In 1960 Barry Goldwater's book, "The Conscience of a Conservative," laid out a roadmap for conservative thought. He gave the country a basis for action and, in doing so, paved the way for the Reagan revolution in 1980. Goldwater's book is credited with converting many who were either unsure or unaware of their own political ideology. The film "The Undefeated" picks up where Goldwater left off.
The film has been touted as a documentary on Sarah Palin's political
achievements in Alaska. But like Goldwater's book once did, the film
gives America a moral roadmap through the prism of the right. Four
minutes into director Stephen Bannon's documentary, viewers are disabused of the notion they are either watching a propoganda piece or simply a political highlight reel. In those first few minutes, Bannon brings to life three years worth of hate-filled, sexist and often shockingly violent diatribes leveled at Palin and her children.
"No other person in our country's history has taken the pop cultural
beat-down like Governor Palin. It has been vulgar, violent, and
misogynistic," Bannon said. "What shocked me most was not the vulgarity but the violence . . . I show [in the film] a crucifixion, a hanging and [Palin's] face being ripped off."
Bannon said he had to leave many of the violent images of Palin on the
cutting room floor because it would have changed the focus of the film
"The Undefeated" shows a woman and her family mauled by political foes while her natural allies took cover, or worse, participated. "I'm not a women's libber or gender politics guy but you cannot watch this film and not see the prejudice she endured because she is a combative and serious female leader," Bannon said.
Bannon's film achieves this narrative in two ways.
First, the film delves deeply into Palin's accomplishments in Alaska and
lays the groundwork for her reputation as a bipartisan reformer. The
movie deftly shows how her political opponents launched a campaign after the 2008 election to personally bankrupt her with legal bills by filing phony ethics complaints. Through this lens, "The Undefeated" effectively explains why Palin's resignation was the best option for her future and the future of Alaska.
Second, the director weaves a modern Greek chorus throughout the film. Led by Andrew Brietbart and Mark Levin, the film's chorus continually pulls viewers back to the narrative of Palin as an American success story. Many of the voices in the film are women who were inspired by Palin as a wife and mother balancing a political career.
As the film shows the hope Palin gave to so many women, the hypocrisy of the feminist myth is exposed. Many of the film's most vicious diatribes against Palin were by women who had previously aligned themselves with the left-wing women's movement. "The Undefeated" will leave viewers of all political persuasions questioning the legitimacy of so called "women's rights" groups and their failure to denounce the attacks.
In the film it is Brietbart who points out the Republicans are not
without blame. He reminds the audience that few on the right did anything to defend Palin. The left has long hailed and adhered to the tactic of personal destruction laid out by their hero, Saul Alinksy. "The
Undefeated" shows just how effectively that tactic was used against Palin and yet she still found a way to thrive.
"I feel the governor's story transcends politics," said Bannon. "She is
obscure as anyone in America as the story opens . . . and through grit,
tenacity and courage, she made an impact on modern life."
The film concludes by showing Palin's impact through the rise of the tea party movement. It's here where Bannon tidily brings Goldwater's ideology to fruition. The finale shows Palin and the tea party as the children of the Reagan revolution. The film successfully argues a Palin presidency would be a watershed moment in American history, if only the right has the moral courage to take a stand.
"The Undefeated" will not only change minds about Palin but also bring
shame to those who added to the vitriol against her. Through this film,
the conscience of a conservative is awakened once again. Viewers will be forced to reconsider Palin and her role as Reagan's heir apparent. As the film opens in this theaters this week, somewhere, Goldwater is smiling as the revolution rolls on.
Click Here to see the 'Undefeated' Trailer.
Jennifer Stefano is the co-chair of The Loyal Opposition, a Tea Party
organization in Pennsylvania.
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