Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Wisconsin's Close-up in Sarah Palin's Propaganda Film

You may recall Sarah Palin's most recent visit to Madison in April. The appearance was last minute. The weather was terrible. The crowds were small. The results were underwhelming. The whole event begged the question: why even bother? Well, here's your answer: the episode features prominently in the new Palin documentary that's apparently premiering in Iowa this month:
The film's coda is introduced with an on-screen caption that reads, "From here, I can see November." It is here that Mark Levin alludes to Ronald Reagan as a Palin-like insurgent who was also once distrusted by the GOP establishment.

Palin is then shown firing up a rally that occurred just last month on the steps of the state capitol in Wisconsin. "What we need is for you to stand up, GOP, and fight," Palin, in vintage campaign form, shouts to the crowd. "Maybe I should ask some of the Badger women's hockey team -- those champions -- maybe I should ask them if we should be suggesting to GOP leaders they need to learn how to fight like a girl!"

Following an extended in-your-face riff by Andrew Breitbart in which he repeatedly denounces as "eunuchs" the male Republican leaders who decline to defend Palin, the film ends with one last scene from the April rally in Madison: "Mr. President, game on!" Palin shouts before a martial drumbeat ushers in a closing quotation by Thomas Paine, which also appeared in "Going Rogue." The implication is neither subtle nor easy to dismiss.
Now I'm dying to see the film, if only to see how the Madison event is spun. By most measures it was something of a disaster. But this detail does explain why Palin and the rest of the speakers were so insistent that the numerous hecklers shut up during the proceeding: the event wasn't for the crowd that had gathered at the capitol, the small number of people watching on TV or even the folks reading the paper the next day: it was for the (undoubtedly heavily edited) film's audience.

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