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. Child of the 50s

    WHERE DID MY COMMENTS GO? (They should have appeared on another article, but didn't!) I voted twice for Bill Clinton, who won. (Sorry about that!). Then I voted twice for Bush, who also won (REALLY sorry about that!) Now I have had to good honesty, I cannot vote for McLame....due to two things: the war and the economy. I am sorry but we sorely DESERVE A CHANGE....and based on the overwhelming comments on other articles, the American people do, too. Listening to the comments by Giuliani & Poor Palin, they are out of touch with the American people, the people who count. Clueless and they will learn their lesson come November....I hope the media pundits (CNN, etc.) read my & others' comments.

    September 4, 2008 01:09 am at 1:09 am |
  2. Professor

    David, I respect you and your opinion. But to tell you the truth, she does not feel right – shallow, unauthentic, mean... She may be appealing to very few, but she will turns off ten times more people! American people can recognize quality people,but she is not even close!

    September 4, 2008 01:09 am at 1:09 am |
  3. Michele

    When will the journalists demand that John McCain and his surrogates define "victory" in Iraq? We've lived with these vague slogans about "victory" and "cut and run" for years now, and given that McCain is now standing alone on the idea that the US should stay indefinitely in Iraq (even the Bush administration is talking time horizons), he needs to be able to state clearly what his vision of "victory" is. And, how his definition does or not mesh with what the Iraqi government wants for themselves? They are, after all, a soverign nation, are they not?

    September 4, 2008 01:09 am at 1:09 am |
  4. bp

    Palin is a force to be reckoned with- she has some valid points and one must admire her ability to stand up to criticism- Both Clinton and W Bush received very harsh criticism, and Palin stood up in the face of adversity. Great job!!

    September 4, 2008 01:09 am at 1:09 am |
  5. Shirley Watts

    I found her snide and sarcastic. And I think it was unfortunate for them to put her in a pit dog position. She would have been better served to just have been allowed to give her life's story for now, than to have offended so many women voters. They will need women voters of all political persuasions to win. I think they blew it.

    September 4, 2008 01:09 am at 1:09 am |
  6. Itzel Williams

    Her inability to tackle issues from a sophisticated angle worries me. This woman, if in office could easily trigger a nuclear confrontation with Russia or other "rogue states." Her tough talk ignores the complexity of international issues. The fact that she has never left this country adds to the problem and the fact that she has no respect for community organizers who reach people door to door to give them a voice in the democratic process is insulting and frankly proof that tough talk just like rhetoric never convince sophisticated voters. The imagery used in her photo ops perpetuates the violent image the rest of the world has of America. As the mother of a son who just left to Italy for a one year abroad program and who was told that as an American he needed to play a low profile, I would not be proud of someone like Palin to represent a country as diverse as the U.S. She is divisive.

    September 4, 2008 01:09 am at 1:09 am |
  7. Marina

    I don't see how she would appeal to anyone except far right evangelical social conservatives, because anyone else would find her positions on the issues downright scary.

    September 4, 2008 01:09 am at 1:09 am |
  8. Jeff

    She came off as an attack dog but didn't outline any ideas on how to improve the economy or move the country forward. I thought her comment about community organizers not having any responsibilities was offensive. Unless you're a conservative whose attracted to the republican attack machine, she will probably come off as a very unappealing figure. I wish the media would talk more about her views such as her disbelief of global warming and evolution as well as her extreme stance on abortion. She's out of the mainstream with these ideas. I hate to say it, but she reminds me of Ann Coulter.

    September 4, 2008 01:09 am at 1:09 am |
  9. Stephen Sumner

    The deficit continues to build under "fiscally conservative" administrations while they claim to be the party of lower taxes. It's borrow (from China) and spend.

    It's time to take the argument directly to the American people. Do we continue to borrow and spend or chose the Democrats as the party of fiscal responsibility. Palin is the embodiment of the conservative values which that party never follows. She's outside Washington, but will take the money for the bridge to nowhere!!! What hypocrisy!!!!!!!!

    September 4, 2008 01:09 am at 1:09 am |
  10. Rachele

    Who are these individuals? They are definitely not true AMERICA...

    America is blending as a nation and that crowd doesn't truly represent the American people. How experience are both McCain and Palin with working with differently nationalities? It's easy to select token but how true to hear are they for accepting people of different nationalities. Again, not tolerating but really accepting. Palin being from Alaska I would not think she would at all know how to interact with individuals of different races. QUES: we have a huge problem in our communities with homelessness, does Alaska have any homeless...its too cold. Anyways, I am fearful of Republicans trying to take us back 200 years. The republicans do not want any change....little do they know America is changing without them and they have to accept it and that is why they are having a hard time.

    September 4, 2008 01:10 am at 1:10 am |
  11. Thrilled In Texas

    I know I can trust John McCain for many reasons one of those is he will make decision based on the need of our country. And it is even more clear that he can make wise decisions...Welcome Sarah Palin, you are a true American woman, and clearing ready for the job! We in America are ready for the "change" that we can truly believe in. It is time!

    Let's Roll!

    September 4, 2008 01:10 am at 1:10 am |
  12. Beth

    With her speech tonight, Sarah Palin opened the door to questions about her background and experience. I hope Obama and Biden stop defending this woman and start talking about her lack of experience – she said she has experience, so let's hear about it. Also, Sarah should start talking about her conservative values: her views on abortion, birth control, guns, how she wants to teach creationism in school. The list goes on. It is up to the democrats to set the record straight, stop trying to be so nice, look how the Republicans pay back your polite attitude.

    September 4, 2008 01:10 am at 1:10 am |
  13. Keith

    I think the Republicans should quit while they can.

    Obama/Biden '08

    September 4, 2008 01:10 am at 1:10 am |
  14. Penny

    I found her mean and hateful. Attack, attack, attack. I still do not know what she plans to do, or what her record and experience are, other than she sold a plane and fired the cook.

    September 4, 2008 01:10 am at 1:10 am |
  15. C

    the obama camp needs to publicize the minisicule population of the state of Alaska (670,000) which is less than 1 million people ! since this is palin's "extraordinary" executive experience.

    i sat their tonight and watched the GOP reel of lie after lie, exaggeration after exageration, and basically steal and incorporate all of obama's themes (eliminating special interests, reforming washington,reaching across party lines, etc).

    September 4, 2008 01:10 am at 1:10 am |

    I hope no one outside of this convention tonight would think this mockery is appealing. Are we animals? Her and Giulianis ugly approach is exactly what I have taught my teenager not to do. Politics can be hard but this was ugly, SUCH HATRED TO WIN AN ELECTION. Sound like a beauty queen reading a prepared speech. Sound like McCain had her say destructive things for him so he could maintain his "war hero" status. (truly no offense , he is a war hero) . But a "hero" have standards to live by and these speeches has taken my respect away from his heroism.

    September 4, 2008 01:10 am at 1:10 am |
  17. Mike, Toronto Canada

    It is over, Palin's high-pitched voice, unpleasant accent and bad hair has lost the race for McCain.

    September 4, 2008 01:10 am at 1:10 am |
  18. Diana

    Definitely a good and important question. I tend to think she'll be offputting to a lot of independent-minded voters and others who are less conservative, but that's probably wishful thinking on my part as an Obama/Biden supporter.

    September 4, 2008 01:10 am at 1:10 am |
  19. jennifer

    I think you are right. I think sarah "barracuda",Will eat biden alive in a debate. She is someone who we can all connect to. If the dems weren't so worried they would not attack her personal life and make it into a big deal when it isn't.I think that the moment MaC picked her the election was over. Not just because she is a woman, but it is an added bonus.

    September 4, 2008 01:10 am at 1:10 am |
  20. Tony

    Palin spent a large part of her speech belittling Barack Obama for being community organizer who helped create job training programs and other social projects in the South Side of Chicago.

    The general public will/should not accept such a rude and heartless response to people who help others. I think this will blow up in the Republicans' faces.

    September 4, 2008 01:11 am at 1:11 am |
  21. no way!1

    I feel sorry for the GOP (smile)

    September 4, 2008 01:11 am at 1:11 am |
  22. shay

    You got to be kidding me about Governor Sarah Palin. Who can she appeal to but herself. What a selfish woman to put her children out there.

    My daughter was watching the RNC with me and she said Oh My God is her daughter pregnant. Isn't she 17 years old.? I never did tell her because I really didn't want her to know. But she know now. So on that note there goes the values out the window.

    Governor Palin why did you put your daughter out on display like that?
    Then your baby is in all that noise. Your baby is how old? 4 months

    You are putting your baby at risk. Did you have any concern about his immunity system, he is so young.

    Governor Palin need to go back home.

    September 4, 2008 01:11 am at 1:11 am |
  23. amabobama

    I think Gov. Palin is a female George Bush. Like the president, she's woefully short on one kind of experience that a leader needs: thinking about and devising actual policies to meet America's challenges.

    September 4, 2008 01:11 am at 1:11 am |
  24. Ed Vida

    I am suburban, elitist – living a dream life in expensive SF Bay Area – and am crazy about Palin's speech tonight. McCain pull a superb rope-a-dope. I am now more committed to him tonight than yesterday.

    September 4, 2008 01:11 am at 1:11 am |
  25. SB

    Palin came off condescending, and quite frankly, insulting . The fact that she belittled Barack's community service is insite to her and John McCain's character.

    September 4, 2008 01:11 am at 1:11 am |
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