Opinion

My impressions from the Iowa premiere of “The Undefeated”

On Tuesday I attended the premiere of Stephen Bannon’s “The Undefeated” in Pella, Iowa. I had provided introductory comments before a prior screening of the film in New York City, and had seen a rough cut a few weeks before that. The final product is outstanding. And my experience in Iowa left me with several impressions worth noting.

First off, there’s something extraordinary about the communication between Todd and Sarah. There’s a palpable trust and commitment, a mutual support system that grounds them and propels them forward. They are a genuine team.

Much like when I spoke at a Conservatives4Palin meet-up in November of 2010, I walked away from Iowa this week with the sentiment that Palin supporters are a force to be reckoned with. There’s something unique about their support, and it took me some time to put my finger on it. The truth is actually quite simple — they believe her. They believe that she will do what she says she’s going to do. They trust in her word. So it’s not just about supporting her record, policies and vision for America. It’s also about a genuine trust in the woman behind that record, those policies and that vision. Simply put, I’ve found Palin supporters to be primarily driven by their belief in her personal character. That is incredibly powerful — and incredibly rare — in the world of politics.

The audience was decidedly engaged during the film, particularly throughout the segments that focus on Palin’s policies in Alaska. Many lines were met with excitement and applause — especially those viewed by some as alluding to a possible presidential run — and Sarah received a standing ovation at the end.

One of the things that stood out for me was Palin’s impromptu commentary after the film. That’s the medium where I’ve discovered that she shines most — settings that allow for spontaneity. I got the very same impression when I attended her luncheon with The Long Island Association in February.

Not many politicians shine when speaking extemporaneously. Why? Because they typically try to connect with their audience via prepared talking points. Palin is different. She connects best with her audience by just being Sarah.

Palin spent quite some time signing books for and speaking with supporters. It appears that she enjoys those opportunities the most — the ones where she gets to interact with everyday Americans who share her love of country.

I had the chance to speak with Palin throughout the evening. Although I had interviewed her via telephone once before and met her briefly at the aforementioned Long Island event, this was the first time I really got to chat with her face to face.

She is incredibly gracious. When you talk to her, she really listens to what you’re saying. Her patriotism shines through consistently. When you ask her a question, she’s not afraid to tell you what she thinks. She doesn’t sugarcoat anything. She possesses an inspiring optimism. She has a warm, approachable demeanor, but there’s something tough as nails that always comes through. And her humility is remarkable.

I truly urge everyone — whether you’re a Palin supporter or not — to check out “The Undefeated.” If you’re going to form an opinion about Sarah Palin, you should at least have the facts. This film puts them front and center.

I thank Stephen Bannon for putting something out there that delivers truth.

And I especially thank Sarah Palin for being the kind of individual — an exceptional leader and hard-working everyday American — that this country needs so very much right now.

Jedediah Bila is a conservative columnist, television commentator and author of the new book Outnumbered: Chronicles of a Manhattan Conservative. For more information on Jedediah, please visit jedediahbila.com. Follow Jedediah on Twitter.