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. Stacy from Beautiful Loudoun, VA

    All flash, no substance. No real discussion of "red meat" as the CNN folks want to say. Let's attack the liberals, mention 9-11 over and over again, blame the media and most importantly, grill Obama. I heard nothing I have not heard from their ilk before. Incompetence with a smile.

    September 4, 2008 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  2. jorie

    the best line was when she said that "a mayor is like a community organizer except a mayor has responsibilities" that line i think is really going to stick.

    David gergen, there is a lot of attacks on the media from the GOP and I am not sure how that would be taken. And I am not gong to say anymore but point to just the tickers.

    Re-read the headline tickers form the DNC convention and then the headline tickers for the GOP convention. If that is not enough, read the last 30 questions that Jack Caffety asked.

    You tell me if there is media bias.

    September 4, 2008 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  3. Democracynow2008

    Palin is a joke appeal.
    She will appeal to the uneducated voter that knows nobetter.
    Her speech had no substance just a repeat of the failed policies of the GOP and 8 years of Bush.

    September 4, 2008 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  4. Joanne Tofolo

    I am a woman and she turned me off completely tonight...snide, divisive, nasty, sarcastic, belittling and yes shrill !!! and she didn't act Presidential in the least!

    September 4, 2008 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  5. Alexa

    Difficult question, but I think overall she will connect with them. She's proving that women can have it all.

    September 4, 2008 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  6. David, FL

    On this one, I agree. I grew up in rural America, and her speech will certainly motivate those folks. However, there aren't many independents in rural America; if anything, rural America is an extension of the Republican's base. So, she'll unify and energize the base, but hasn't most of the country risen above the red meat rhetoric and hateful attacks? Aren't we desperate for substance? I think we have and we are. I think she fails miserably on both counts.

    September 4, 2008 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  7. Elizabeth B.

    Will Sarah Palin appeal to suburban America? Heck no! No mooses, no caribou, and no bull!

    September 4, 2008 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  8. Patrick McKay

    I have studied the issues and where the candidates stand, obviously Sarah Palin has not. Nowhere on John McCain's agenda is wind or solar power listed as a priority. That is the essence of the Obama plan however. Did she not do her research or did she lie?

    September 4, 2008 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  9. Gloria

    All I could think about that cheering crowd was that they were 99% white, 50% white-haired, and the rest predominently blond.

    September 4, 2008 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  10. jason

    My feeling is that the Republicans are talking out of both sides of their mouths here. They're talking about going to DC to shake things up with a couple of Mavericks. But their couple of Mavericks sound an awful lot like the same old same old. Frankly, i thought the convention tonight was really ugly, full of cheap thoughts and leaning too heavily on the one policy issue that the Republicans have left.

    I know I can't be the only person who feels like after the last eight years, criticisms of the Democrats of wanting higher taxes and bigger government sound a little ridiculous coming from the party of Bush/Cheney.

    September 4, 2008 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  11. Sheilah

    As a young mother of a 3mnth old baby, I was hoping to here more about how she would help me face the financial brick wall and the health care nightmare that faces us more than bashing the democrats! I thought super star politics was a taboo in the Republican campaign, I'm literally in tears if this rue works on any woman. She might be a good mother, mayor and even Governor but I hope America sees past the girl next door act in this opera.

    September 4, 2008 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  12. Tim

    She knows nothing about where 90% of Americans live and what we deal with everyday or atleast she did not show it tonight in her speech. I learned she can read negative issue-less speech very well.

    September 4, 2008 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  13. Rob indetroit

    It's not going to work Bush,rove, and cheney.

    September 4, 2008 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  14. R. Squibbs

    She'd be really deadly to the Dems if she didn't have such far-right views. She's very much like a female George W Bush which, given the success with which the Obama camp has tied McCain to Bush (well, actually McCain's the one who did that and the Obama people just point it out), isn't going to help win over moderates and independents. Her speech tonight was aimed at the far-right, and she certainly got them fired up. But the far-right has become an electoral problem for the Republicans since the nation as a whole is moving in a much more tolerant, live-and-let-live direction. A moderate Republican with her bearing and character would win for McCain. But that's not what and who she is. After watching her speech tonight, I can hear the sound of moderates and independents heading for the door.

    September 4, 2008 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  15. Donna

    I'm one of those people in the suburbs. I watched her with an open mind, genuinely trying to get a sense of the woman.

    I found her nasty and smug and sarcastic and meanspirited at times. At other times I found her to be parodying Reese Witherspoon in Legally Blonde. But at no time did I feel this was a genuine person who I could trust or respect. And if I ran into her in a different context, I'd steer clear of her–she's just toxic.

    September 4, 2008 12:31 am at 12:31 am |
  16. Barbara

    I'M SURBURBAN – by the way – and I'M AN AMERICAN ---

    September 4th, 2008 12:28 am ET
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    You all keep CENSORING ME OUT – I'M an American that isn't going for the Big Oil Money and Power. I'm your over 60 voter (along with all the young)

    Barbara September 4th, 2008 12:26 am ET
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    She was SHRILL – she was also screeching, jeering and quite condescending to a Constitutional Scholar. What is HER degree in?

    She's doing this(exploiting a Down Syndrome Child) for POWER and McCain/Bush/Chency/ROVE are doing it for oil.

    Censor this one out CNN – you CENSOR AMERICAN Viewpoints

    September 4, 2008 12:31 am at 12:31 am |
  17. Amberlin

    She'll play in rural areas – maybe. She comes across too strident and mean spirited. I liked her better before I heard her speech tonight. All she did was make snide remarks about "their opponent" and I found it disgusting and turned off the TV. I was waiting to hear something up lifting and all I heard was the same old stuff from the Republican brand.

    September 4, 2008 12:31 am at 12:31 am |
  18. Just J

    Can you believe I waited up to hear this trash.
    Why did she only talk about bashing Obama. Its not about Obama, its about what can you do for me! America! My Family!
    This is a joke. I now have to direct my attention to Obama, because she is a joke!

    September 4, 2008 12:31 am at 12:31 am |
  19. Suburban Mom

    I am not sure when the last time you were in suburbia was but we love a fighter. As for the abortion issue – why can't a woman choose BEFORE she opens her legs? Aren't we discounting the intelligence of women to think that they cannot use contraception or common sense?

    September 4, 2008 12:31 am at 12:31 am |
  20. johnny c

    that was disgusting.
    i am an intelligent, well-educated liberal...

    i have little problem watching republicans on TV and disagreeing with them.
    however, i very rarely have felt physically sick after watching republicans on TV.

    the disastrous one-two punch of the ugly Giuliani combined with Sarah Palin, a woman who had essentially spent the last three days in seclusion being fed information, who had so little relevant to say that she spent twenty minutes telling us ALL about her family, and then the next forty with snide, underhanded attacks on barack obama.

    two years ago, she was mayor of 6500 people. she is to the right of mccain. she is to the right of BUSH.

    her relevant foreign policy experience exists only inasmuch that her state's somewhat close to alaska.

    the lowest common denominator is sinking fast, and it's scary that she could be president.

    September 4, 2008 12:31 am at 12:31 am |
  21. Garth Webster

    Sarah Palin was nothing short of phenomenal. She exposed Obama for what he is. A stage puppet for the left wing loons Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi.

    I had serious doubts about her nomination but after tonight, it's game on.

    Oh and by the way. Loved the knock against the media. She was speaking directly to NBC, CBS and of course CNN. All three are in the tank for Obama and have been since day 1. It is disgraceful.

    September 4, 2008 12:31 am at 12:31 am |
  22. Kristen

    I have been waiting all night to hear what the Republicans are going TO DO, not what Barack Obama should not do. I am not tempted to vote Republican but I am just curious as to what their plans are. What are the Republicans for – except pro-life and banning gay marriage.

    September 4, 2008 12:31 am at 12:31 am |
  23. rhoward

    Isn't it amazing how so many wealthy people spend so much time trying to pretend they know how it is to live from one paycheck to the next? If it wasn't an election year, does anybody really think that these people would be anywhere near someone that wasn't in their income bracket unless it was their hired help. I think not.

    September 4, 2008 12:31 am at 12:31 am |
  24. thetruth

    As an Obama supporter, I was impressed by Governor Palin's poise and toughness. I think she delivered a speech very well...but I am still not convinced that she understands the policy that others wrote for her. I understand that everyone has a speechwriters, but they understand the content of the speech.

    I do think her story will resonate well with certain suburbs...we'll see.

    All this being said, aren't we all tired of angry, condescending rhetoric without any plans. Lets talk the economy Republicans. ECONOMY!!!

    September 4, 2008 12:31 am at 12:31 am |
  25. Michael Treadway

    Sarah Palin is was a monumental figure tonight for trhe republican convention, much larger than the props behind Obama stood in front of last week. As for Harry Reids comments tonight , man what a

    September 4, 2008 12:31 am at 12:31 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