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. who cares

    Palin's Reform: SELL AIR-FORCE ONE!!!!!

    September 4, 2008 12:43 am at 12:43 am |
  2. kimber grace

    All I have to say is "wow!" I honestly did not think I would like Governor Palin as much as I do. First, I would consider myself quite liberal. Second, I do not think that abortion should be a political issue. Lastly, while I love "small town America", I now hail from the 'burbs, and I wasn't sure that Governor Palin would actually be able to convince me that she was my candidate also. But...she did it! I'm an educated, young, liberal, mom-as I state quite often-and I am 100% behind her now. Great choice, Senator McCain!

    September 4, 2008 12:43 am at 12:43 am |
  3. Matt from NYC

    I think that a lot of independent voters wont take the bait from Palin.

    As my 61 year old mother said "It's to bad her positions put her to the right of Atilla the Hun"

    She's a smart cookie, but her positions are going to solidify the evangelical base, not appeal to the Independents or across the aisle to the disaffected Hillary Clinton supporters.

    September 4, 2008 12:43 am at 12:43 am |
  4. Bethany in Nashville

    I honestly wanted to like her, being that there's a 50/50 chance that she'll be our VP. All she did tonight was alienate and anger me.

    All I heard was nasty attacks, and not a single idea about how to fix our Nation's problems. Her comments about Obama's 'inexperience' is absolutely ridiculous considering that she has absolutely none herself.

    September 4, 2008 12:44 am at 12:44 am |
  5. Helen Perry

    A great speech from a couragous woman: a forth right person of integrity. She is clear about the issues facing our country and a willing and capable back up for McCain. The young voter,can identify with the soccer mom, the urban voter can identify with the capable administrator and the suburban voter can identify with the wholesome qualities of the small town girl who has directed the family values to bring about reform. A winning combination for a winning team!

    September 4, 2008 12:44 am at 12:44 am |
  6. CB

    She is too divisive. We've had 8 years of Bush style divisiveness, fear and negativity. She may have guts and can manage a staff – but is she for bringing the troops home or not? it doesn't sound like it.

    September 4, 2008 12:44 am at 12:44 am |
  7. Joe

    Sarah embodies something we'd all like to have, whether we live in a rural setting or urban. She embodies strength, conviction, and courage. Maybe our cities need a good dose of a real person who has a real life, and gets real results to real problems. She's real. How can that be bad for our country? The only thing she's combative about is what will weaken our nation. I want someone to combat elements that will harm my country and my family.

    September 4, 2008 12:44 am at 12:44 am |
  8. JB

    Will she appeal to the suburbs? Doubtful – her extreme views on choice and womens issues will turn off independent and moderate wormen.

    Case in fact – today my 77 year old mother who has been voting republican since she was 18, told me that she will cast her first vote for a democratic candidate – this is especially surprising as I never thought my folks would consider voting for a black man – it's a generational thing. She was insulted by the Palin pick, she thought it was condescending and that she hadn't earned the opportunity. My mother is also a pro-lifer, but is rejecting Palin because of her extreme views on abortion. She's just too far out of the mainstream.

    I never thought I'd see the day...but the mccain palin ticket and the abyssmal performance of the bush admin has soured even the most loyal republican. I'm personally thrilled!

    September 4, 2008 12:44 am at 12:44 am |
  9. Charles

    I live in Houston, Texas. Just down the road from Nasa. I am "suberban America"! I like the way she speaks and she speaks well. You can understand what she is saying. I can hole-heartly can relate to what she is saying. Finally someone who understands what is like, back here on the homefront.

    September 4, 2008 12:44 am at 12:44 am |
  10. nerakami

    I feel like I need a long hot shower and the most abrasive soap I can find to get the dirty and nastiness and violent hatred off me after watching tonight.

    Somebody wrote this in another post but it appropriately described how I felt tonight.

    It felt like America took 10 steps backwards.

    September 4, 2008 12:44 am at 12:44 am |
  11. Brandon

    Regarding the use of "shrill" and Campbell Brown's justified questioning of its use...I completely agree that no man would be refered to in that manner, and that it is in fact condescending and sexist. However, I'm tired of the TALK regarding the sexist media and sexist references to the strong, capable women we have running for political office. The truth is that yes there is sexism alive and well and it has surfaced, but will someone please be as "offended," "surprised," or "shocked" by the old school, traditional, commonly practiced racist way of demeaning, minimizing, condescending, emasculating and addressing any strong, powerful, educated black man. They may just as well refer to him as "boy" and get on with it. The problem is that the Democrats can NOT address the issue because the Old White Educated Male Republican Establishment will "backlash" as hard as they can (and as hard as they have done successfully in the past against anyone/thing that displays the overt racism that still exists in this nation), and when they do backlash, the Young White Uneducated Nascar Republicans will bite and buy it hook line and sinker. Sad. Still I am a half Black man, with a mostly white daughter to be able to share this election, and ALL it represents with her. Let's just be honest and fair with how all of the candidates are being treated. Don't just let the pot call the kettle black.

    September 4, 2008 12:44 am at 12:44 am |
  12. sato

    She will not. Bill will be there and if Palin believe the values of rural america she must believe that they remmber Bill.
    Screeming behind a microphone can be done by a 7 years old kids. she need to show better than that.

    September 4, 2008 12:44 am at 12:44 am |
  13. Roney Ohio

    hockey MOM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! OMG HELP US ALL GOD

    September 4, 2008 12:44 am at 12:44 am |
  14. T

    I think she plays well to the party faithful and can perhaps mobilize those who might have otherwise stayed home.

    But on-on-the-fence Dems and Repubs plus Indies, she seems to be putting them off. You can't play America's Sweetheart and the Tough Attack Dog VP both for those not already thinking you walk on water.

    September 4, 2008 12:44 am at 12:44 am |
  15. Ann in Arkansas

    I was sickened by the thought that the words of Romney, Giuliani, or Palin would resonate with anyone! The tone of those speeches was so hateful, so disrespectful; the content so twisted and spun that to think there are millions of Americans who would vote for such idealogues frightens me. I watched the convention hoping to hear substantive words about the issues, the plan. Instead, I heard nationalistic chants, sophomoric sarcasm, the derision of a man's work as a community organizer – I thought of fascism, of the throngs of frenzied people raising their stiff arms into the air, screaming, "Heil, Hitler!"

    September 4, 2008 12:44 am at 12:44 am |
  16. Chris

    There is no doubt Palin is tough, but she came across as angry, sarcastic, and spoke down to the millions of people who support Obama because of what brought him to the democratic nomination.... a theme of change. To think John McCain is an agent of change is like trying to convince the American people that George Bush truly is a uniter. As for Palin, she has one job and one job only.... Attack. and if you attack her, she will cry "foul" to the so called liberal media. I am curious how the right would feel if a one term governor (i.e. Tim Kane of VA) or someone with a personal scandal (i.e. John Edwards) would of been discussed on the right. Yet...... a one term governor with some personal issues that would make the right salivate if a Democrat were faced with them. I see neither as an issue, but the right conveniently no longer sees those types of things as relevant. How convenient.

    September 4, 2008 12:45 am at 12:45 am |
  17. Barbara

    All I heard out of the her tonight was Hate speech, and Oh Ya how she can throw a punch. Thats great if all you want to do is go to war all the time. But what about Health care. What about Jobs. What about the important things small town people like me want to know. Tonight All I heard was how McCain was in the war, his service, and thats great, but its time to stop and listen to the small town people. I a change, and what I seen tonight was the same Policies of George Bush. I'm still afraid that if I vote for McCain, we might be in another war, with Rushia to defend Georgia. Another Iraq. I don't want that, Sorry, but I voted for Republicans in the primary but I not making that Mistake again, Obama has my vote and yes I am a woman.

    September 4, 2008 12:45 am at 12:45 am |
  18. Young Republican

    She should do stand-up.

    September 4, 2008 12:45 am at 12:45 am |
  19. Theresa(Hillary Supporter)

    I was inpressed but will McCain?Palin get my vote? Probably not because everything she said was wrote for her. Not her own words. As a woman I am very proud of her but as an American she didn't anwer any important questions that Amercians have and that's the ecomony. All I really heard was about the war (same thing we heard 4 years ago with Bush.) If they are talking about they are not like Bush McCain and Palin they need to distance themselves from him if they want to win.

    September 4, 2008 12:45 am at 12:45 am |
  20. red ryder


    September 4, 2008 12:45 am at 12:45 am |
  21. Jatovi, NC

    I doubt she will have a huge appeal to suburban sector besides their base and blind followers. However they will cry sexism and flaunt her family in hopes that they will broaden her appeal. Lets be grown ups, suburbanites, which I am one, I don't think will fall for this political theater.

    September 4, 2008 12:45 am at 12:45 am |
  22. Garrison, Tukwila, WA

    in all seriousness, i've found the majority of the speeches i heard tonight from the RNC to be personally offensive.

    It's like the attitude of the last 8 years' administration.... all concentrated in one building and broadcast on national television.

    September 4, 2008 12:45 am at 12:45 am |
  23. TK

    I am a suburban women and Sara Palin does not appeal to me at all. I am terrified that if McCain is elected, she could some day be president. I feel this nomination was reckless and I would be suprised if any of Hillary's supporters support her. I hope it all backfires in the next few weeks.

    September 4, 2008 12:45 am at 12:45 am |
  24. Denise

    Hi David, I thought her speech will not appeal to suburban voters. Her speech mentioned nothing of the problems that this country is facing, many people in the suburbs are losing their jobs, homes and can't afford college for their kids or pay for gas. Her angry rhetoric and no substance will distance them from the republican party. Not a great job at all!!

    September 4, 2008 12:45 am at 12:45 am |
  25. Adam, Plano, TX

    i don't think she'll make inroads with anyone with a brain in their head.

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