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

Gergen: Will Sarah Palin appeal in suburban America?


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. David

    The Republicans have thrown down the gauntlet and the Democrats must respond in kind. It was a vile night for the American people to see a party reduced, maybe even diminished, to such lows.

    September 4, 2008 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  2. Amy

    No way, no how and no Palin. She's just a puppet on a string for the Rep. Party!

    September 4, 2008 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  3. Dem in San Diego

    How can we take her and the Republican party seriously when during her speech they showed several people wearing buttons that referred to her as the "Hot Chick"?

    The Republicans are being sexist toward their own candidate!

    September 4, 2008 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  4. Virginia Voter

    I sure hope not.

    September 4, 2008 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  5. Tim

    It definately will leave voters cold. Thats why the speech was terrible McCain needs to drop her and pick Romney before its too late.

    September 4, 2008 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
  6. interesting

    Yes, Ask Clinton in the democratic primaries?

    PUMA 2008! We still here.

    McCain-Palin all the way!

    September 4, 2008 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
  7. jodi54

    The Republican Convention was one of the most mean-spirited, offensive hate-fests I have ever witnessed. Without substance or useful detail, these pitbulls were frothing at the mouth while spewing lies and half-truths about their opponents. The whole thing looked like a Klan meeting – all hate-twisted white faces. It was horrible, just horrible.

    And they told us nothing about what they would do for this country. It was mostly about McCain as a POW and what that says about his character. The guy has been a politician a lot longer than he was a military man. But they said nothing about what he’s accomplished in his 26 years in the Senate. Un-freakin’-believable.

    They have taught me to hate them like never before. And “hate” is a truly accurate description.

    September 4, 2008 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
  8. Samuel in Florida

    America already doesn't have the stomach for attack politics, but to have it coming from a woman with children, makes it a little bit worse. You can call it sexism if you want but it's so easy for people to see her as an "angry trashy woman"... c'mon Gergen, you know that's how it plays in the Suburbs and Rural areas.

    September 4, 2008 12:25 am at 12:25 am |
  9. fa

    NO SHE WONT. This guy dont get it. WE are tierd of all the insults, divisiveness that camem from the McCain camp tonight. I was really torn and in tears. ENOUGH!

    September 4, 2008 12:25 am at 12:25 am |
  10. Saad, NJ

    However awesome of a speech Palin may have delivered and however marvelous it may have sounded at the RNC, it concerns me that this is going to be our country's #2 goto person. However much I respect Senator McCain for what he has done for our country, it concerns me that he will be our country's #1 goto person. We all know who we 'were' and we all know who we 'are' – it concerns me of who we we will 'be' in coming years. It concerns me of how we will be measure in our own country as well as how we will measure in the ever more global world – especially in terms of economy and in terms of global leader and the goto country. These are just very serious concerns which I do not know the answers to – but it does concern me of our direction and God forbid, our decline, national and internationally.

    September 4, 2008 12:25 am at 12:25 am |
  11. Bryan Hill

    Honestly, she doesn't seem able to bring anyone to McCain that he didn't have already. Obama's "cultural differences" were going to scare away the Palin base anyway, so I don't think she puts more voters in play for him.

    Obama's a "dense population" candidate. That was clear in the primaries. He just might be too black and hi falootin' for the Palin crowd, but McCain had them at "hello".

    Cheers, David.


    September 4, 2008 12:25 am at 12:25 am |
  12. dee

    David finds nothing wrong or insulting about her speech.

    Very troubling.

    Obama Biden will will Win Big

    September 4, 2008 12:25 am at 12:25 am |
  13. Marie-Lynn

    No because she doesn't care

    September 4, 2008 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  14. Bulldog

    I personally thought she was more of the same once again. All she did was attack the other side and not give any solutions how she will be any different than George Bush and Dick Cheney. Matter of fact, her attack style and name calling reminded me of a combination of Dick Cheney and Karl Rove.

    September 4, 2008 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  15. Shirley-Ohio


    September 4, 2008 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  16. Peter - Denver

    Palin's speech was divisive and full of lies and distortions. Typical Republican crap. People are sick of the GOP's negative crap.

    September 4, 2008 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  17. ricardo williams

    Finally with heard Palin and the woman threw some good punches. She sounded a bit nervous at times, but it is her first outing and it is understandable. She labeled Obama as a celebrity and McCain as a maverick. She briefly mentioned her achievements. Her solutions sounds the same as what is offered by the Democrats except for the off-shore drilling.
    Here is my take on off-shore drilling. It is not a solution. It is a diversion from the real solution just like the war in Iraq was a diversion from the actual war in Afghanistan. Off-shore drilling is a detour just like the bridge to no where, that Palin first supported. It is important to get it right the first time. It is important to focus on the real solution and not be scattered all over the place. To me that is what Obama is bringing to the table. Focus.

    Hats off to Guilliani. He is funny like hell. He stole the show. He was convincing on why it may be risky to vote for Obama and he did it in a very likable manner. What he didn't say is that He, Guilliani is on the wrong side of the issues as advocated by McCain and Palin. But Guilliani made me laugh and for that he is the man of the Republican Convention so far.

    September 4, 2008 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  18. CNN loves McCain

    Palin appeals to rednecks. Period.

    September 4, 2008 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  19. Now a Repub 4 Obama

    I was a republican on the fence who has finally made a decisicn! What I heard tonight was nothing but vile hatred spewed at the Excel Center! Why do we always have to divide and conquer? I want us to be the UNITED States of America!! I want hope and unity! I'm sick of what as happened in America for the last decade! And as a community organizer myself, I was slightly offended by "America's Mayor"! I guess I don't do anything to help America and others! That really turned me off!

    September 4, 2008 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  20. Robert

    She came off as filled with hate. Does that sell well in the suburbs?

    September 4, 2008 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  21. Sally

    I think you're right... this suburban soccermom,for one, was left cold.... and disgusted. She came across as a strident right-wing extremist, and I found that very unbecoming.

    September 4, 2008 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  22. Barbara Ash

    Terrible example for our youth to see a 17 year old pregnant girl and her boyfriend parade before America! What family value is that?

    September 4, 2008 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  23. Will18E

    Self proclaimed hockey mom.

    Remember the old GOP add "it's 8:p.m. do you know where you children are?
    Where I come from teenage premarital sex is not call hockey.

    September 4, 2008 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  24. EX -Democrat know for McCain

    Yes!!! Mrs. Palin is a excellent person for the job!!! Thank-God for now were happy saying we can vote for someone we can trust!! As ex-democrats voter's we had the last straw with Obama and his name trashing supports. Obama stands for everything wrong and not right in this Country were sick of him. Oh by the way we still think Mrs. Clinton is a good person.

    September 4, 2008 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  25. Sam from Maryland


    September 4, 2008 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
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