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. opiu

    i will be shock to see if that happen.

    September 4, 2008 12:56 am at 12:56 am |
  2. bonjour

    I am a suburban mom in Ohio.
    Her combative pit bull style left me cold.
    I was hoping for a more eloquent speech.

    September 4, 2008 12:57 am at 12:57 am |
  3. Georgia Girl

    She does not have my vote. I hear the insults, but what about the economy?? What about jobs, health care, and gas prices. She shows off her flawed family, but we can not comment on them. She complains about the media, but smiles as she criticize Obama with info she got from the media. I can question her motherhood, her experience, and her knowledge because I am a voter. We don't work for them, they work for us, we pay their salaries with our taxes and Obama wants a pay cut.

    September 4, 2008 12:57 am at 12:57 am |
  4. midwestrn grl_stl

    I think, Mr. Gergen, that the Republicans are making one big mistake. They want to now take on not only Obama, but also the Media? McCains base? His campaign just canceled an interview with thisnetwork b/c their "feelings" were hurt. Palin just gave a national speech, mocking a man who chose to help the least fortunate instead of taking a Fortune 500 job. They must have not learned from HRC that attacking the media, doesnt = winning. Attack the media, belittle Obama and disrespect his wife of almost 20 years, please Republicans continue to do this silly, partisian Bush/Cheney actions. You have no idea how much you are helping Obama message of change. I will be forever grateful to you Mrs. Palin. You Go Gurrll!!!

    September 4, 2008 12:57 am at 12:57 am |
  5. Jeanie

    Sarah Palin is no doubt a good wife and mother, and even a good mayor, but that will not neccessarily make her the best woman canidate for president. Sarah Palin comes across as very defensive and sarcastic. Most of the criticisms the Republican party talks of, are brought up by the Republicans themselves. I watch both the Democrat and Republican conventions and I have noticed nothing but sarcastic remarks from the Republicans. I do not believe they want a united country at all!

    September 4, 2008 12:57 am at 12:57 am |
  6. Bill Stapp

    I am distracted by the VP candidate for the Republicans. It is hard for me to understand how, just because McCain picked her, the people all nod their heads and agree that she is the best candidate.

    At least for the presidential candidates, all the people got to vote and caucus. In this process, she only needed one vote. And she never would have made it through had all the people had a say in the decision.

    No matter. Washington continues to demonstrate that it has its own interests at heart. The interests of the people come second.... far back of getting re-elected.

    September 4, 2008 12:57 am at 12:57 am |
  7. dogfish

    When men go on the attack, they usually have to be careful not to be bullies. When women go on the attack, they usually have to be careful not to be catty. I think Palin crosses the line.

    September 4, 2008 12:57 am at 12:57 am |
  8. Johnny

    Not a chance.

    A pit bull with lipstick is nothing more than a Hockey Mom, and surely not a VP.

    as Giuluani says..."Can you imagine how they are going to shake up Washington, Look Out...."

    Its going to look like a train wreck!

    September 4, 2008 12:57 am at 12:57 am |
  9. MJ

    Seems like a nice person but her views are way to extreme for me. I am a suburan woman.

    September 4, 2008 12:57 am at 12:57 am |
  10. Texico From Mexico

    Nope because she offers nothing new....same old Bush/McCain politics. No answers to any problems, offered no new ideas...and not to mention 80% OF THE WOMEN OUT THERE ARE PRO CHOICE...AND SHE IS PRO LIFE (EVEN IN CASES OF RAPE AND INCEST) PER HER OWN WORDS...

    September 4, 2008 12:57 am at 12:57 am |
  11. DC

    She will do just fine in suburban Cleveland, perhaps not as well in Calif. All she really needs is some more bashing from the media and a few more Hollywood celebrities hyping Obama. Voting against the media is threatening to replace baseball as the national pastime.

    September 4, 2008 12:57 am at 12:57 am |
  12. Janice Crowley

    Not if she continues to insult the community organizers of rual America. Does she even know who the community organizers in a community are? There the churches, schools and hospitals that have programs to help the community. Just because she was a mayor and governor doesn't give her the right to look down on the little people inwhich should be commended for the daily interactions and problem solving with the people who are down on their luck due to the past 8 years of the leader of her party and the head of her ticket. This woman comes out of nowhere attacking everybody and nobody still doesn't know who she is and now i dont care who she is. She deserves what ever is coming her way.

    September 4, 2008 12:57 am at 12:57 am |
  13. Morris NY

    They wore buttons that said "HOTTEST MAYOR from the COOLEST STATE" yet they call the Democrats sexist? I have not heard the Obama campaign say one word against her. I have heard far more sexism from the right like this button. And enough with blaming the media. They are doing their job-and they have a right to look into her. IF she can't handle it now, she will never last. David you are so right, only the staunch repubs are going to like her. America has had enough of this attacking and fear with no plans.

    September 4, 2008 12:58 am at 12:58 am |
  14. R Stebbins

    Let's not forget that 8 of our 43 presidents have died in office, half of those in the 20th century. That's approaching 20%, or nearly 1 in 5. It's not that remote a possibility. Can you really imagine Sarah Palin and the "first dude" sitting down with Vladimir Putin or other world leaders? I cannot. USA would be a laughingstock, a pathetic, ridiculous joke. Is this really the best they can do?

    I agree with Gergen; this woman is the epitome of hypocrisy and is completely out of touch with mainstream suburban – and urban – America. Her governance of a state of half a million people does not constitute enough "executive experience" to govern our great country. Frankly, I'm offended.

    She flew to DC to ask for earmarks that McCain explicitly denounced; she opposes the education that might have helped prevent her daughter's unwanted and ill-timed pregnancy out of wedlock, and as a minor. This would not be an issue were it not for her support of abstinence-only education, which has been proven ineffective in legitimate scientific studies. She should be concerned about Alaska's highest national rate of teenage STD's. And she is 100% out of touch with international scientific consensus on global warming and its human causes.

    September 4, 2008 12:58 am at 12:58 am |
  15. Lazarus

    I am an independent suburban voter and I thought she came across as tough, articulate, and she spoke with authenticity. There are a lot of social issues that the GOP is on the wrong side of, in my opinion, but independents are not single issue voters, that's what makes us independents. If we come down strongly anywhere then it's the character issue, and Palin delivered that for the GOP today. I think the race for the White House just got a whole lot more interesting.

    September 4, 2008 12:58 am at 12:58 am |
  16. Obama Supporter!

    Palin's anti-abortion stance will leave her out in the cold in suburbia, my mom just left McCain's camp after hearing about Palin's anti-abortion stance and quite a few women I know, including myself are voting for Obama. McCain used the scortched earth policy on his own party choosing Palin. This is good judgement?????????

    Obama/Biden 08!

    September 4, 2008 12:58 am at 12:58 am |
  17. oh my

    i have to admit she gave a well written, rehearsed speech....they took a lot of time preparing the Gov.however Abortion Abortion the Repubs want us to vote for a POW and not a President they are asking us to believe her because she is a hockey mom negating the fact that McCain voted for Bush 90% of the time, that they want to spend another 100 years in Iraq killing thousands of US soldiers and innocent Iraq people, they spoke well of fear yet nothing of substance...Palin gave a great speech, i wonder if she will display the same oratorical powers during her on going investigation...

    September 4, 2008 12:58 am at 12:58 am |
  18. RRE

    They got this life long Democrats vote. and money. Hillary in 2012

    September 4, 2008 12:58 am at 12:58 am |
  19. yvonne h

    I think you people at CNN need to do some fact checking on Palin's speech. A bunch of the stuff she said in that speech was outright lies. It's your job as the media to point those untruths out. Get to it!

    September 4, 2008 12:58 am at 12:58 am |
  20. Tony

    Urban and suburban American is loaded with bigots, so I don't think Palin will appeal to them. But unlucky for Obama, high schoolers wearing your pin can't vote, and college kids don't vote so you're screwed anyway.

    September 4, 2008 12:58 am at 12:58 am |
  21. Rachel from the 'burbs

    I couldn't be a more suburban mom, and McCain/Palin have my vote. Yes, I'm sure she resonates with small town America, but she resonates with my values, too: Hard work, ethics, and a focus on fighting the old guard special interests who have disallusioned me from Washington for so many years. It's about time that we see a strong, confident, yet feminine, woman working to make things right in our country. I'm proud that my daughter could potentially see a strong, charismatic woman affecting change in the White House. Go Sarah!!!

    September 4, 2008 12:58 am at 12:58 am |
  22. Paige

    It is so apparent that Sara Palin would be a DIVISIVE leader if she were to be a VP. We have already seen what divisive leaders bring to America! It is time that REAL issues are discussed. I am so saddened by her sarcastic speech tonight. I am an Independent and I think she moved me right into the opposite direction. I hope that WOMEN take a real close look at her. If she was trying to reach out to women like did not work. This is a new political time and calls for some real discussion. I am almost starting to get embarrased by this political process. Give me a break!

    September 4, 2008 12:59 am at 12:59 am |
  23. mary anderson

    I am not sure why Sarah Palin is appealing to anyone, male or female. After seeing her speak tonight to a national audience, I feel she exudes nothing but negative energy,. She was sarcastic and nasty to the very core of her being. I am already tired of seeing her family used as props especially her baby , who has been tossed around from person to person. She talks about family values and promotes teenage pregnancy.

    September 4, 2008 12:59 am at 12:59 am |
  24. Carlos Smith

    I am certain she will be as appealing in suburban America. I am neither a Republican nor a Democrat, however, her speech really resonate with me: I am Gay, I am Conservative and a Latino who is absolutely bored with the inflated speeches of the Democratic candidates.

    September 4, 2008 12:59 am at 12:59 am |
  25. Lynne

    David she is just what we want and need. Not Obama!

    September 4, 2008 12:59 am at 12:59 am |
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