, but rather believe in a healthy vibrant economy where one can advance oneself by the opportunities earned by hard work.

    VOICES focuses on “fiscal responsibility, limited government and free market principles”. VOICES seeks to encourage women to become more involved in public policy and run for office. We do not address other issues and our political funds would consider any woman who sought our assistance at the state and local level.

    Best Regards,
    Jennifer DeJournett, President
    VOICES of Conservative Women

  8. Submitted by Richard Schulze on 08/02/2011 - 09:20 pm.

    Bachmann won’t win the nomination but I don’t think her lack of experience will be her downfall. Her experience is comparable to Obama’s when he ran. The GOP establishment won’t nominate her because she isn’t the most electable. Romney, Huntsman, and Perry are more electable. When was the last time the 4th most electable candidate won the nomination?

    She might even get on the nominee’s VP short-list, though I don’t think she’s got the credentials to get picked. In any case, I’m sure she’ll kill at convention.

  9. Submitted by Dan Hintz on 08/02/2011 - 11:12 pm.

    “There are also vicious attacks on conservative women on a daily basis because they dare to make their voices heard.”

    ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ. Seriously, where does Minnpost dredge up this stuff? The “vicious attacks” on
    Bachmann are no more than people simply calling out Bachmann for her lies. Again, for DeJournett and the people in her group, lies are just fine. Facts and truth do not matter, and anyone who questions those lies or their ideology is guilty of a vicious attack.

  10. Submitted by Dan Hintz on 08/02/2011 - 11:38 pm.

    Here is the Politifact Scorecare from last fall for Bachmann:

    This quote summarizes her record:

    “After 11 encounters with the Truth-O-Meter, Bachmann continues to hold the rare distinction of an all-False/Pants on Fire record.”

    She picked up another false claim earlier this year:

    I don’t think you can use words and phrases like like “intellectual,” “responsibility” and “common sense” when describing a group that endorses someone like that.

  11. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 08/03/2011 - 06:52 am.

    Jennifer, the new democrat party is a coalition of women, minorities, gays and unionists (if I’m not being redundant). It’s not a party of ideological principle, but of group identity.

    Consequently, you don’t read comments opposing Ms. Bachmann’s positions on free market economics or the constitutional role of government. You see comments attacking her religious beliefs, her past verbal gaffs, her husband’s business, her in-laws’ farm subsidies, etc. … anything to avoid having to rebut her actual positions on the federal budget, Obama’s failed Keynesian economic policies that have led to a $14.5 trillion national debt, a 9% unemployment rate, etc.

    Sixty percent of men vote republican (only 40% of women) and 60% of women typically democrat. (It’s primordial, I don’t have time to explain it here.) It’s imperative that democrats ridicule and attempt to marginalize Bachmann’s candidacy lest any heretofore apolitical women actually listen to her message, resulting in one less vote for the democrat party.

    I find it amusing and revealing that the vast majority of her detractors here are men.

  12. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 08/03/2011 - 07:36 am.

    Ms. DeJournett: I, for one, can differentiate between Bachmann, Clinton, Pelosi and Dole. They certainly are not interchangeable tokens. The candidate that won your straw poll has a vivid record and a long trail of statements that will prove to be, at the very least, inconvenient on the campaign trail.

    For instance, last week at the National Press Club lunch, she said her husband Marcus shouldn’t be the focus of any attention. Well, if she, herself, has said that he has determined her life course as a lawyer and politician to a large degree, and that she submits to his decisions, then who are people really be asked to vote for? Michele or Marcus? At the very least, they are a team, both with more than a few strings hanging from their balloons.

  13. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 08/03/2011 - 08:05 am.

    //common sense woman is not included because she might want to speak about fiscal responsibility, limited government and the free market policy.

    Nancy Polosi and Any Klobuchar speak about these things all the time, but I guess they’re not “smart girls”. Did anyone ask Bachmann why she has so much much trouble making factually accurate and reliable statements or aren’t smart girls concerned about a candidate’s integrity?

    You make your reputation in this world, and Bachmann has been very deliberate and diligent at making her reputation, she owns it as much as anyone. Do smart girls ever wonder why a woman would want to make a reputation as a wing nut? Why is integrity and honesty so unimportant to Bachmann and how can you trust such a person even if they’re “speaking” about the issues you care about?

    Maybe there’s a difference between smart girls and intelligent women. And I hate to tell you this, but Bachmann is an insult to conservatism, not a voice for it, ya’ll should probably discuss that fact some day before you vote for her.

  14. Submitted by Tim Walker on 08/03/2011 - 10:01 am.

    Jennifer DeJournett wrote: “Anyone who is familiar with this political activist would chuckle at the concept that I am subservient to anyone.”

    All well and good, but nowhere in your 520-word response above did you tell us why your group supports a women who says that she is subservient to her husband.

    Jennifer DeJournett wrote: “I enjoy having intellectual conversations with both like-minded folks, and those that have alternate points of view.”

    Please indulge us then, and have an intellectual conversation about your group’s support for a woman who says that she is subservient to her husband.

    Instead of dodging the question.

  15. Submitted by Dan Hintz on 08/03/2011 - 11:13 am.

    Dennis (#11), like DeJournett and her group, facts and the truth may not be something you are interested in, but my critcisms have to do with Bachmann’s record of flat out lies. As far as the other criticims you mention, they go toward pointing out just how corrupt and hypocritical Bachmann is. And to be honest, listening to her talk about things like the debt ceiling, its pretty clear that Bachmann doesn’t even understand the economic issues you want to discuss.

    But if you want to talk about the debt and the economy, ok. Obama inherited the economy, most of the debt, and a trillion dollar annual deficit from Bush. The deficits that Obama is running are largely due to policies (Medicare Part D, tax cuts on the rich, wars in Iraq and Afghanistan) enacted under Bush and a Republican congress. You can blame Obama for the stimulus and the bailouts (other than TARP – which was Bush) but those expenditures are a small fraction of the debt. I won’t claim he is blameless, because he isn’t. But an honest discussion of the deficit and debt requires placing blame where blame is due, which is something Bachmann (and maybe you) are unable to do.

  16. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 08/03/2011 - 01:37 pm.

    Dennis (#11): let’s take Bachmann as a serious person. She has the position of “no new taxes” and “no debt ceiling rise”.

    Has she ever offered a clue as what she understands the results to the economic climate of America if she got her way with those policies?

    No, not once, not ever.

    All she talks about with respect to the debt ceiling rise is as “a blank check for Obama”.

    Who passed the legislation that Obama signed? Who passed legislation without having the money to pay for it? Could it be Congress? And like I’ve asked before–does she seriously think that the debt ceiling rise provides a “slush-fund” for Obama and his personal policies and programs? Who actually writes the budget? Is she that clueless about the legislative process? Or does she count on her followers to that clueless?

  17. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 08/03/2011 - 03:57 pm.

    “Who actually writes the budget?”

    Actually, the senate democrats have gone over 800 days without submitting a budget. They are operating under a continuing resolution now because they were too gutless to submit a budget before the 2010 elections and now it’s going to bite them in the butt come October when this year’s money runs out.

    The congressional republicans have submitted two budgets since taking over congress, both of which were shot down in the senate.

    Obama submitted one in February of this year which would have added another $3 trillion to the debt but it was defeated 97-0 in the democrat-controlled senate.

  18. Submitted by Sandra Christenson on 08/05/2011 - 08:04 am.

    “VOICES focuses on “fiscal responsibility, limited government and free market principles”. VOICES seeks to encourage women to become more involved in public policy and run for office. We do not address other issues and our political funds would consider any woman who sought our assistance at the state and local level.”

    Jennifer, I have followed Voices for a couple of years now, was very interested until I noticed that Voices HAVE NEVER supported a woman candidate that was NOT Republican. There are many excellent Independent candidates out there (and maybe a few Democrats) but Voices has NEVER supported any of them. I wonder why that is.

  19. Submitted by Jennifer DeJournett on 08/06/2011 - 11:54 pm.

    Hi Sandra:

    That question is a simple one.

    As a rule, VOICESPAC only support candidates that have asked for endorsement and fully completed our questionnaire. Because funds are always tight, we can’t endorse candidates that haven’t asked for our assistance. So, its a practical issue.

    VOICESPAC would review any candidate that asked for our endorsement regardless of party (or nonparty) affiliation because we are a nonpartisan org.

    So, the simple response is no DFL or ind. woman applied in 2010 or 2011. VOICESPAC haven’t begun reviewing candidates for 2012.

    If they did, we would give them thoughtful consideration.


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