by Whitney Pitcher
This week, I had the honor of viewing Stephen K. Bannon’s new documentary on Governor Palin, the Undefeated. Personally, as a lifelong resident of Illinois, the film re-affirmed in particular one of the main reasons I support her—she is the anti-Illinois politician. Governor Palin took on the pervasive corruption and cronyism present in both in her own party and in the Big Oil companies. She governed with openness and transparency. She has not been self-serving, but has governed with a servant’s heart. She budgeted prudently. These are all manifestations of the character of Governor Palin that the film highlights. Unfortunately, her character has been wrongfully shrouded by the caricature created by the mainstream media and her opponents all across the political spectrum. This dichotomy between her character and her caricature are exactly why some refer to her as the “unknown known”. In essence, nearly everyone knows who Governor Palin is, but don’t really know her. This “unknown known” status provides the perfect springboard for the film to introduce or re-introduce viewers to the real Sarah Palin.
The film opens with about a three minute sampling of the vitriol that has been thrown at Governor Palin the past nearly three years. The audio clips and images used in this segment of the film leave one almost feeling as if they should clean out their ears with soap and bleach their eyes after viewing, but it solely depicts the true level of unsubstantiated hatred levied at Governor Palin.
The next segment of the film highlights the uniqueness of both Alaska and Alaskans—drawing from the knowledge and life experiences of several individuals who served in Governor Palin’s administration or in worked with her on some level in local or state government. Throughout the film, still images and shots panning the beautiful and epic landscape of Alaska are used. These images of Alaska seem to be representative of two of the themes woven throughout the documentary—the harshness of the Alaskan weather analogous to the harshness of her critics and the colossal Alaskan mountains analogous to the seemingly insurmountable electoral and legislative victories she achieved.
The film highlights her time as Wasilla mayor where she focused on fiscal restraint and improving infrastructure. The infrastructure development she championed brought businesses, jobs, and economic prosperity to the town of Wasilla. The famous line from the film Field of Dreams comes to mind—if you build it, they will come (as a side note, one of the proposed locations for the premiere of the film in Iowa was the Field of Dreams farm). She did this by twice defeating an opponent who made sexism a major part of his campaign tactics.
Throughout the Undefeated, Governor Palin’s fight for ethics in government is center stage, whether it was calling out Alaska GOP head, Randy Ruedrich, for unethical behavior when she was oil and gas commissioner, championing major ethics reform, or re-vamping the state’s oil tax structure so that it was done with Alaskans’, not oil companies’, best interests in mind. This focus on ethics was seen not only seen in her legislation; it was also seen in the individuals with whom she surrounded herself. The film included extensive interview footage with some members of the “Magnificent Seven”—members of the Murkowski’s administration who were either fired due to their unwillingness to agree to his unethical plans or who resigned in protest to this wrongful firing. These individuals became part of the Palin administration, showing Governor Palin’s wisdom in whom she chooses to surround herself.
The film touches briefly on her Vice Presidential run in 2008, highlighting her ability to connect with everyday Americans and how she electrified GOP voters. Upon returning from the campaign, Alinsky tactics targeting Governor Palin’s strength—ethics—were used against her. Frivolous charge after frivolous charge was leveled at her and subsequently dismissed. These dismissed charges did not come cheap in terms of both financial and human resources as well as state progress, and Governor Palin resigned in order for the state to move forward. The film effectively addresses the circumstances, reasoning, and the impetus that led her to step aside from office.
The Undefeated closes with a lot great footage from various Tea Parties including Governor Palin’s barnburning speech in Madison, Wisconsin and great commentary from the likes of Tammy Bruce, Andrew Breitbart, Mark Levin, and others. These strong conservative voices speak of Governor Palin’s threat to the GOP establishment and the Left. The final clip shows Governor Palin challenging President Obama with her electrifying cry of “Game On”. The name of the film—the Undefeated— is also the spirit of the film and the attitude with which Governor Palin conducts herself. The film shows Governor Palin to be one who puts principles and pragmatism ahead of party and who fights for those whom she is serving with tenacity and grace.
I would encourage you to see the film and bring others with you as well, those of all political stripes, as the film provides an excellent opportunity to re-introduce or introduce for the first time to the “unknown-known” –Governor Sarah Palin. The film shows that Governor Palin has the ability to reach people all across the political spectrum. After all, she did have an approval rating above 80%. Character is not a party platform nor an ideology; it is a necessary part of solid leadership. This documentary shows a woman of character. You can find out more about the film here. You can order tickets here and can request that the movie be shown near you here. You can also receive an early release copy of the film by making a $100 contribution to SarahPAC.
Update: There is a great review of the film at the Southtown Star by Fran Eaton, an editor for the Illinois conservative blog the Illinois Review. As you can see by her review, disenchanted Illinois conservatives have found Governor Palin to be a breath of fresh air compared to the corrupt politicians in both parties that we have been subject to at both the stat and national levels. (H/T Ellebb)