Over the weekend, HBO ran "Game Change," the film documenting the McCain campaign decision to put Sarah Palin on the ticket in the 2008 election. Opposite of this was the film "The Undefeated," a pro-Palin documentary trumpeting her accomplishments. Watching both, you'd think they were talking about two completely different people.
"Game Change" was based upon a book about the 2008 election by John Heilemann and Mark Halperin, published two years ago. It shows ex-Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as an earnest, warm character, even sympathetic in many respects. It also showed that she was way over her head, lacking basic knowledge of economic issues and foreign affairs. She also, the film implies, cracked at times under pressure.
Julianne Moore's portrayal of Palin does balance the highlights (a great convention speech and debate performance) with the lowlights (the Gibson and Couric interviews, and some behind-the-scenes catatonic reactions).
"The Undefeated" is about as pro-Palin a film as could be imagined. She walks on water. Everyone loves her. Nothing goes wrong. The whole 2008 election is described as one big media attack, with images of zebras being eaten by lions. Her resignation in 2009 is juxtaposed against a collapsing highway and an erupting volcano. Andrew Breitbart, Kate Obenshain, and Mark Levin are portrayed as politically neutral, not conservative commentators.
So which is right - at least according to polls about her "presidential" nature? Voters at the polls in 2008 were barely asked questions about all four candidates, presidential and vice-presidential. The most important one dealt with whether or not the candidates were experienced enough or qualified to be president.
By a 59 percent to 40 percent margin, voters felt John McCain had the right experience to be president (though based upon his lengthy service, I am convinced that number should have been higher). These same voters in the CNN survey were split on Barack Obama, with 50 percent thinking he was experienced enough, and another 48 percent thinking otherwise.
Despite his frequent gaffes, voters said Joe Biden was qualified enough to be president, by a 66 percent to 32 percent score. But the voters did not feel the same way about Palin. Only 38 percent said she was qualified enough to be president, with 60 percent thinking otherwise, in that CNN poll.
It would be easy to write this off as liberal bias, but Obama's tepid support from the public opinion polls indicates otherwise. Furthermore, McCain was found to be more experience than Barack Obama. Palin may be more ready for the national stage now (and there are rumors she wants to run again, even this year), but four years ago, voters felt otherwise.