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Sarah Palin: vicious? You betcha!

This article is over 12 years, 7 months old
Nick Broomfield’s new documentary Sarah Palin: You Betcha! shocks and entertains, writes Siân Ruddick
Issue 2282

For the millions who hate Sarah Palin and her reactionary politics, the rise and fall of the former governor of Alaska makes a gripping spectacle.

Nick Broomfield uses his documentary to find out the truth about the Tea Party Republican in a funny and engaging way.

There is little in Sarah Palin: You Betcha! that people with an eye on US politics would have missed in terms of the big events.

It charts her sacking of state employees who oppose her and the high profile scandals that have engulfed her family.

The film gives an intimate view of the way that Palin has treated people throughout her political career. It highlights the methods she has used to silence her critics.

Broomfield also steers well away from the sexism of the liberal media, which wrote endless articles about her clothes, lipstick and hairstyles.


Instead he goes for a much more interesting angle—and presents a deeply defensive, conservative, opportunistic reactionary who trusts no one outside her innermost circle.

The film opens by interviewing people in Alaska who have known Palin for years.

One says, “When she talks to you, she makes you feel like you’re the only person in the world.”

But later in the film Broomfield shows other parts of these interviews where those Palin has campaigned alongside describe the vicious nature of her campaigns.

The sister of Levi Johnston—the ex‑­boyfriend of Palin’s daughter—describes being used by the Palin 2008 campaign.

When her bid for the vice presidency failed, “they didn’t need us any more so weren’t going to pretend to like us”. She talks of how Levi was used to make them look like a model family, telling him, “Don’t say anything, just smile.”

Conservative Christianity seems to have played a role in dividing the community.

Members of Palin’s evangelical church, the Assembly of God, would pray for her victory.


Broomfield shows footage of Palin being blessed by a pastor, who calls on Jesus to bring her money and political success.

If you weren’t up for being part of this, you became an outsider. None of Palin’s fellow churchgoers, other than her parents, would speak to Broomfield.

One personal feud that hit the headlines was Palin’s hounding of her sister’s ex-husband Mike Wooten.

Palin wanted to sack Wooten, an Alaska policeman, whom she accused of illegally shooting a moose.

She sacked one police chief who said the allegations were unfounded.

Palin employed another police chief, an ally, who refused to sack Wooten. She sacked him too.

Palin is a vicious right winger and a ruthless politician. But it is almost certain that there are countless more that operate in the same way that she does.

Broomfield’s film is light—but its funny and engaging tone sees it through.

Sarah Palin: You Betcha! is at cinemas now. It will also be broadcast on More4 on Tuesday 27 December at 10pm

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