'The Undefeated': America's once most popular governor lights up the silver screen
The documentary film The Undefeated, directed by Steven Bannon, looks at the political life of Sarah Palin in what many anticipate will help her launch her bid for the presidency. The powerful film opens with a montage of news clips of some of the most vile comments made in the media about Palin, even worse when you consider she was once on Republican presidential ticket. Those first four minutes remind the audience of how hypocritical the liberals in this country can be when it comes to the issue of tolerance.
From that montage the film moves on to chronicle Palin’s rise to power by portraying her as an anti-establishment Republican who took on the powerful Murkowski political machine in Alaska. It skillfully mixes Palin’s voice from her audiobook Going Rogue with interviews from colleagues on how she transformed the city of Wasilla. Her success and popularity as mayor led to a prestigious appointment to Alaska's oil and gas commission, which became the basis of her anti-establishment crusade. It was this crusade that vaulted her to the governor’s mansion and eventually John McCain’s pick for vice president. It's easy to forget that when McCain selected Palin, she was the nation's most popular governor, with job approval ratings topping 80 percent. The Undefeated brings that Sarah Palin, the popular governor who wasn't afraid to take on powerful entrenched interests, back.
The film's second act is the section that most revved up the crowd who attended the sneak peak I attended near Dallas, and will do the most to spur on her campaign should she throw her hat in the ring. It is littered with clips from Palin's speeches at various Tea Party events, and reminds Republicans of a past mistake it made back in 1976. In a speech to the Republican Convention in Kansas City, former California governor Ronald Reagan showed a passion and fight that left many that night thinking they had nominated the wrong person for president. That same vibe is present in Bannon’s presentation of Palin's speeches, with several in the theater cheering when theyfelt the passion in Palin’s voice in the clips shown in the film.
Sarah Palin will undoubtedly be happy with the movie's intermixing of interview clips from conservative leaders Kate Obenshain, Tammy Bruce, Andrew Breitbart, and Mark Levin. Both Levin and Breitbart openly compare Palin to Ronald Reagan, and brilliantly paint her as the cure to the Republican establishment politics that delivered the nomination of John McCain in 2008. Breitbart takes the opportunity to attack the GOP leadership, especially the deal making of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker John Boehner. Breitbart colorfully calls the men in DC he sees as the establishment “eunuchs,” which I am sure you can figure out why.
Overall, The Undefeated accomplishes two things. First, it reminds conservatives why Sarah Palin's pick energized them in 2008, enough to at least get them to hold their collective noses and vote for John McCain. And second, it accurately portrays Palin as woman who was far more qualified to be president than Barack Obama, and how she has the knowledge and background to beat him in 2012. Now, the only piece of the puzzle missing is whether or not she will run. We’ll know soon enough.