‘The Undefeated’: Palin documentary shows ‘she’s no Caribou Barbie’
A new documentary highlighting former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s executive experience and rise through Alaska’s political ranks is set to hit theaters in a few weeks.
At an advance screening, The Daily Caller has learned that the film, “The Undefeated,” walks viewers through how Palin’s anti-establishment conservatism drove her first into the Wasilla mayor’s office and then into the Alaska governor’s mansion.
The documentary begins with a montage of national mainstream media and Hollywood attacks on Palin when she was John McCain’s 2008 running mate, then cuts to never-before-seen childhood home videos of Palin. The story builds from there.
Palin faced an uphill political battle since her mayoral days in Wasilla, and the media hasn’t been friendly to her either. The film depicts her as one who was never willing to just “play politics” in her years as Alaska’s chief executive.
After her mayoral days, the film moves onto when Republican Gov. Frank Murkowski appointed Palin to head the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission and serve as its ethics supervisor. It was there that Palin had her first big fight against someone from her own party. The documentary shows how Palin took on Alaska GOP Chairman and fellow commission member Randy Ruedrich for doing party business on the taxpayers’ dime and leaking confidential information to oil industry insiders.
Because she was having political difficulty dealing with the corruption inside Alaska’s Republican Party and the administration she was a part of, Palin resigned from her six-figure salary to try to take on the Corrupt Bastards Club, as she called it, from the outside, according to the film. She took the story to the people instead of trying to deal with it within the broken system.
Ultimately, she won. Ruedrich was fined and Palin skyrocketed in Alaska politics. As the film’s director Stephen K. Bannon told TheDC, Palin’s not only one of the “brightest” political minds in America, she’s also one of the most genuine and honest.
“I’ve been fortunate in my life to work with the best and brightest in this country,” Bannon said, referencing his days with Goldman Sachs and the United States Navy and his current contacts in Hollywood. “Gov. Palin could match up in intelligence and drive with anyone I know.”
After she won the battle within her own party, Palin decided to put a shoestring grassroots gubernatorial campaign together. She knocked Murkowski, a career politician, out of the race in the 2006 primary, and went onto become governor of the 49th state.
Like many things Palin does, her inauguration was untraditional. She decided to have her inauguration ceremony in Fairbanks, instead of Juneau.
“It’s almost like Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” Bannon said. “It’s Mrs. Palin goes to Juneau.”
The documentary attempts to highlight Palin’s executive experience. When the state legislature dumped an eleventh-hour budget on her desk in June 2007, Palin stayed up all night and got to work with her line-item vetoes, the film depicts. The movie shows how her tenacity apparently astonished the mainstream media in Alaska. Several television anchors note in the film that they couldn’t believe that she actually followed through on her promise.
“One of my objectives was to drive the stake in the heart of the ‘Caribou Barbie’ meme,” Bannon told The Daily Caller. “She is no Caribou Barbie.”
A major theme of the movie is to depict Palin’s fights with oil companies. Her first big run-in with Big Oil was when she took down the Corrupt Bastards Club. Then, when she was in the governor’s office, she got the oil companies to actually start drilling in Alaska’s North Slope, instead of letting the oil sit in northern Alaska reserves until the resource’s price was right to drill.
Palin’s staffers contacted Bannon last fall after the 2010 midterm elections to see if he’d make some short, 15-20 minute promotional videos for her. He said, “No,” but what he would do is go make a feature-length documentary about Palin. He financed it himself and it’s set to come out in theaters sometime in the next month or so.
The film uses audio of Palin from when she did an audio version of her book “Going Rogue,” but she never did any interviews for the documentary. Bannon instead said he wanted to tell her story through the people who were closest to her and worked with her.
It’s unclear as of yet how much effect this film will have on a potential 2012 presidential campaign for Palin, but RealClearPolitics’ Scott Conroy, who wrote the book “Sarah From Alaska,” called it Palin’s “secret weapon.”