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. Rose Black

    I'm stunned that Sara Palin thinks that her right wing extremists views will appeal to mainstream Americans. She is great for inspiring support for the Republican base, but that's about it.

    Does she really think that she has the experience to take on Barack Obama and Joe Biden?

    Give me a break!

    She made a good presentation of herself that will soon have a spotlight put on it to reveal the truth of the perfect reform lie that she is living. However, the next time she won't have speechwriters to spoon feed her information on national security.

    I CAN'T WAIT!!!!!

    And because she has labeled herself as a pitbull with lipstick, she and the Republican party of whiners can't cry foul that she is being treated unfairly!!!!!!!

    I've noticed that the Republican party for most of this election race has never focused on stating the issues and their specific plans for turning this election around. I guess they feel that the best defense is a good offense and just attack the other candidate. If that's all they have to offer, then please, please, let Obama win!!

    September 4, 2008 01:54 am at 1:54 am |
  2. Rob C.

    Yesterday, I thought McCain was nuts and that he should throw Sarah Palin under the bus. Boy was I wrong and McCain was right!
    Tonight's speech Palin gave at the Republican Convention (9-3-08), was the best, funniest, coolest most down-to-earth speech I have ever heard from any politician. I see why Alaska loves her.
    She's a phenomenon!
    To paraphfrase Sarah Palin's dad.... HOLY COW!
    You bet she'll play in the suburbs.
    I've been watching Larry King Live and it's obvious that the ONLY people who don't like Palin are the die-hard liberals and really ugly women like the jealous women that Larry had on tonight. Larry, shame on you... you should have had at least one woman who actually likes men.

    September 4, 2008 01:54 am at 1:54 am |
  3. GJ

    I am a suburban mother, and I'm concerned with issues like education, the economy, alternative fuels, and health care. I also care about social issues and am deeply concerned about the social climate of the country. As a mother of a preteen daughter, I also care about the kinds of role models that are put forth, and the messages that are sent to our children by the media and by politicians. In Michigan we have a wonderful female governor who is steady, fair, consistent, capable and very intelligent. I have little patience for playground politics. I feel suburban voters are very focused on the issues at hand, and are not turned on by the name calling and hair grabbing.

    September 4, 2008 01:54 am at 1:54 am |
  4. Patricia

    I certainly hope suburban women (and everyone else) will see Palen's acceptance speech for what it was: a thinly disguised hatchet job and well-crafted defamation of character. Let's not forget that McCain's people wrote that speech for her, although I thought McCain had vowed to keep his campaign on the high road, as Obama has so admirably has. Well, if tonight shows us anything, it's that while McCain's out there mouthing bland things about policy, Palen's job will be to launch malicious personal attacks–with McCain's full knowledge, approval and support.

    September 4, 2008 01:54 am at 1:54 am |
  5. randy

    I'm confused about the message....

    Is it "us against them", or is it "we want to reach across the aisle, and change the way Washington works"?

    McCain looked creepy, Romney sounded silly, Rudy sounded crazy, and Palin sounded un-presidential.

    Best speech of the night? Huckabee...

    September 4, 2008 01:55 am at 1:55 am |
  6. Elizabeth

    "....... may just leave a lot of voters cool if not cold." How about frozen? We really need more snide, snarky, insulting, demeaning, and LYING discourse in our leadership. Obama and Biden have been saying that electing McCain would be 4 more years of the same ................ Gov. Palen SHOWED that it would be just that - or worse! She's Dick Cheyney in a skirt! I thought more of John McCain but he has brought us the most mean-spirited candidate that I can recall. --- And she told at least three bold-faced, absolute lies with a totally straight face. - Once again, the Republican party has shown how stupid they think the American public is, and now they are saying that those of us who give service to our communities are worthless as well. I'm sickened.

    September 4, 2008 01:55 am at 1:55 am |
  7. Pat Fortier

    As a woman I was insulted by John McCain's pick for VP. Does he think all women will vote for her because she is a woman. I think her speech was mean and nasty. It really made me mad to hear her remarks about Obama and Biden. They are so much better than she ever could be. What would happen if anything happened to John McCain? Would the America people really stand to have her as President? I think the American people are smarter than this. Many of the things she said about Obama were just wrong – will she be called on this by the press? That is if John McCain ever lets her talk to the press.

    September 4, 2008 01:55 am at 1:55 am |
  8. Jim

    I believe Sarah Palin's next career will be a talk show host for a right wing radio or TV station. She is entirely in the mold of cynics like Rush Limbaugh. Her entire speech had almost no positive content. Her 600 days as Governor and manipulative, rude arrogance have prepared her perfectly for a media job – but not for the job of Vice President.

    September 4, 2008 01:55 am at 1:55 am |
  9. Laura

    The CNN commentators gave Palin an A for her speech, except for Begala who gave her a B – your readership gave her an F! It is not just the media who has a problem with the repulsive Republican reprobates! Ah, the nattering nabobs of negativism!

    September 4, 2008 01:55 am at 1:55 am |
  10. mia

    No because all she has to offer is anger and a selfish dysfunctional family. I thought the GOP was family values. She has none!

    September 4, 2008 01:55 am at 1:55 am |
  11. Ms Hudson

    I found her incredibly under-whelming. Her mean-spirited, sarcastic end to the sort of warm – and – friendly get-to-know-me-and-my-family beginning spoke volumes about her not evening having a platform – position – of her own (and proving that she's more a subservient to McCain, licking his boots and singing his praises). And the subtle dig to those who support Obama-Biden (calling them "the devoted") definitely won't win her any kudos from those undecided.

    It was a condescending, insult-laden bit of smarm disguised as a vice presidential acceptance speech. Just goes to show how far down that character ladder our leaders have fallen.

    September 4, 2008 01:55 am at 1:55 am |
  12. Jamie from San Francisco

    I had to turn the TV off she was so offensive. God save us if McCain gets in and he dies. There will definitely be an im-Palin....

    September 4, 2008 01:55 am at 1:55 am |
  13. whoops

    i expect politicians to campaign hard, spin, lie, say what they need to portray their opponents in a light less flattering. that's what politicians do. however, what i have seen from palin and almost every other speaker this evening has honestly floored me. the open mockery combined with unapologetic, trite attempts of wit was one of the most unprofessional political displays i've ever seen.

    September 4, 2008 01:55 am at 1:55 am |
  14. Kathy

    I was very disturbed by the speech. She seemed overly confident given the position she is in. There was very little that was new or creative. It was very frightening to think that she could be in charge of our military given the simplistic, false ideas. And the idea that she is God's gift to the country.

    I think that they knew she could be manipulated, in that she seems in awe of John McCain.

    I am left cold by the family thing. It is easy to talk about family. She is leaving a disabled infant alone at a time when critical bonding is occuring with his mother. Also one wonders if her daughter may have benefited from more supervision and attention, instead of talk of her family.

    September 4, 2008 01:56 am at 1:56 am |
  15. Sherry

    Yes, indeed.

    September 4, 2008 01:56 am at 1:56 am |
  16. baffled in NC

    The tenor of the Republican Convention tonight, especially with regard to Giuliani and Palin, makes me think that Rove has had a lot more to do with this Convention than was first apparent.. Even if he was absent. Meanwhile, the Democratic Convention was remarkably free of such low tactics.

    I don't understand how the RNC's painting everyone who is trying to talk about the candidates records and their stance on the issues, including the so-called left-wing media, ugly reflects "Christian values." Nor, for that matter, how out-right lying , distorting and demeaning the record of the opposition does.

    September 4, 2008 01:57 am at 1:57 am |
  17. Garey

    Everyone hear seems to be saying we dont know who she is... Fair enough, but Obama has been in this since the beginning and I still do not know who he is or what he stands for.

    Unless you count bashing Bush... Move on, President Bush is on his way out, leave him alone and concentrate on trying to figure out what this guy Obama wants. Other then to be the WORLD LEADER... What a JOKE OBAMA is. If he gets it I will take the seat from Allison in Costa Rica, otherwise good my Allison...

    McCain/Palin for me.

    September 4, 2008 01:57 am at 1:57 am |
  18. Michael from Houston

    Sarah and her group are certainly painting the down home, out-of-doors type with just a touch of whatever substitutes for being a redneck in Alaska. If it is similar to what constitutes a redneck in Texas I can only hope it will not play as well in suburban areas across the United States. It's been my experience that most of the true rednecks I have known have been bigoted, intolerant and generally poorly educated. I think Sarah and her crew will appeal to this group. However there are certainly many highly educated Republicans and she will appeal to them because she will toe the line on all the appropriate orthodoxy.

    September 4, 2008 01:57 am at 1:57 am |
  19. Tanya

    After Palin's speech tonight, I am convinced that she is the female version of George W. Bush. She is smug and self-satisfied and thinks she has a great sense of humor – just like W. Her view of the world is shaped by her right-wing religious beliefs – just like W. She thinks our being in Iraq is part of "God's plan" – just like W. She has a very limited understanding of foreign policy – just like W when he took office. McCain is no maverick – he picked someone to pander to the extreme right-wing of his party and I'm sure they are excited.

    McCain/Palin 08 – MORE OF THE SAME!!

    September 4, 2008 01:57 am at 1:57 am |
  20. kn

    She doesn't excite me she is just another rep. with looks. I don't even think she sound very christian.. Her voice is as shrill as her comments. I don't even consider her a candidate. She hasn't put in the blood sweat and tears like everyone else in the primary. There is something wrong with just walking at the last moment and not have dirtied her hands. I also found her very sarcastic which was not called for. Wake up reps. we are sick of this. What can you do to get us out of the mess you have gotten us into? The dems have risen above this. I also don't want a pres or vice pres that thinks they can silence the press. And she had better not put Barack down anymore she hasn't earned that right

    September 4, 2008 01:58 am at 1:58 am |
  21. Man from Wisconsin

    Lol, Democrats are tired about hearing of Palin and she has just been on the news constantly for 5 days..Imagine a Republican or Indy getting the Prophet Obama pushed down our throats for 8 months.

    I love how the Democrats are taking off their gloves and throwing out nonsense because Palin is starting to raise eyebrows of a home run pick.


    September 4, 2008 01:58 am at 1:58 am |
  22. brandon pollard

    I am a 21yr.old first time voter and I am very in tuned with the issues.I thought that Gov.Palin's speech was very harsh and echoed the same talking points that's used on (THE FAIR AND BALANCED) FOX NEWS.As a first time voter I expect our leaders to be above that devisive rheteric.To laugh at someone who reaches out to the community,who's educational level far out weighs hers,speaks to a persons heart.I have no doubt that she reached her base,but I'm not sure she reached the undecides.I am one of them,and she lost my vote for the McCain/Palin ticket.

    September 4, 2008 01:58 am at 1:58 am |
  23. glenn

    On this issue of people who say that "Abortion is the wrong answer"

    Doesn't it say something though that we live in a country where we can have that argument and that opinion? I don't believe we have the right to say when life begins and ends, I'm anti abortion and anti execution. But, I don't believe that others shouldn't be able to make the same choice that I've made. I think its a decision for the people involved, not for us who aren't.

    September 4, 2008 01:58 am at 1:58 am |
  24. Esther in NJ

    Palin gave a good speech... at least we know she can read. Her speech not only fired up the conservative base, it fired up the Democrat's base more. We are not stupid. We have all watched what the republicans have done to the country over the last 7 years. I am still searching for life in the white house. The republicans are running the carl rove play book but has forgotten that we all read it and reject it. I maxed out my contributions to the Obama team tonight.

    September 4, 2008 01:58 am at 1:58 am |
  25. Bobby Burns

    yes NO QUESTION fantastick

    September 4, 2008 01:58 am at 1:58 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