What was most perplexing to me about the film, though, was its title.
I wondered why the film was titled “The Undefeated” when Palin had lost two elections and was forced to resign from the governorship of a state she loved. These clearly were defeats.
So that was one of the first things I asked Stephen Bannon, who made the film independent of the Palins.
Bannon said the title represents “the values [Palin] stands for and represents — the American spirit that is found on the frontier — and those values cannot be defeated.”
America has been shaped by those who have defiantly stared down failure and tried again.
In a sense, that is what “The Undefeated” seeks to convey, and it is that state of mind that can potentially propel Palin to the nomination and beyond.
“The Undefeated” is Southern in the sense that it captures the essence of a proudly defiant spirit. And Palin can claim that mantle more than anyone in the race.
“The Undefeated” is also an exurban, frontier state of mind. Americans go to the exurbs and the frontier to start anew and to reinvent themselves, often after failing. In many cases, the failures have been exacerbated by liberal government policies.
In the end, the defiant optimism in the face of the failure, which “The Undefeated” is about, is really the story of America.
Since America’s founding, immigrants have flocked to her shores, often after failing in some way in their native lands. Today, immigrants mix with native-born Americans seeking a better life for themselves and their children in a country that encourages second and third attempts at success.
It is also a country where someone who did not come from wealth, go to elite schools, or spoke the King’s English can rise to the top of society. America’s aristocracy is found in her soil, as the Founding Fathers said.
America is a country where someone whose reputation has been battered gets to rehabilitate it and come back better than before and write the next chapters in their life and not have them be written for them.
America is a country where people get to try again, where it’s never too late to be what one could have been.
America has been built by people who have not shrunk from failures. By people who have not hidden from the world after a catastrophe. By people who have not kept their head down after failing.
In a sense, America is the “do-over” country.
And that is the message that “The Undefeated” delivers, which non-Palinistas, liberals, independents, and conservatives can all embrace.
If Palin can convince Americans that she personifies the American “can do-over” spirit, she can not only win the nomination, she can defeat Barack Obama.