Grandmother-to-Be Lauren Boebert: Congratulations, Now Stop It

Oh,yeah, this is a face that Tyler Boebert has seen from his mom for sure.
Oh,yeah, this is a face that Tyler Boebert has seen from his mom for sure. YouTube
Lauren Boebert is a grandma-to-be. She announced the upcoming blessed event at a Conservative Political Action Conference confab hosted by the ultra-conservative group Moms for America, telling the group that her seventeen-year-old son, Tyler, was about to make her a grandmother at 36.

The girl — and yes, we’re using that term properly, because social media reports suggest that the mother-to-be might be as young as fifteen — is due “next month,” which means pretty much anytime. If March Madness holds no suspense for you this year, try an office pool on when this baby will be born: Odds are good it’ll be “surprisingly” early. And if it was a foregone and happy conclusion that the young couple would be keeping the child, why not release that information before the 2022 midterms? If she’s due in April…she was pregnant and they knew it in November.

Spilling the tea at a Moms for America event is both curious and canny; the former because premarital sex must be frowned upon by the far-right group, which touts on its home page another event with ’80s teen-heartthrob-turned-Bible-thumping-scold Kirk Cameron. He was once best known for his breakout role on Growing Pains; he's best known now for being an insufferable prig. But the group itself is enjoying its moment in the spotlight, despite the way it was achieved, which is to say through no real work of its own. If you want to know more about Moms for America, which supposedly seeks to “raise patriots and promote liberty,” consider the three links at the bottom of its launch page: “A Mom’s Guide to Parental Rights,” “Home School Mom2Mom" and “Critical Race Theory: What It Is and How You Can Fight It.” All that can be translated to the true mission: to support the right to mis-educate one’s children, the method with which to mis-educate, and the bullshit topic upon which conservatives should focus that mis-education. How to raise Christo-fascists in three easy steps.

Lauren Boebert may not be particularly well educated, or even a strong thinker. That’s not her brand. But she is canny: She understands how to manipulate people and situations to her advantage. For those who continue to admire her against all rational evidence to the contrary, this is what they’ll cite as her strength. This, and the perception within her base that her skill allows her to “own the libs” or “trigger the woke” — or whatever phrase the far right uses now to signify its belief that cruelty is the new conservative political economy in America.

So Boebert comes out with the news that her child is soon to have a child with another child, and honestly, we shouldn’t be talking about any of this. It’s a personal issue, like all questions of birth. It’s a family matter, something that would just be between Boebert’s son and the girl who’s shortly to have his baby, if only they weren’t both minors. That’s not something for public consumption. Except, of course, that Lauren Boebert has made it so. She could have announced it and then left the topic alone. Let the news cycle run, let it fade, take whatever moralistic hit she might experience within her base. But that mean little clock would surely run out pretty quickly: This is a group whose members are well prepped to forgive anything as long as Boebert tells the lies with which they’re most comfortable, lies about everything from alleged sexual assault all the way up to an actual attempted coup of the U.S. government.

This, too, would have passed.
But Boebert had to try to turn it to her advantage, and made it a rallying point for the anti-choice crowd. “There’s something special about rural conservative communities,” she said at the March 7 announcement. “They value life. Teen moms’ rates are higher in rural conservative areas because they understand the preciousness of a life that’s about to be born.”

Boebert claimed that her biggest fear about the situation was whether her son and his girlfriend “would choose life,” which is probably true, but more along the lines of "don’t you get what this means to Mommy’s political career?” than anything approaching a moral concern. Boebert is, after all, more political animal at this point than the gun-totin’ mom she offers as her image. Her family, like her restaurant, has been a political prop. And now so is this baby, and Boebert’s new role as 36-year-old granny.

Boebert herself was born to an eighteen-year-old mother, and had Tyler when she was eighteen, so this timing runs in the family in a way that most wouldn’t advertise. There aren’t many people who will defend motherhood in the mid-teens as a radically positive situation. Are there success stories? Sure, and most of them are on MTV. But the stats in the real world are depressing. Among them (courtesy of, a collective of youth devoted to social and political action): More than half of all teen mothers never graduate from high school; a quarter will have another poorly timed baby within two years; fewer than 2 percent of teen mothers ever earn a college degree; and more than half of all mothers on welfare had their first child as a teen, while two-thirds of all families living under the poverty line involved a teen birth.

To be clear: Rural teens have fewer medical resources than do urban teens. They likely have families that give them fewer options. They can face overriding pressures from a highly religious community that offers unrealistic rules rather than thoughtful options. And as Arwa Mahdawi so succinctly put it in her editorial in The Guardian: "This shouldn’t need to be said in 2023, but forcing teenagers to become parents isn’t good for the teenagers, the baby or society in general."

Lauren Boebert, despite being Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District representative, falls right into that pattern: She herself dropped out of high school because she was pregnant. She arguably only got her GED because she ran a surprisingly strong race against milquetoast incumbent Scott Tipton, scant months before the 2020 election. And now she, too, will have a child who has a child.

She addressed this in her comments at CPAC, relating a conversation that probably never happened but nonetheless illustrates how all of this makes sense: She said that she told her son, “Tyler, I’m going to be a 36-year-old grandmother.” (This is how you can tell Boebert is making up stories: Everyone talks in unrealistic declarative statements, like a comic-book villain.) To which Tyler supposedly replied: “Well, didn’t you make Granny a 36-year-old granny?” When Boebert confirmed this, Tyler noted, “Well, then it’s hereditary.” That’s the laugh line, such as it is. It’s supposed to be cute, but it’s actually terrifying. It's the solipsism inherent in the heritage argument of the far right: No cultural progression is allowed, because things were fine enough for us.

All this after Boebert was on another CPAC stage railing against sex ed in schools, calling for the elimination of funding for any school that dares to teach comprehensive sex education — and this in front of the same group of folks who still cling to the idea that abstinence-only education works. Let those two ideas fight for space in your brain; you can’t make this shit up to be any more ridiculous.

But that’s the sinister and destructive beauty of Boebert’s approach to American politics. If you don’t think too much, things don’t really have to make sense, do they?

But sure, congratulations, Representative Boebert, on the new addition to the family. Maybe do a better job keeping your kids — and now your grandchild — out of the political spotlight. And while you're at it? Maybe stop trying to convince America that down is up and that everything that's not far right is wrong.
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Teague Bohlen is a writer, novelist and professor at the University of Colorado Denver. His first novel, The Pull of the Earth, won the Colorado Book Award for Literary Fiction in 2007; his textbook The Snarktastic Guide to College Success came out in 2014. His new collection of flash fiction, Flatland, is available now.
Contact: Teague Bohlen

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