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. ruscotty

    I listened to Sara Palin's speech and felt the Deja Vu of listening to George Bush – demeaning the good works and sensitivity of men who have either spent their lives striving to improve their communities or their productive years to date doing so. Why make pejorative comments about community service? What is the point? What does this woman even know of John McCain, what can she offer the administration. She spent five minutes introducing her clan and then
    clearly read the Rovian prepared speech.
    It was not such a beautiful thing watching that white homogeneous crowd shreik and chant...reminded me of another country and time not too long ago.

    September 4, 2008 03:04 am at 3:04 am |
  2. Priscilla

    Sarah Palin did nothing more tonight than demonstrate two things: it takes absolutely no vision or leadership to be a "pit bull", and when you have nothing of substantial value to offer, sling falsehoods and insults. Palin's speech was 30 minutes of her spewing sarcasm and proof positive that nothing in the McCain/Palin ticket represents anything resembling change or reform. Tonight–the group that spent millions criticizing Obama for no substance–chose to spend their prime time with no mention of health care, no mention of education, no mention of inflation or the housing crisis, no mention of the declining treatment of veterans returning from war, no mention of Afghanistan and the growing destabilization in Pakistan, no meaningful discussion of Iraq outside the same old vitriolic language that has come out of the McCain campaign for months. It was just several long hours of attacks and insults and mockery and outright lies about Obama's policies plus the telling and retelling and retelling yet again of McCain's horrendous experiences as a POW. This ticket is nothing new–it's just Karl Rove in a new year. One thing they said tonight was right: the stakes are way, way too high for this kind of campaigning. And I believe people in rural America AND suburban America–especially those losing their sons and daughters in a needless $10 billion a month war or those who can't afford to go to the doctor or those making minimum wage with no hope for financial security or those whose jobs have been outsourced–will see that, as well. Where is the integrity of the Republican party? What happened to their conscience?

    September 4, 2008 03:04 am at 3:04 am |
  3. Tibor Lin

    Mr. Gergen:

    By the way: Bloggers attack CNN because many of their personnel is
    lauding SARAH PALIN. They forget that these persons are normally Democratic leaning !

    This demonstrate the effectiviness of Palins performance !!

    Tibor

    September 4, 2008 03:04 am at 3:04 am |
  4. Donna

    "I could hardly stand listening to her, as she attacked Senators Obama and Biden. "

    I agree, Alison. You know, at the very least she could have shown a little respect for the fact that Senator Obama stood up for her family's privacy this week. Even when they go after his policies, the Dems frequently say they respect Senator McCain's service to our country. There's just no respect being shown at the GOP convention. What a great bunch of Christians packed in that room!

    September 4, 2008 03:04 am at 3:04 am |
  5. Masayoshi

    Indeed a shrill of garbage from a trashy pitbull.

    September 4, 2008 03:05 am at 3:05 am |
  6. Vivica

    I think your comments are biased. You are already expecting her to fail...or hoping she will. As a voter with one foot in the small rural community and one foot in urbania, I can already tell you, I think AMERICA is ready for someone to give Obamason a good kick in the pants. He has been a media darling throughout the entire campaign. He's a racist...he's elitist...he's not done ANYTHING to tell me he is ready to lead. Good speaker...indeed. Lots of hot air, but no track record of change to be had. I think you are all underestimating the urbanites. Kindly note, not ALL urban cities vote to the left.

    September 4, 2008 03:05 am at 3:05 am |
  7. Kim

    I practice law at a conservative large law firm in a very conservative state. Some of the partners today stated that their republican wives have decided to vote Obama because of Palin. Some of my colleagues who supported Hillary Clinton are insulted by McCain's pick of Palin. They don't relate to her. McCain may have brought some of the base back in but he sure pushed a lot of other folks out.

    September 4, 2008 03:05 am at 3:05 am |
  8. 30 year set back for women

    I have fought for women's rights, paid for my own education (which goes beyond Mrs. Palin's B.A., thank you), and fought for respect in a male dominated field. I did so with dignity, without playing the gender card.

    She is a puppet who didn't write her own speech. Drop the gender card and speak for yourself. She could have told us ONE plan, ONE thing she stood for, ONE reason we should have confidence in her, but she just wasted her time and ours poorly attacking.

    And stop playing the hockey-mom because I DON'T CARE. So, she is just like every other woman – How is that a selling point? I am not looking for AVERAGE. What will you do for my country? She cleaned house in Alaska, firing anyone who disagreed with her, but she can't fire elected officials and foreign leaders. She needs to learn to tact and diplomacy since she will need to work with others. We are one nation of many in the world and I don't want her speaking on our behalf.

    I am so sick of Republicans trying to RULE the nation by FEAR and DIVISIVENESS. I want my country back.

    I McCan't stand another 4 years.

    September 4, 2008 03:05 am at 3:05 am |
  9. Maureen

    We don"t have much of what you'd call suburbs, but even here in Alaska there are areas where she is not as wildly popular as reports seem to indicate. She has often seemed combative just for the sake of distinguishing herself as a "reformer" and she has left a lot of broken promises and angry people along the way.

    September 4, 2008 03:05 am at 3:05 am |
  10. Mike

    I really appreciate the optimism here (it's clear that this is a liberal's hangout) ... but let's be honest – Palin showed that us Dems are in real trouble. Will she appeal to suburbanites? ABSOLUTELY YES!!! Those of us who were already voting Obama can bash her all we want. But, they need to realize that this was a "base" speech (not meant to swing any voters). And, I have to admit that she hit it out of the park tonight. Palin's just getting started & Obama/Biden are going to have trouble.

    September 4, 2008 03:05 am at 3:05 am |
  11. The Great American, Columbus ohio

    This is the greatest time so far this election! The left is in disarray and the media is in a mad scramble. It will be even more glorious to watch a mom from Wasilla, Alaska wipe the floor with big bad Joe Biden. The election took a turn for the worst for the Democrats.

    Long Live Freedom.
    McCain/Palin '08

    thegreatamericablog.blogspot.com

    September 4, 2008 03:06 am at 3:06 am |
  12. Adrienne

    Michelle Obama had so much more grace and heart than Palin. Palin seemed like a guest that is pushy and looks in your refrigerator and laughs when hurt happends to another. That's it. She went too low and crossed a line.. and that made her not seem trustworthy or very kind on an instinctive level. I'm not sure how it will play out. But it did not impress me. And she could have. Even when i don't agree with something I can recognise beauty. Tear down this wall. That was beauty. what palin did tonight was not beauty. It felt ugly.

    September 4, 2008 03:06 am at 3:06 am |
  13. Ulrike

    Please, America, this is not about suburbia and not even only about America, it´ s about world issues and millions of lives.You cannot possibly think of putting Sarah Palin in charge of world politics.
    Bush has antagonized everyone including his allies and now the Republicans come up with someone who would be even more of a danger to some peace and intelligence and goodwill on this earth?
    I heard she´s been abroad only once and that in Kuwait and just hope it isn´t true.She seems a totally prejudiced sort of person and her speech was simply nasty the way a high school queen might get nasty with opponents.I can tell you, from Europe, that almost all of Europe is eagerly waiting for the end of the Bush era that has split the world.We are in this economically and politically with you but we don´t have a vote. I´m afraid for my children´s future. We´re looking for some wisdom, some respect of other creeds and races, some statesmanship, for an end to recession that has spread to Europe already.Please, Americans,it´s in your hands now to make the world a safer and not a worse place full of antagonism and selfishness and war.You cannot honestly think of putting this provincial lady with her antedeluvian beliefs on top of the world.If McCain thought of anyone except himself and his victory he wouldn´t have picked her.

    September 4, 2008 03:06 am at 3:06 am |
  14. Nicky

    I have been a dedicated libertarian since the Bush administration began, thus, always choosing far left or somewhere nearby. I got to thinking about our two choices on the Presidential ticket, and was in the middle. Behind all of the media, which really does ruin reality and constructiveness for both candidates, I had a mutual respect for both of their point of views on health care, economy, and a cleaner environment. I felt that Palin's entrance into the race was a big hit for the Republican's. It's amazing to see a woman on the ticket as VP!! WOW!! However, after tonights speech, what a joke! She didn't even try!!! This isn't 6th grade! The Republican party is just riding on the wave of Hillary Clinton. They are hoping all of those Clinton supporters, just wanted a woman in office, regardless of party lines. Palin didn't prove anything about herself. I don't care about her family and how she was a governor. I care about what she can and will do for this country. I believe she feels that the Hillary Clinton phenomena is enough to get her into office. Better think again sister!

    September 4, 2008 03:07 am at 3:07 am |
  15. texas democrat

    She sounded like a regular republican to me. Always putting your opponent down while beefing up their party while carrying around lots of corruption and misconduct. They are usually good people they just don't wear it well.

    September 4, 2008 03:07 am at 3:07 am |
  16. Reggie Boykins

    Ahh! The good news is that she welcomes the fight.

    Indeed, she is someone who will stand toe-to-toe with Biden in a debate. It would be a terrible mistake for Biden to approach this woman from a position of empathy; she has instigated a fight with the media (who doesn't really know her), she presents a disdain for Barack and his life's journey. And she seems prepared to promulgate lies, (particularly about taxing the poor), typical of Republican politicians.

    Palin wants to prove she is tough and has come ready to fight. She should not be disappointed.

    Biden has to, "take it to her" because she is not only asking for it, she wants it.

    Palin has officially fired-up the Democratic base and as we thank her, we shall proceed to "squash" her.

    The fight for the presidency is ON!

    September 4, 2008 03:07 am at 3:07 am |
  17. Deanne

    I'm a registered independent, a woman, I consider myself a Moderate–and after this week, I realize that there is no place for me in the republican party.

    And as a community organizer, I have to ask, what is wrong with working with the community? I've helped teens after school, walked neighborhood beats, and organized events to raise money for neighborhood projects, amongst other things. With my church we organized Bake Sales to raise money for the Homeless. Why did they attack us>

    September 4, 2008 03:08 am at 3:08 am |
  18. Concerned for the future

    GOP is trying to get a piece of the change pie.

    But can someone tell me how reading a speech written by Bush's writer is change?

    September 4, 2008 03:08 am at 3:08 am |
  19. Celina

    Palin laughs at derogatory comment aimed at her rival, Lyda Green. Lyda Green is a cancer survivor and a radio host called her a cancer and a b#@*&. Very, very disappointing.

    September 4, 2008 03:08 am at 3:08 am |
  20. michael from arizona

    Palin's touted as being an expert on oil and gas. So is Dick Cheney. Over the last 8 years we've seen attack and attack on the environment while at the same time a huge increase in oil prices. Enough of this expertise! Count this Arizonan as firmly against McCain.

    September 4, 2008 03:08 am at 3:08 am |
  21. W.SHIRE

    THE REPUBLICANS STILL COULD'T FILL THE HALL. THE QUESTION THAT IS MORE TO THE POINT IS – CAN THE REPUBLICANS GOVERN? THE PAST EIGHT YEARS DO NOT INSPIRE CONFIDENCE.

    September 4, 2008 03:10 am at 3:10 am |
  22. paul

    the problem is this what is this day 2 or 3 and not one word from sara palin about the republican partys achevements over the last 8 years . so they show no accountability how arrogant can a party be . and not one new policy to take this country forward . FOR GOD SAKE MEDIA DO YA JOB HOLD THE REPUBS ACOUNTABLE FOR THE LAST EAIGHT YEARS . AT LEAST ASK THEM TO LIST THE GRAT THINGS THEY HAVE DONE . ASK THEM TO EXPLAIN THE EC ONOMY WOULD YOU AND WHATS THEIR PRESCRIPTION TO FIX IT . NOT JUST THE SAME OLD MANTRA OF TAX CUTS , TAX CUTS ITS A TIRED OLD LINE THEY DRAG OUT . CAN THEY EXPLAIN HOW WE CAN CONTIMNUE THESE WARS WITH OUT PAYING FOR THEM WERE 10 TRILLION IN DEBT BECOUSE OF CLOWNS LIKE MISS PALIN AND THE GOP . COME ON MEDIA ITS NOT FAIR ON THE PEOPLE PLEASE DO YA JOB THANKS .

    September 4, 2008 03:10 am at 3:10 am |
  23. canyonguy

    This is the person John McCain thinks should be a heartbeat away from the Presidency of the U.S.?

    It would be funny if this were some kind of parody or send-up of U.S. politics (like 'Wag the Dog' or 'Bulworth')...but McCain is serious.

    For McCain to pick Palin, and after watching her tonight I feel even more strongly about this, is an insult to women, to voters, to basically all Americans.

    By the time November rolls around, it's going to look like a landslide for Obama.

    September 4, 2008 03:10 am at 3:10 am |
  24. les

    The republicans can keep playing the same old divisive politics of Bush because they don't have any ideas on helping turn this country around. They can't claim credit for the last eight years because nothing was accomplished!

    September 4, 2008 03:10 am at 3:10 am |
  25. Ruby Wolfe

    I'm an Alaska, and when the truth gets out about Palin, she will sink the Republicans. She is not an innocent do-gooder. She is under legislative investigation in Alaska for using her power illegally to fire the State Comissioner of Public Safety who would not bow to her pressure to fire a state trooper who Palin's sister was in a divorce custody battle with. The Comissioner, Walt Monegan, former Chief of Police of Anchorage, said he would die for Sarah Palin, but he would not lie for her. So what does Sarah do, now that this is entering in the limelight? She filed an ethics complaint against herself, hoping it would move it to the ethics panel, a 3 person panel SHE APPOINTED. She has hired an attorney and the attorney has tried to squash the independent legislative investigation. How's that for sweet small town beauty queen behavior? Her talons run deep, don't let the sweet smile deceive you. I say impeach her for flagrant misuse of her gubernatorial power, and then trying to conceal her wrongdoings and thwart an independent investigation. She's as stinky as Ted Stevens!

    September 4, 2008 03:10 am at 3:10 am |
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