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. Republican Party no place for minorities

    I would love to see McCain and Palin campaign in Harlem, South Central Los Angeles, or East Oakland. That would make for good drama tv.

    Can't wait to see Palin talk to leaders from the middle east too! I'll bring the popcorn and soda.

    They will not get 5% of the African-American vote and will get low percentage of Hispanic and Asian votes.

    September 4, 2008 12:53 am at 12:53 am |
  2. LT for Obama

    What I know is that once her speech has been disected and they all come off their convention high, there will be some reality checking.

    Sarah's speech was full of lies right from the beginning. It has been proven that not only did she say yes to that bridge to nowhere, she took the money and used it for other projects. She does not keep her word. The town that bridge was supposed to help she campaigned in and then when it came time to deliver, she left them in the cold.

    We heard nothing in the form of substance nor did she really answer any questions about her qualifications.

    September 4, 2008 12:53 am at 12:53 am |
  3. DK(@)AZ

    Where is the plan for economic plan?

    September 4, 2008 12:53 am at 12:53 am |
  4. LinnieFB

    The suburban evangelical mega churches already have their marching orders to build up Palin to their congregations. She will do well with them.

    However, a lot of former city dwellers have moved into the suburbs and they won't be as enthralled with Palin.

    Also....suburbanites are being hit real hard now and my guess is the 'soccer moms' who are going back to work because they HAVE TO, are not going to be too excited about Palin and her family issues.

    September 4, 2008 12:53 am at 12:53 am |
  5. RS

    The honeymoon will likely end this week. Beyond the presentation skills, there will come the clarity of the hypocrisy of family-values vs. teen pregnancy/abstinence, beyond private family choice vs. abortion – it appears the Republicans will flip / flop on any issue solely to cling to power. The media also has been dared to take her on – by Palin and Guiliani. I think we can expect even more severe media scrutiny starting today.

    As Brokaw put it best, "Where was Guliuani's left wing media when they also branded him as America's Mayor"?

    For once, give us leadership that uses rational arguments, instead of "faith based" delusion.

    The Republicans won't admit it – but they secretly think of America as only a Christian nation. Creationism as science? While they fight so hard for "less government" and "individual rights" – when it comes to guns, they are all too happy to increase the size of the government when it comes to personal choice of lifestyle or abortion. you cannot have it both ways – with individual rights – or not. If the Supreme Court says abortion is legal – why don't they accept it? That does not seem to put America First.

    The Republicans are scary and getting more fascist by the day.

    September 4, 2008 12:53 am at 12:53 am |
  6. Keith

    Is it just me or did some dark cloud descend on the commentary. Yesterday the CNN on tv was exciting to watch, even edgy and Wolf was a friggen music critic...IT WAS AWESOME. Now, to paraphrase Churchill, an iron curtain has descended. Maybe it's more like the wet blanket of GOP accusations of sexism, media bias and slimy political spin that has poisoned the airwaves of public discourse. Just in time too... McCain was in a bit of trubble. Spin is working, the CNN team are being vewwwwy carefulllll.....

    September 4, 2008 12:53 am at 12:53 am |
  7. william


    September 4, 2008 12:53 am at 12:53 am |
  8. Russ

    Palin and the 3 stooges (Mitt, Huckabee and Rudy) were certainly inspiring to me. I wrote a check out to Obama tonight. I don't want to see that kind of politics anywhere near my government anymore. Making fun of being a community organizer? That's a few million feet over the line.

    September 4, 2008 12:53 am at 12:53 am |
  9. Juan Grain

    People don't care what a candidate sounds like as much as whats in it for them. America wants to know why they should trust the Republicans after the last disasterous 8 years. Americans want manufacturing back in America not just a Rich Alaska and an end to the war in Iraq.

    September 4, 2008 12:53 am at 12:53 am |
  10. The Bush Twins : George and John

    As i listened to Palins words (can't call it a speech) and watched how the crowd reacted, I couldn't help but wonder what's wrong with those people ?. They really don't mind whats happened to our country for the last 7+ years ?. They're willing to vote for more of the same.
    And I just can't get past the fact that they must think she is really capable to lead the nation should something happen to McCain. It's nothing personal, and I do believe that a woman can be VP, but not that woman.

    September 4, 2008 12:53 am at 12:53 am |
  11. McSquid

    Giuliani emphasized that Palin had more "executive experience" than Obama and Biden combined. But that could be said of McCain too. He's never been a mayor, governor, or CEO. Dangerous logic....

    September 4, 2008 12:53 am at 12:53 am |
  12. Diane Dagenais Turbide

    Good evening again,

    I just want to leave you tonight with my own ending sentiment from this evening :
    Tonight, it really felt like being in highschool again for a competition of choosing a president!

    This is the United States of America!

    September 4, 2008 12:53 am at 12:53 am |
  13. Mae

    The Republicans continue to appeal to the religious rights which alienates a lot of people and remains devisive. Doesn't look like after 8 years of Bush it will be any different.

    September 4, 2008 12:53 am at 12:53 am |
  14. Cynthia

    Sarah will appeal to the Republican conservative right and scare the "H-E-double hockey sticks" out of everyone else – male and female: we officially have Bush/Cheney II. At least, the last eight years will serve as a warning sign against Sarah's extreme views and misrepresentations/miseducation and for McCain's ignorant and fear mongering, but charming, personality.

    September 4, 2008 12:53 am at 12:53 am |
  15. Don from California

    I think she just affirmed what Obama has been saying. That the republicans will resort to bellitlement when they can't argue the issue. No issues, just strange attacks. I wonder, is the military the only way to serve this country? I wish they could project the thousands of faces of young adults selflessly working to rebuild Katrina or any other project that community workers or organizers do. How about Americorps? I'm an independant, but I don't think I could ever be a republican now. So they obviously aren't attracting the independant.

    September 4, 2008 12:53 am at 12:53 am |
  16. mary j

    Combative...?! Hardly! What were you listeing to tonight?

    Rep VP Palin was direct, authentic, likeable, smart, quick, fun articluate, and poised...and with a command of the serious issues facing our country and an impressive list of actual executive accomplishments.

    This all adds up to a pretty scarry combination of attributes for the Democrats and elitist liberal media...who will not know how to handle this gifted, natural who will field dress them with a wink and smile before they know they are about to take their last breath.

    September 4, 2008 12:53 am at 12:53 am |
  17. sarah B....Durham,NC

    Mr. Gergen....NO!!.....i have lived in small towns...of one stop light. in Baltimore, Richmond, Durham (well not so big)....and also Inside the Beltway....from inner suburbs....she may bring some nods to some...but a lot of people, men and women...will be shaking their heads!!...

    what does she know about Gangs and drugs over running our inner cities??>> children carring guns to school and killing one another??>>....what does she know about our Economy in the Lower 48??>>...what does she know about Taxes??>> or Foreign Affairs....what exactly is the Demographics in AK??>>.....Beltway Traffic? (it can drive one insane)?>>what about Mental Health/SSI/Medicaid/Medicare/....ANY Healthcare issues..and how to find SOME kind of solution???...ohhh...i could go on....Big to Petty issues....

    how bout those buttons huh??>>....hottest VP??>> ....

    September 4, 2008 12:54 am at 12:54 am |
  18. Jim

    At least she connected with the small crowd at the RNC...ha!

    Bad pick, where was the VP stature we would expect...she seemed less confident than the spin I herd. Attack dog, is that really what Americans think we need in this country...Hilary was not an attack dog, but strong woman who took a stand and I think most people see that difference.

    Maybe while people are losing house and job we can expect a witch hunt in Washington, that appears to be the only "Change" I hear them going on about at this convention. So in 2009, hunt down them darn Liberals. Wait, are they just Americans with a different opinion?

    The term Liberal, and use of it in this convention remind me that the GOP is still stuck in the eighties looking for a single word that sticks.

    They are offering nothing new, I am totally surprised all that money couldn't even buy a strategy that included an America conversation.

    It is obvious they are trying hard to just keep a hold of the base, as today hit no other demographic. Trying way too hard to play up her family but they miss the fact it is hurting them.

    Plan of attack = Fear, appeal to women still mad and try to hope the base comes out...weak, as viewed by an Independent.

    September 4, 2008 12:54 am at 12:54 am |
  19. Georgia

    I'm in Kennesaw GA I will not vote for this party. Her speech was empty. Why was her young child holding the baby. So much hatred! I will vote for Obama/Biden.

    September 4, 2008 12:54 am at 12:54 am |
  20. Joe

    When the GOP says that they don't know what Senator Obama's plan is to change the course of a faltering economy or a failed foreign policy, I have two questions for them.

    First, are they stupid or deaf? Maybe they are tone deaf because they were too busy critiquing the stage at Senator Obama's speech last week to hear the the detailed plan that he laid out.

    Second, what is their plan? Tonight, I just heard attack after attack and nothing about substance.

    September 4, 2008 12:54 am at 12:54 am |
  21. Oh boy...

    I'll give you the short answer, NO!

    September 4, 2008 12:54 am at 12:54 am |
  22. Duop Chak in Colorado

    I think there is a sense that the McCain-Palin ticket is somehow looking for a strong rally from the Republicans bases and they very much failed to tell to the American people the ultimate truth–like, how to bring back jobs etc. Attacking the Democratic party candidate will alter nothing. I don't think the rural America will act quickly.

    September 4, 2008 12:54 am at 12:54 am |
  23. susie in OR

    I couldn't leave a special needs child to travel the country. Who will be doing the interventions that this child needs. I would be putting family first.

    September 4, 2008 12:54 am at 12:54 am |
  24. Obama/Biden 2008, 20012

    Why do you show women.. More men were there than women.. I'd say.. CNN is trying to start something..

    September 4, 2008 12:54 am at 12:54 am |
  25. aquarius2

    I live in Colorado, a "swing" state. Nothing Sarah Palin said tonight would make me remotely consider voting for McCain. McCain and Palin are pushing the "we are reformers" yet Palin's speech reminded me of same old slime and smear tactics, delivered by a virtual unknown. What gives her the right to mock?? God knows, she isn't too perfect considering she is under investigation in Alaska. I don't like it, I want issues. I want to know where each of these candidates stand and I am not getting it from the Republicans. It is a lot easier to mock and be sarcastic than to set forth positive ideas for America.

    September 4, 2008 12:54 am at 12:54 am |
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