As I mentioned in my last post, I saw two films yesterday. The second one was the documentary about former Governor Sarah Palin (R-AK), The Undefeated.
A few points need to be mentioned before I start. The fact that I’m an unabashed Palin supporter, and have been since even before she appeared on the national stage almost 3 years ago is common knowledge. She was the person I was hoping Senator John McCain (R-AZ) would pick as his running mate. I had researched her and was impressed with what I discovered. Also, the movie is based somewhat upon her first book, Going Rogue: An American Life, which I had read enthusiastically. Finally, in an attempt to generate buzz, the movie has been shown to various pundits and limited audience for the last couple months. There’s been plenty of information made public about the film for those willing to look.
So, given all that, you’d think that I would have been prepared for the film. You’d think that I would have nothing to learn from going to see it.
You’d be wrong. Stephen Bannon’s film is a masterpiece. He reminded me why I became a follower of Sarah Palin in the first place.
If you’ve been reading other reviews, you know that this is a documentary in 3 acts. I’m not going to hit much on the substance of the individual parts of the film. Others have done that already. See some reviews here, here, here, and here, if you’re interested. I will take umbrage with part of Ed Morrissey’s review. He said that he loved the material of the film, but thought the style was off and the music was too heavy-handed and overwhelming. I couldn’t disagree more. The music fits well, and directors have long known of the importance of adding music to a film to control pacing (hence the accolades constantly thrown at the master, John Williams). The music in this film works. It helps keep the movie flowing through what is, admittedly, a history book on film.
What the film does, is show why the left fears and hates Sarah Palin so much. Some of it is just who they are. The opening sequence is a montage of Palin-hate from the left. And it’s important to remember, that a lot of this was from the first few weeks after she’d been announced as McCain’s running mate. These people were telling us that she was the worst human being alive, despite knowing almost nothing about her. All they knew was that she was a pro life conservative woman, a governor, and quite obviously a happy wife and mother to 5. Just that little bit was enough to send the left into apoplexy.
But even that’s not the biggest problem with Palin from the left’s standpoint.
I have said this often, that the biggest difference between Palin and President Barack Obama (D-USA) isn’t their politics, it’s that Palin clearly gets America, and Obama, just as clearly, doesn’t. I realized during the film that I was understating the case. Not only does Palin get America, she gets Americans. When she gives a speech, she’s not just speaking to us, she’s speaking with us and for us.
That is quite different from any politician on the left, and most politicians on the right. And it scares the living daylights out of them. It also terrifies the media, because she is so capable of talking directly with us, without the need for media interpretation or amplification. She makes them unnecessary.
The sequencing of the film is no accident. It deliberately shows Palin dealing with and conquering issues in AK that are very similar to the issues that we face as a nation today. The whole point of the film is not “Palin’s an effective leader”, but “Palin knows how to deal with the issues we’re facing and has dealt successfully with them before”. It’s also no accident that the film brings up Palin’s knowledge and successes at energy production and delivery, nor her successes in dealing with the energy barons. To those that just think they know Palin, and don’t actually know her, this part, Act 2, will be the most eye opening part of the film, as it was to Ben Howe of RedState.
Hint folks: there’s a reason why Rush Limbaugh, Tammy Bruce, and Mark Levin sing this woman’s praises constantly. And it’s not because they’re crushing on her (well, maybe Tammy a little bit ). These people do their research. They wouldn’t tell you that she’s the real deal if she wasn’t. She’s possibly the most “genuine” person in the American political arena today. Period.
Act 2 is terrific, there’s no doubt. It should be required viewing for those who want to “report” or “expound” on Sarah Palin. But to me, Act 3 was the most amazing part of the film. It’s here where we see Palin at her “coming out party” the Republican National Convention in 2008. We see the genesis of the Tea Party movement and her help in it. We see clips from several of her speeches at Tea Party events and at other venues. And what we see is a woman that’s a natural at giving a stump speech. I’d forgotten that. It’s amazing to watch. We have a President now that is so politically tone deaf, and she’s the exact opposite. And she doesn’t just speak what the crowd wants to hear. She speaks from her heart, which is what makes the message so powerful and dynamic. She will absolutely change the dynamic of the Presidential race if she enters it. Whether she will, and whether she can win the nomination, I don’t know. I’m not trying to guess at the moment.
The other thing that’s important in Act 3 is that Andrew Breitbart calls me out. I’m going to steal Ben Howe’s words here because he says them far better than I could.
As Breitbart points out in the film, the greatest shame is that while this woman was savaged to degrees you may not even realize yet, some of us sat back and let it happen. For me to buy into the media template and not defend someone who’s only offense was being a conservative, is the absolute antithesis of what I stand for, and something that I shall never allow to happen again.
I haven’t made that mistake with Palin. But, I’ve said often that the personal destruction politics used against Palin were just a test run for 2012. I’ve repeated that the GOP nominee will go through just as bad, if not worse. I’ve repeated that often, but I haven’t done anything about it. I owe a personal apology to the candidates, particularly Representative Michele Bachmann (R-MN-06) and to Governor Rick Perry (R-TX) who are already getting the Palin treatment. I’ve defended neither. That ends today.
John Nolte at BigHollywood is constantly reminding us that we need to fight back against not only the Democrats, but also (especially) the media, if we’re going to win. Palin has been terrific at this, but she can’t do it alone. Others, like Bachmann and Perry are still learning this. Breitbart and Nolte have reminded me that I have a voice in this effort also, and I will be using it.
I was also left with one other impression. It hit me in the final 10-15 minutes of the film. My wife and I are currently raising two wonderful daughters. My wife is a wonderful role model for them, and I salute her for that. But Palin’s story, this movie, is a remarkable exhibit of what one woman can do if she has guts and determination and sticks to her core beliefs. I found myself wishing that my daughters were just a bit older so I could show this to them. Maybe after her first term is over.
As I said at the top of this post, I saw two movies yesterday, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2, and The Undefeated.
Harry Potter was terrific. The Undefeated was better.
And finally, if you don’t click through on any of the other links on this post (and I encourage you to read them all), please at least read the Ben Howe piece and listen to his interview with Stephen Bannon, the director of the film. It is definitely worth your time.