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. April in Denver

    Well, finally we get to hear 'Elly Mae speak. The Republicans have attempted to trash every other aspect of our country ( our Constitution, Privacy, our International standing in the world...just to name a few) so what was next? Of, course the highest offices in the land! I am not a holier-than-thou church goin type, but I have to admit seeing her pregnant daughter paraded out with her "fiance" was really a low-point for our country–she and her family are real role models allright–right up there with the Spears sisters. What a snide, ugly human being. She and McCain make a perfec duo–Dumb and Dumber.

    September 4, 2008 02:02 am at 2:02 am |
  2. Ron Cram

    A lot of suburban women are pro-life and pro-reform. They love strong women and Sarah Palin gets things done. No one can argue that. She will pull votes from men and women. The men love to see a woman who believes in the 2nd amendment. Since she is a hunter, they know they can trust her. She is tough and she knows how to negotiate. She proved that when she stuck it to Big Oil. You gotta love this woman. She is going to be great as Vice President!

    September 4, 2008 02:02 am at 2:02 am |
  3. susan

    No. She reminds me of one of those nasty groupies getting power from hanging around bully bikers.
    Of course they are McCain's constituency.
    Speech–she is all fingers and fists in the face. What next? A Nazi salute?
    If this is what the Republican Party has dumbed down to, they are finished.

    September 4, 2008 02:02 am at 2:02 am |
  4. kp

    The republicans keepsaying that Obama does not have any experience but neither does John Mccain he has never been a governor nor held any executive office so what gives him the right to criticise Obama. Also George Bush held executive office as the governer of Texas some good that did. I was also annoyed with Sarah's judgement to parade her unmarried pregnant teenage daughter and her boyfriend for the wolrd to see. When has this become an acceptable thing to do in our country. Is that the example that's beign set for our teenage daughters. There was a time in America when being unmarreid and pregnant was look done on but it seems to be acceptable in our society today. Is this where we are heading .

    September 4, 2008 02:02 am at 2:02 am |
  5. Sorry I want a President not a Maverick...

    Not in my suburbia. She was absolutely ridiculous. You call this a "home run" ??? Any high-schooler with a penchant for sarcasm and a willingness to compare themselves to a dog could have pulled it off. Personally, I don't care what her kids are up to, unless of course they are a BLATANT result of her "abstinence only" sex-education policy. Then her daughter just becomes an unfortunate statistic. Nominating her was an insult to all women by thinking we would so blindly follow the poorest excuse for a leader I've ever seen. McCain knows there were several far more qualified, but chose politics over his country. I once considered myself an independent, but after the absolute nonsensical actions and incessant belittlement McCain/Palin endorse... I'd be more comfortable with the term "bleeding heart liberal."

    September 4, 2008 02:02 am at 2:02 am |
  6. rajah in Canada

    I find it interesting, from an outsider’s perspective, why God is part of the political narrative in the U.S. election. The only other countries that inject God into their politics are Islamic States, and they tend to be quite radical. Are these candidates running for President or head of The Church of America? Especially Republicans who seem to feel God is smiling down on illegal wars and ignoring the plight of the disadvantaged! I wonder if Jesus would approve?

    September 4, 2008 02:02 am at 2:02 am |
  7. First time voter

    I'm privileged to carry a vote this upcoming election (and influence several others). I'll say this: Mayor Palin's budget was about the same as mine as student government leader in college. My election required more votes than the mayor did. And I think I ran a cleaner (ethical is the more appropriate word) campaign for two weeks than Ms. Palin did in the few minutes she spoke tonight.

    For me, voting in this election is a no-brainer. A democratic country deserves the leaders it gets - I'm hoping we the people of America do not fail to see the miserable light in which one campaign is being run, and the audacity of the other. Ridicule hope and change all you want. The more you do that, the more you shy away from substance. That's what the RNC has been about so far. That's what we need to understand before election day.

    God bless America!

    September 4, 2008 02:03 am at 2:03 am |
  8. KC

    Appeal to subburan America? Heck she is from Alaska! Population........ well less than the average American city! I listened to the speeches of the Repubs and the Dems, and all I can say scares the heck out of me to even think that a Republican can get into office yet once again. I am a registered Republican but can no longer submit to the call of the party. I have listened to both conventions and am just sick. What did I hear coming out of the GOP? War! Win at all costs! Make no acceptions! I am at a loss, I will vote Obama, I do have hope!

    September 4, 2008 02:03 am at 2:03 am |
  9. aman

    This is another republican old style attack machine. She is anti abortion, no equal pay for women, killing polar bears, hand in hand with oil industry, misused executive office for personal stuff and NRA buddy. She might be hockey mom, but it takes more to run a country. It would have been better if she know how to fix broken economy and build non partisan atmosphere in Washington. How she is going to earn back US reputation that we lost in last 8 years? GOP has only one thing- that is negative attack machine; which McSame experienced 8 years ago, now he got experience throwing mud on others. He will never make it through and we will be left with this Hockey mom playing sports. She needs to concentrate on her family. Her son as well as teenage pregnant daughter needs help. I know all the companies and government retire individuals after 65 years, bcos they can't work, act and think the way a young person can. When it is time for McSame for retirement, he is thinkng to run this country. We don't want George W. Mcsame. Fellows you have opportunity and power to make a difference and I know you guys are smart enough to know who is on your side. In last 60 years Dems run this country 41% of the time with more than 10% annual rate of return. Rest of the time GOP with 7%. During Clinton rate of return was 19% and thank you Bush for 0.22% during last 8 years. Republicans have only scare tactics: tax and terrorism, and I am telling you that worked for them so far. STAND UP and ACT now to save the land of dreams. It is common saying: "If you made me fool one time, it is your fault, but if you made me fool more than one time, I am stupid." I don't think American people are stupid. GOD save America from GOP.

    September 4, 2008 02:03 am at 2:03 am |
  10. Alphie

    Don't fall for the hype. Palin McCain is the same old politics For the past eight years the peolple have had to deal with the republicans holding the highest office in the land full control of the house and the senate as well as appionting the most Supreme court justices and today our country is in the worse state I've every seen it. The world look at our nations as aggressors and not problems solvers. they think all we know is war. Our dollar is lower than in history. Well I'm ready for change and this RNC showed me no diversity so how do they think they represent the average person WAKE UP PEOPLE THINK AND VOTE ON Nov 4
    Obama Bidden 2008

    September 4, 2008 02:03 am at 2:03 am |
  11. Mark

    I never cease to be amazed at how these so called "religious" people can spew such hatred and intolerance. "Booing" of the NBC news organization during Palin's speech reminded me something of the Nazi's cheering while burning books!! Wake up America – if you want to return to the past, vote for this Republican ticket.
    One more thing – this so called "pro-life" ticket needs to be reminded that maternal mortality (that is death of the mother) occurred at a much greater rate when abortion was illegal in this country.

    September 4, 2008 02:03 am at 2:03 am |
  12. Paolo Pecora

    To have appeal in suburban america, she's going to have to get new speech writers. They can try inserting some real content into future speeches. Hollow attacks and half-truths are just not going to get you very far today with all the problems that we have to resolve. Why couldn't McCain find a true conservative to be VP, someone like Andrew Bacevich? Someone who could bring real change to the Republican Party.

    September 4, 2008 02:03 am at 2:03 am |
  13. Jeff Myers

    If I hadn't watched Mr. 9/11's grotesque performance only moments before, Governor Palin's speech would have been the most arrogant, snide, factually and substantially deficient piece of swill I've witnessed in over a year. The entirety of her speech reads like a right wing chain email, utterly unfettered from facts or reality and completely bereft of substance. Campaign Manager Rick Davis said earlier today that "Issues don't matter." Well, apparently issues don't matter to Senator McCain or Ms. Palin either. America deserves better than this and if the commentariat doesn't do its job and COVER the innumerable factual errors and distortions pouring from Ms. Palin's mouth, we're screwed.

    September 4, 2008 02:04 am at 2:04 am |
  14. sc

    I thought her introduction to the American people was insulting. She viciously attacked Obama mercilessly! Americans are tired of this bitterness, and its not coming from Obama. She spoke to republicans and no one else. She is a very devisive personality.

    September 4, 2008 02:04 am at 2:04 am |
  15. Nevada dude


    September 4, 2008 02:04 am at 2:04 am |
  16. Arthur James

    She's obviously tough enoughto be president, and I don't blame any Democrat who is worried now. This is one Hillary supporter that has finally found a good reason to vote Republican (sorry, Hillary!) for the first time ever – and her name is Sarah Palin!

    September 4, 2008 02:04 am at 2:04 am |
  17. J

    I think the McCain/Palin ticket will fire up the Democrats!.

    September 4, 2008 02:04 am at 2:04 am |
  18. TRUTH

    I wasn't impressed. Her "attacks" were OLD news, or should I say old conservative news talking points. We are divided, and this didn't help. We are a country facing many challenges, and instead of addressing these challenges Palin was a Rove megaphone. My Grade: B for effort, F for failure to be more than we've seen for 8 years...


    September 4, 2008 02:04 am at 2:04 am |
  19. Julie A

    I am a Hillary supporter and life-long Democrat who happens to be from bitter small town America. My family and I are appalled at the sexist treatment of Sarah Palin by the media and will be voting for the TRULY EXPERIENCED, HONEST ticket of CHANGE: McCain/Palin. Several of my friends feel the same way and we plan to both donate time and money to see that this ticket is elected.

    September 4, 2008 02:04 am at 2:04 am |
  20. Mrs. H

    Did Sarah Palin appeal to my small sector of suburban America? NO! I have never been so appalled or offended at any other point in the political season. She did nothing to sway independents and or unsure democrats to vote for their ticket in November. She has no experience and it showed in her speech. All she could do was jab and and speak negative and continue to throw up more smoke and mirrors.. which is a typical Republican tactic. In all honesty, her choice as VP was a major smoke and mirror effect as it has tried to distract truly engaged voters away from the true issues. We all know she has no experience and was merely selected for her gender. I would just hope that she along with McCain realize that informed voter cannot be deceived or rather duped into falling for this. She does not represent nor stand for all women and I would hope that women who are still bruised from Hillary not getting the nomination remember that. A vote for McCain/Palin is 4 more years of the same hell we've been going through for the last 8. Enough is enough!

    September 4, 2008 02:05 am at 2:05 am |
  21. Henry Underhill

    Her speech came across as arrogant and sarcastic. I respect her opinion but this woman is clearly not qualified at this time to be this country's Vice President, and God forbid the President of the United States.

    September 4, 2008 02:05 am at 2:05 am |
  22. Nina

    I think Sarah Palin was George Bush in a skirt, the sarcasm and smirks were a real turn off. I am a Obama supporter but I really wanted to hear this supposed "breath of fresh air" I know I'm with the right party. And what happen to Cambell Brown? Someone putting pressure on her to make nice?

    September 4, 2008 02:05 am at 2:05 am |
  23. Ray

    Sarah Palin is proving that she is a hail marry attempt to win the election. I was looking to forward to hearing what she had to say after all the media attention and I am very disappointed. She's a bag of hot annoying air. She wasn't saying anything about the issues. The fact that she hated on Obama so much just shows how weak her ideas for this country must be. She doesn't have any ideas. She's a freakin puppet with an annoying voice. Game over McCain camp.

    September 4, 2008 02:06 am at 2:06 am |
  24. Francesca

    Call it morbid curiosity, but I was actually checking email at work throughout the day to keep tabs on what was going on/the "speeches" (I use that term loosely) at the RNC. Good coaching of Palin, huh? Had her ready, waved the red flag and "let the bull begin"!! Rudy teed it up, too. Last night was mild compared to tonight from the clips I've seen....just diatribe, not discussion of the issues that plague our nation after 8 Bush-league years of incompetence in the White House. Leave it to the "lady in the house" to come out firing because her colleagues don't have the cajones to do let's watch how they hide behind her "skirt" as they continue to use her as their mouthpiece to throw their stink bombs. Looking forward to the VP debate, which I believe is Oct. 2nd....lots of memorizing to do, Sarah....better get ready to stay up late.

    September 4, 2008 02:06 am at 2:06 am |
  25. Ian

    The woman flat out insulted Community Organizers across the country.... that shouldn't sit well with anyone in rural america

    September 4, 2008 02:06 am at 2:06 am |
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