Sarah Palin: You Betcha!
Sarah Palin is a galvanizing political force in America’s deepening cultural rift. While her missteps are lambasted by critics and satirists, her base of support only grows. After her defeat as a Vice Presidential candidate and her resignation as Alaska’s governor, she retains a red-hot following stoked by her bestselling book Going Rogue: An American Life and the TV series Sarah Palin’s Alaska . She assiduously avoids taking questions from reporters, preferring to communicate with her fans via Facebook and Twitter. Filmmaker Nick Broomfield has never been fazed by uncooperative subjects, conducting his pursuits like a vigilante armed with a boom pole, frequently backed by his collaborator Joan Churchill behind the camera. His past documentary targets include Margaret Thatcher, Courtney Love and Heidi Fleiss. When headline makers block his access, he brings them down to a human scale by exploring their milieu.
For Sarah Palin – You Betcha!, that means travelling to Alaska. Broomfield makes several trips to interview Palin’s parents, neighbours and former colleagues. They trace her values to her upbringing in the Pentecostal faith. One memorable archival clip shows a church ceremony in which she is being exorcised of witches. An Alaskan pastor characterizes her faith as “apocalyptic Christian” and elaborates, “She has no hesitancy to use violence against evil...Until you understand that, I don’t think you understand Sarah Palin.”
Can she rise to a higher office? Several former allies describe Palin throwing them “under the bus” when they got in the way of her ambition. John McCain’s senior strategist tells Broomfield that she’s “deeply dishonest,” describing her aspiration to be President as “spine-chilling.”
Broomfield brings a wry humour to his quest, but also draws out the serious implications of Palin’s political future. Is this worthy of your concern? You betcha.