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. Anthony

    since you asked.. NO

    September 4, 2008 01:05 am at 1:05 am |
  2. Beth in VA

    I'm a mom, living in a fairly suburban area, and I agree with your points. This speech just didn't attract me to her. So....smug, I guess. And what do these people have against community organizers? Many are working closely or within the faith communities. I don't get it. I'm tired of red/blue culture wars. We have real wars going on.

    I am so tired of being egged on to belittle my fellow Americans. It just doesn't feel good, and I'd rather raise my kids in a more positive environment than the one on display tonight.

    September 4, 2008 01:05 am at 1:05 am |
  3. Please, No Obama

    Absolutely smashing display by Palin tonight. She has far more executive experience than Obama and made it clear. While BO promises $150 billion dollars worth of fluff to solve the energy crisis, she states explicitly what needs to be done and even delineates the flash points in the global energy chain. She will take him to task for his false ego, his fake presidential seal, his disparaging comments about bitter rural Americans and his temple of narcissism. Keep it up,Sarah. They will line up to hear you in rural America. They will line up to vote for your party and deliver a collective re-jection to the Chosen One.

    McCain/Palin '08

    September 4, 2008 01:05 am at 1:05 am |
  4. Wayne in CA

    Where's the beef..?? LOL..Palin is a gimmick and joke..let her talk..'cause the more we get to know about her the less appeal she has for all of us...

    you know window dressing might get you in the store..but you still have to have something good to sale for this guy..especially since the alternative is so superior

    September 4, 2008 01:05 am at 1:05 am |
  5. C

    she won't connect well with those rural voters if her appeal isn't based solely on appearance.

    those rural voters better consider this woman's politics and quick. her far right agenda is what we should all be discussing, and barack will likely return that topic quickly.

    September 4, 2008 01:05 am at 1:05 am |
  6. Mary Anne Sears

    Sarah Palin as Vice President scares me. She and the Campaign are trying to hard to spin her into something she is not. But it is McCain"s judgment that really scares me. How can we trust him after he has shown such poor regard for the future 4 years of the American people. You just don't choose someone and then coach them into the wisdom needed to keep the country strong and secure.

    September 4, 2008 01:05 am at 1:05 am |
  7. gary tessler

    It's interesting to hear Republicans and some members of the press say Palin knocked it out of the park. Must have been little league park because all I heard was sarcasm with no substance. I don't think America will be fooled by the same old Bush/McCain babble. In the end reality must over come fantasy.

    September 4, 2008 01:05 am at 1:05 am |
  8. Chicago Independent

    Retro must be the new foward for the REPS. It seems that they want to set us back and not '...move the camp forward.' Back to the past is more appropriate. I am an independent voter and think the baracuda
    has become a shark. And the REPS have made the shark an endangered species. What a vile, caustic, mean spirited person McShame has chosen as a running mate, but she seems to adapt to
    the role easily. War is cruel and I am sorry McShame was shot down and had his Geneva Convention rights violated, but that does make him Presidential. It just made him a guy with a streak of bad luck.

    There are plenty of unfortuante soldiers that were captured and even died in another useless war. Most of those would make good Presidents and they know it. In this case McShame has sold out his maverick principles to the inbred right. Please tell them to expand their gene pool.

    September 4, 2008 01:06 am at 1:06 am |
  9. John King

    bravo to roland martin for speaking the truth about gov palin's petty remarks about community organizers. after barack asked the media to respect gov palin's family's privacy,this is the thanks palin offers by making attacking against barack and michelle. please give more airtime to roland martin and have him give the factual smackdown to any of your disgusting gop pundit gasbags you prop up 24-7. also mad props to cafferty too.

    September 4, 2008 01:06 am at 1:06 am |
  10. marty

    i dont know about subrban women but she appealed to me and won my vote.

    September 4, 2008 01:06 am at 1:06 am |
  11. Sabrina

    Loved her, she showed she has what it takes. oh yes I live in the suburbs,

    September 4, 2008 01:07 am at 1:07 am |
  12. SteveC

    Absolutely. Palin's speech was snarky and sarcastic. The Limbaugh types are surely ecstatic. Social conservatives will ordain her.

    But contemporary American values have changed in the past eight years. Suburban or urban Americans will no longer be persuaded just by tarring the opponents as "Liberals." You *might* get some traction by urging to throw out the Washington insiders, but McCain is far, far more of a "Washington Insider" than Obama.

    Job one for the incoming administration will be fixing healthcare. Too many have either inadequate access to care or inability to handle the costs. The Dems have a comprehensive, specific plan, the Republicans don't.

    It is becoming more and more apparent in the coming weeks that McCain/Palin have little to offer except hostility, division and more obstruction. Tearing up Alaska to extract fossil fuels won't really impress most Americans as a comprehensive energy plan. Tax cuts for businesses and the wealthy will not impress anyone as a comprehensive plan to restore economic vitality.

    The charge that Obama is all style and no substance is hollow. He has both style AND substance. It seems McCain and Palin have neither.

    September 4, 2008 01:07 am at 1:07 am |
  13. Minnesota Mom

    There was too much hatred and nastiness in her speech. Everytime you replay a portion of her speaking I have to mute the TV. OOFTAH!! Why does it have to always be so divisive!

    September 4, 2008 01:07 am at 1:07 am |
  14. LoveHillaryHatePalin

    I am now convinced that McCain should be relegated to the dust bin of presidential candidate losers.

    September 4, 2008 01:07 am at 1:07 am |
  15. Rebecca

    No, this Independent suburbanite was not impressed. Her speech did not address any of the real issues facing America. I thought the whole idea of this election was to move past the hatred and bipartisan politics, as in "working across the aisle and putting America first". Tonight I only witnessed some very angry Republicans wanting to divide and conqueror the country. That will not fix the economy, end this war and bring our troops home, defeat terrorism or end our dependence on foreign oil. Nor will it get the country on a better track than what George Bush has already given us.

    September 4, 2008 01:07 am at 1:07 am |
  16. Steve P. Atlanta

    Palin might just become the first ever campagn-manufactured candidate in the history of US politics. One question. Will her job in Alaska be waiting for her after she and McCain, err.. McBush are trounced by 'Bama n Biden in November? Can't wait 'till the furthest reaches of her closet are access. How many skeletons will be found??????

    September 4, 2008 01:07 am at 1:07 am |
  17. marsha

    why is it that McCain giving back to his country as a military man is a great thing and giving back to your country as a community organizer is such a bad thing. I am so offended by this.

    McCain you just lost my vote from of 6 family members and to think I was feeling you republicans. News flash I am a community organizer try that on for size.

    Obama/Biden 08

    September 4, 2008 01:07 am at 1:07 am |
  18. Jason

    I think this is a real risk for Republicans. I feel like the speeches tonight were heavily partisan and aimed at the conservative base. In spite of the well reported conservative reservations about McCain, he has already been polling well among Republicans but has been losing support from Independents and Democrats. I think more of them may be pushed away after the first two days of the Republican convention.

    September 4, 2008 01:08 am at 1:08 am |
  19. lisa

    It's disheartening to go from feeling proud and hopeful about our country after Obama's speech (not just because I support him, I know repubs who won't be voting for him who felt this way too)- to tonight where the same old ugly, divisive, hateful, manipulative, low-blow appeals to the worst in our fellow americans was appealed to.
    Ugly, snide, mean, appalling. It's one thing to disagree on policy- but the utter disgust this made me feel – well, it's alot like I've felt for the last 8 years.

    And more than anything, the total hypocrisy of the McShame/Palin ticket is off the charts.

    I pray that this country doesn't put these people in office again- it won't just be more of the same, it will actually be worse....
    I hope Americans are intelligent enough to see through these tactics.

    Nothing maverick about these same sleazy Rove tactics or the same (except more to the right with Palin) Bush policies.

    September 4, 2008 01:08 am at 1:08 am |
  20. Matt MC

    Palin's speech will appeal only to those morons at the convention...

    September 4, 2008 01:08 am at 1:08 am |
  21. Adele Wolkovich

    Tonight I sat and watched Gov. Palin's address to the Republican convention with a smile. As a staunch Senator Clinton supporter, I confess to have considered John McCain for my vote in November. I have always respected his service to our country, agreed and disagreed with many of his policies. Tonight my vote is now cast in my heart. Listening to Gov. Palin, I felt as though I had accidently turned on Rush Limbaugh on the radio. America, I beg you, please don't be taken in by this ridiculous, sarcastic, factually inaccurate, tirade. I can't believe he, McCain, has reverted to the same old scare tactics of the past. Attack Dog? She is the female Rush Limbaugh. No more. I am tired of the Dumbing Down of these people, wrapped in our Flag, touting the same old tactics of the past, and calling it Change. We are smarter than this.

    September 4, 2008 01:08 am at 1:08 am |
  22. Eric

    Mr. Gergen...perhaps you should visit surburban America sometime...there is a Sarah Palin on every her a hockey mom, a soccer mom, a football mom, a bseball mom, a working mom...or a single father filling the role of all these moms...while they may not have an SUV with Alaska plates...they blanket suburbia and Governor Palin's message resonates with them all.

    September 4, 2008 01:08 am at 1:08 am |
  23. peter

    Nada, not even close when the rural people will know who she really is in really life, I mean inexperience and not choice wise by letting her daughter become pregnant at the early age which is insulting to most conservative of America (the hillbillies) of northern of the State.

    September 4, 2008 01:08 am at 1:08 am |
  24. mary

    I have Ph.D., live in the suburbs and I find her very appealing. I may not agree w/her on everything but I'll take her and McCain any day before O/B. I was a former HRC supporter that was planning on voting for McCain but now I'm even more enthusiastic about it.

    September 4, 2008 01:08 am at 1:08 am |
  25. Jonathon

    Well i was undecided but tonight I decided I can't vote for this ticket. I really wanted to find a reason to vote Republican but I just can't see that I have anything in common with this party any longer.

    I am not calling myself a Democrat but I will vote for Obama.

    September 4, 2008 01:09 am at 1:09 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47