September 4th, 2008
12:22 AM ET
6 years ago

Gergen: Will Sarah Palin appeal in suburban America?

ALT TEXT

Palin wowed the RNC Wednesday, but how will she play in suburbia? (Photo credit: E.M. Pio Roda / CNN )

It is clear from tonight's national debut that Sarah Palin may connect extremely well in rural, small-town America. And no doubt, Republicans will be sending her there in key states like Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan and the like. Her pit bull style, combined with her humor and presence along with her roots, will likely draw people to her. Lots of people there will look forward to hearing her in person.

The question for me is whether she will also appeal in suburban America. I am not at all certain that she will: her combative, anti-elitist style - along with her staunch conservatism on issues like abortion - may just leave a lot of voters cool if not cold.

The answer to that question could have a big bearing on the election. What do you think?

soundoff (1,169 Responses)
  1. Bill S

    I watched every minute of her speech and I have to disagree with Mr. Gergen. I wouldn't drive across town to see her. To me she came off as angry, impolite, and mean spirited. She wraps herself in the flag, and speaks in the gung ho lingo that she thinks pro-war neocons want to hear. But for average Americans struggeling to put food on the table and buy groceries for our families, we didn't hear her speak to us. It was if we didn't exist. She had no plan to help educate our children, end our occupation of Iraq, or provide heathcare to millions without insurance. This was a rally of empty rhetoric and flag waving without one mention of President Bush. I was not impressed. As an Independent voter, she didn't help her cause one iota.

    September 4, 2008 12:45 am at 12:45 am |
  2. Dave

    Of course she does. What's funny is that you have to ask the question. She's got such a great appeal to the rest of us that you insiders are twiddling your thumbs over it. How funny that you have to get Gergen to ask the question!!! hahahaha. What irony! We love it. My newly voting age daughter couldn't get enough of her. Only you baggy eyed talking heads don't get it!

    September 4, 2008 12:45 am at 12:45 am |
  3. Brenda

    I live in suburban America and I am conservative. I am pro-life and anti- elitist. So in this city she plays well with me!!!!!!!!!! You don't have to live in a small town to have small town values!!!!!!

    September 4, 2008 12:45 am at 12:45 am |
  4. Mom3

    I am single mother with 3 kids. She did not talk about any issure that I care about. I can't believe that she trashed OBAMA with his community organizer experience. That did not make her look better at all. We need people like OBAMA everyday in our life as community organizer to understand our needs, to help us to improve our community, even country, he is the one we need. No Palin. This speeh just did not sound very positive and right to me. No. I have to give the vote to Obama. BTW, her voice is very annoying.

    September 4, 2008 12:45 am at 12:45 am |
  5. deroy

    she seems real. much better than joseph robinette biden, jr in his 37th year in the senate.

    guess he never could get that law license for a day job.

    September 4, 2008 12:45 am at 12:45 am |
  6. Stop Insulting the Intelligence of the American People!

    Let's be honest here...

    1.) The notion that "most" voters don't carefully consider the issues, and vote on much shallower perceptions is a right-wing idea that has been used to belittle and down-play the real constituents of this country for far too long. According to these people, if you have any education above a GED or HS diploma and think before pulling the lever, you must be an Elitist Snob. It's absolutely not true and offensive to boot. Since when has getting an education to better yourself and your family been a negative in this country? The real truth is that Republicans don't like a tough argument. Rather than prove the left wrong with a legitimate point, they tend to cry foul play and/or bleat out the same sorry lines again and again. That clip between the CNN anchor with the guts to press a legitimate question and the idiot sent to represent McCain/Palin the other night is proof enough. And Obama lacks substance? Come on people, we're smarter than that and it's time they give us credit for it.

    2.) I agree with Gergen; while she will bring much charisma and appeal to the people who are looking for reasons to bash Obama and the left, the only people who will be influenced to vote for McCain by her in any significant margin will be those who wouldn't have voted for the blue team anyways.

    The problem is that while she is so quick to attack and belittle, she says even less of what significant changes she will bring than what Obama's accused of. And the whole experience argument? I might buy some of it about McCain, but arguing Palin has more experience than Obama also rules out McCain in the same argument.

    September 4, 2008 12:45 am at 12:45 am |
  7. Melissa Sandoval

    Sarah Palin appeals to all types of voters. PALIN POWER! Go McCain/Palin 2008!

    September 4, 2008 12:46 am at 12:46 am |
  8. Rick

    Nonsense. She is bright, sharp and well-versed. People are attracted to intelligence, and substance. Neither are present on the Dem side, compared to the Republican ticket. Palin plays well with those who know the score.

    September 4, 2008 12:46 am at 12:46 am |
  9. jay

    The media and Palin changed my mind on what party to pick, and the news channels cnn and nbc really convinced me to vote for Mccain.

    P.S. I also know that 10 of my freinds changed their minds to vote for Mccain, and not Obama

    September 4, 2008 12:46 am at 12:46 am |
  10. Igor

    To me she did not appeal me at all, she disgusts me with her tasteless attacks and disrespect towards other people. I mean how can you put down a person who choose to work for the community instead of choosing a $150K a year starting salary. Also don't forget what type of person she is, she fired a employee for not firing a state trooper that was in a divorce and custody battle with her sister. Can you say abuse of power?

    September 4, 2008 12:46 am at 12:46 am |
  11. YOU GOT TO BE KIDDING! THIS WOMAN IS A JOKE

    Sarah talk about Down Symdrome, she said "IF", "IF" I AM ELECTED I WILL BE A SPOKES PERSON. WELL "IF" IS A BIG WORD.
    SHE DOESN'T WANT THE JOB IF SHE IS NOT ELECTED.

    SO "IF" I VOTE FOR YOU, I WILL BE UP THE CREEK

    IF YOU REALLY CARE ABOUT THIS COUNTRY, GO BACK TO ALASKA, TO YOUR SMALL TOWN, WHO THINKS YOUR JOKES ARE FUNNY.
    WE NEED SOMEONE WHO IS GOING TO BRING PRIDE BACK TO AMERICA, WORK ON HEALTCARE, AND OTHER ISSUES OF CONCERN. I DON'T HAVE KIDS, I'M NOT A SOCKER MOM, I'M A HARD WORKING WOMAN WITH MORE BRAINS THEN YOU DISPLAYED TONIGHT.
    UPSET, SHE WAS OUR LAST LOOK AT HOPE FOR THE FUTURE OF AMERICANS. I CAN'T BELIEVE MCCAIN, WAS FOOLED BY THIS JOKER. SHE IS TOO SILLY FOR ME!

    September 4, 2008 12:46 am at 12:46 am |
  12. JImmy in California

    She gave a great speech, and it was funny too. I hope she takes the time to realize she drove away lots of votes tonight. The thought in the front of my mind was if they won and if anything happened to McCain, may GOD have mercy on this nation.

    September 4, 2008 12:46 am at 12:46 am |
  13. Lin

    Yeah, well, the mayor of my town of 5,000 is a good guy and a decent mayor and could "connect" with rural, small-town America, too. But I sure as heck wouldn't want him to be Vice President of the U.S!!! Scary. Don't patronize us by suggesting we'd vote for this ticket only because she's "one of us." We're not idiots.

    September 4, 2008 12:47 am at 12:47 am |
  14. Sarah in WA

    Palin represents the republican base perfectly- the divisiviness and sarcastic humor in her speech were echoed throughout the Republican convention. This is not what our country needs now... we face many challenges ahead with a changing global economy, energy and domenstic issues that we must stand together to face. Pushing the republican "true patriot" against the dems is not what the majority of Americans are seeking right now.

    September 4, 2008 12:47 am at 12:47 am |
  15. Barbara

    Well she doesn't appeal to me!!! Palin is not a woman I would vote for. When Palin's daughter was attacked by the press Obama stood up for her. But tonight Palin attacked both Obama and his wife in her speech. That lacked integrity. She will do anything the Republican Party requires of her including attacking someone who chose not to attack her and dragging her daughter’s boy friend out to be trotted around like a pony.

    September 4, 2008 12:47 am at 12:47 am |
  16. Suburban white female

    Speaking as a female, suburban Reagan Democrat, no. My number one concern is the economy and having a government that will work on this issue. This kind of political mudslinging in place of actually solving real problems facing Americans, is so tired and a big part of the problem in Washington. The idea of another four years of a government at a stand still because of divisive party political bickering is appalling. I won't vote for the republican ticket this time because we need a functioning federal government.

    September 4, 2008 12:47 am at 12:47 am |
  17. Paula

    This woman is irresponsible.To put down the american people who volunteer in their communities and not even discuss the economy she pretends to know about.She is disgraceful.McCain has ruined himself.I lost the little respect I had for him left.No more pitty for Bush's 2 best friends.

    September 4, 2008 12:47 am at 12:47 am |
  18. Lila

    I'm a suburban female voter and I'm not cold–I'm freezing. This woman is a right wing extremist who leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

    Obama 08

    September 4, 2008 12:47 am at 12:47 am |
  19. MarineBugler

    The Republican convention really resembles America, doesnt it?

    Scary stuff.

    No Asians, one hispanic, three blacks and the rest ... well, time to send the kids to Canada.

    War! Drill! More War! Get shot down and captured, then tortured for years on end! Drill! 911! War! ... God bless America!

    Perspective is everything.

    September 4, 2008 12:47 am at 12:47 am |
  20. Tyrone Brown

    Palin can give a good speech and mission accomplished on firing up the conservative base, but one speech by her or McCain) does not serious a candidate make. She has a lot work to do convince the average American that she should be Vice President, or even more importantly Commander-In-Chief. She also need to do a huge amount of work on getting most of America to stomach her extreme stances on eduction (creationism), the environment (global warming), individual freedom (choice), and the War in Iraq (a task from God).

    No Way No How No McCain/Palin.

    Obama/Biden '08

    September 4, 2008 12:47 am at 12:47 am |
  21. sacto joe

    This speech, written by the best and brightest of the GOP – and NOT Palin! – was long on folksy, long on poorly substantiated attacks, and absolutely absent of ANY meaningful insight.

    The reality is that she's all glitz and no substance.

    September 4, 2008 12:48 am at 12:48 am |
  22. Dino Palavicino

    Another Big Mouth Republican who never left her small town and who doesn't understand what's going on within the world.
    She is what we don't need in the White House, we don't need another Bush's puppet making bad decisions...again...
    Too bad that I spent some time watching her speech....

    September 4, 2008 12:48 am at 12:48 am |
  23. John Q. in NY

    I expect Mr. Obama and Mr. Biden to hammer the "community organizer" comment to death during their upcoming stump speeches. What an arrogant and disrespectful comment from both Mr. Guiliani and Ms. Palin. There were many ways to make that point without dismissing the hard work of millions of Americans – paid and volunteer – who've done more for their communities than any mayor from some podunk Alaskan town could ever do. Pretty clear they don't know exactly what a "community organizer" does, nor what Mr. Obama did when he was in that role.

    This fits perfectly with Mr. Obama's contention that Mr. McCain and company simply don't know what goes on in the lives of us commoners.

    September 4, 2008 12:48 am at 12:48 am |
  24. DR

    Please.

    September 4, 2008 12:48 am at 12:48 am |
  25. Faye

    There is a dramatic contrast between Palin's debut speech and Obama's keynote speech at the Democratic convention four years ago. Obama tried to break down the tired partisan stereotypes and call the America people to find common ground. Palin was as she herself described a "pitbull in lipstick," playing to the threadbare cultural wars and tedious partisan rhetoric.

    The American people are tired of pit bull politics and tired of being pitted against each other in contrived culture wars between "real folks" and "the elite." We are all Americans. We are all real folks and we want the politicians to sit down and work out a solution for energy independence, health care, and the challenges we face in the world. From the acrimony in the Republican speeches tonight and in Sarah Palin's speech, I didn't see that kind of leadership.

    September 4, 2008 12:48 am at 12:48 am |
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