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. Barbara

    Why bother leaving a comment? It gets moderated out by the REPUBLICANS in the tank for McWarmonger and the "Hot" Candidate from Alaska


    September 4, 2008 02:06 am at 2:06 am |
  2. LA2NC

    Her rudeness might work in Alaska, but here in the suburbs of Charlotte, NC, she came across as mean, nasty and very bitter--SHRILL. I hope that she and the GOP understand that the gloves can now be taken off and the sexism charge will not work. As a woman, I was offended by the charge of sexism towards someone as unqualified as Palin, she is nothing more than an affirmative action pick by John " stoop to any level as long as I win" Mccain.

    She really fit in with Romney and Guliani tonight, another blowhard that has never done anything that's worth speaking of, other than lying.

    September 4, 2008 02:08 am at 2:08 am |
  3. Michael from Houston

    David, why is it this year that Cindy McCains fortune is not fair game? Was not Therese Heinz Kerry's fortune the cause of much media attention during the 2004 campaign, to the detrimentment of the Democrats?

    And why is it that Republican's can get away with using someone's war record against them so much better than the Democrats? One practically can't say like Wesley Clark that McCain's war record does not necessarily make him a better candidate for President without being disloyal to the man's 5 1/2 years of hardship at the hands of the North Vietnamese, which should of course not be made slight of. But did not the Republicans, during the Bush Presidency, link a photo of a Democratic veteran who had lost 3 limbs in Vietnam with Osama Bin Laden because he did not vote exactly the way the White House wanted? Tell me which is worse, 5 1/2 years in captivity or no captivity but missing 3/4 of your limbs for the rest of your life and confined to a wheel chair.

    September 4, 2008 02:08 am at 2:08 am |
  4. Lipstick?

    How is it that Biden is portrayed as the "attack dog" that would get McCain, and that's OK, but when a Sarah shows that she ain't no pushover you want to act all offended?

    She's tough, and she has the heart of the heartland. You can keep your "vote present" senator and long time beltway insider that has done noting to change the status quo. Yep he's been an insider so long he probably has dinosaur DNA under his toes! LOL!

    What's the plan?? You ain't listening ...

    I heard lower taxes, smaller government, an energy plan (effective Jan 2009), national security, and integrity expressed tonight.

    Rudy made a couple of great points. You people act as if terrorism isn't a threat or that other evil nations mean us no harm. Dems didn't even address it in four days!!

    Also, he did hit a very accurate point when he said ...

    "Change is not a destination, just as hope is not a strategy."

    Raising McCain!!

    McCain/Palin 2008

    September 4, 2008 02:08 am at 2:08 am |
  5. Thomas Midgette

    I keep hearing and reading the buzzwords "more divisive politics" regarding Palin and the RNC speeches. Please explain exactly how they are any more divisive than what is coming from the DNC and the further-Left elements who have taken center stage within the Democratic party? It is disingenuous to proclaim the RNC rhetoric as divisive, when it is simply the other side of the same coin as that from the DNC. If you don't like it, fine, attack its merits or accuracy, but don't turn a blind eye to its shared nature with Democratic rhetoric and deny it. THAT is hypocrisy.

    September 4, 2008 02:08 am at 2:08 am |
  6. Michele

    I could not believe my ears tonight, as a proud Canadian, I've been drawn to the US election, I have enjoyed the dynamic of it, I even envy the american people to be part of such an historic election year but tonight I am very disappointed at the so call speeches that where nothing else than insults, mockeries and accusations on the other candidates. I sincerely feel ashamed for these individuals, the only consolation is that it shows that the american people are smart that's why they didn't get the votes during the primaries. I believe that Sarah Palin is a good human being, unfortunately she is being used by John McCain for political gains

    September 4, 2008 02:09 am at 2:09 am |
  7. Rambo

    Palin was chosen after the DNC as a desperate attempt to lure women voters to the Republican party. She is a perfect match for the old geezer looking McCain who has had four heart attacks. If he were to die in office, it would not matter since the Republicans have always had their agenda and there puppet to spew it on an on and on.

    September 4, 2008 02:09 am at 2:09 am |
  8. Fed up

    I am so disappointed and worried about our Country. The GOP delegates have signs that say "Country First", but as usual are showing their true colors, so the signs should read "Country Club First". One of my 3 sons is heading to Iraq. I am a single mom who has raised my 3 sons to be responsible and patriotic citizens, give back to community and country. I find it quite disheartening that anytime anyone questions a republican's actions or ideas they are labeled unpatriotic. John McCain, I respect that you served your country as a soldier. Now serve it as a "Human Being" and look out for the lower 95% of US Citizens. Not all Veterans are lucky enough to marry a Millionaire so that they never have to worry about being able to pay the bills when they get laid off due to their job being outsourced. Shame on you Gov Palin for spewing out such vile against someone who does not have your same ideals. Senators Obama and Biden are just trying to find a way to get our Country out of the outhouse that the Bush Administration has put us in.

    September 4, 2008 02:10 am at 2:10 am |
  9. Michelle

    I'm proud to be a woman, a mother and an American... and Sarah Paliln made me feel even better about all three tonight! Bull dogs have never looked so good. Earlier today I heard a female radio commentator refer to her as Caribou Barbie, after tonights performance I think we can toss that little title out with the trash! I'll be voting McCain Palin in November, and Sarah Palin just made me feel a whole lot better about that choice.

    September 4, 2008 02:11 am at 2:11 am |
  10. Sam Kurshan

    This evening’s convention started off with a man and a woman singing “America".
    Their performance reminded me of watching The Lawrence Welk Show, many years ago with my grand parents.

    Their singing sounded labored, old and tired as well as being off key.

    Then you have Sarah Palin. She reminds me of the Lennon Sisters who used to sing on the Lawrence Welk Show. They were a group of young women singing the same tired old songs, also off key, with a drop more energy, but the same old message.

    In the end you can't teach an old dog new tricks but you can teach a young dog old tricks.

    This in a nut shell is what is wrong with the Republican Party and why they are doomed to fail and lose the election.

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

    Sarcastic. Unprofessional. Completely Lacking Substance. Endless and needless stories about her family. Is she running for president of the PTA or the Vice President of The United States of America?

    Enough Said. Go Obama!

    September 4, 2008 02:11 am at 2:11 am |
  12. D. PHAM

    Yes, Mrs. Palin has won my vote alright! For her pit-bull-styled attack and her distortion of the truth, she has won my vote for a slot on Fox News, "The Palin & McCain show", right after the Hannity show.

    September 4, 2008 02:11 am at 2:11 am |
  13. adam nyc

    this RNC convention can't bring up the economy since it's their adminstration's policies which put most Americans in the pinch they're in today. As the pundits pointed out last night which followed suit tonight, the RNC is trying to act like the past eight years haven't happened b/c by doing so would tie this ticket to Bush – and that's nothing but defeat.

    This Republican ticket is not sane and it scares me to think what else this political group can do to OUR daily lives. Think about the decisions made in the Bush years about policies and decisions to go to war... and think about McCain's decision making skills and the processes (or lack there of) he will rely on to make if he were POTUS. That's a country I hope none of us ever have to see.


    September 4, 2008 02:11 am at 2:11 am |
  14. Nick

    Fail. Won't grow the base. Time to dump her and pick another VP.

    September 4, 2008 02:11 am at 2:11 am |
  15. Robbie

    Sarah Palin gave a speech written by President Bush's speechwriter that was meant to offer four more years of fearmongering and hatred. She will go over big in the less affluent parts of our country, but her act won't be popular in the suburbs.

    September 4, 2008 02:12 am at 2:12 am |
  16. gn

    Unenlighted mind, limited visiont (if any), and most unfortunately, a small heart as well. She's the exact opposite of the leader we want.

    September 4, 2008 02:12 am at 2:12 am |
  17. cynthia

    Mrs. Palin did not deliver any thing to the American people what we wanted to hear, high health care, too much taxes, and keeping our troops home. All I got out of her speech was anger words toward Obama. She needs to go back home and not give up her position as Governor of Alaska. God forbids if something happens to McCain, and we are stuck with a socker-mom running the country!!!!!!

    September 4, 2008 02:12 am at 2:12 am |
  18. suburban mail

    Gergen: she will definietly apeal!!

    September 4, 2008 02:12 am at 2:12 am |
  19. Jarniro M.

    So the plan that the republicans have is to insult the Democrats. Their issue on the economy... insult the Dems. Their stand on the WAR... insult the Dem's. Everyone has it wrong. If by some means the republicans win, God I hope not. But our four years will be worse than the Bush 8. They would make the failed Bush administration seem like the Regan administration.

    September 4, 2008 02:12 am at 2:12 am |
  20. patriot

    Hmm. A woman interested in burning books, who introduced divisive party politics into small town Alaska, who fired civil servants because they supported her opponents, who wants to further weaken our status as a leader in science and technology by mixing science and religion.......the only change I see is a sex change operation to make a female George Bush. All this narrative lacks is the party sweeping the prosecutor who dared bring abuse of power charges against her out of office.

    September 4, 2008 02:12 am at 2:12 am |
  21. Kar

    I don't think that she's going to appeal to many Americans. She certainly doesn't appeal to me or anyone that was sitting in my living room tonight. This woman scares me and watching this convention makes me physically ill. She's sarcastic and disrespectful and demonstrated how well she fits in the GOP. She mocked Obamas experience as a community organizer while touting her "actual responsibilities" as a small town mayor. She then neglected to mention exactly what those "responsibilities" were. I guess her "responsibilities" included attempting to ban books at the local library and spending hundreds of millions on earmarks.
    Alaska should take back their pitt bull.

    Obama/Biden '08

    September 4, 2008 02:12 am at 2:12 am |
  22. Bruce

    I watched the whole speech. It was very nasty and anger in tone. I know this was written by the RNC machine, but I was appalled at her having the audacity to belittle established democrats. I know this is a polical race and I do not think the media has treated her fairly, but come on, the american people wanted to know her. What we got was one liners and attacks on Barrack Obama. I do not think she has the experience or judgment to run this country based on that speech. However, I will be following her and McCain closely to see if they have any ideas on how to straighten out this country. Because frankly I haven't heard one, zero, nota (Rudy Giuliani).

    September 4, 2008 02:12 am at 2:12 am |
  23. Pick Me! Pick Me!

    I just have to ask, Where were all the people of color at this convention? That in itself shows the Republican Party is out of touch with mainstream America.

    September 4, 2008 02:13 am at 2:13 am |
  24. KCH

    I am a mother of four and from suburban America. I come from an "ole boy network" type of state and have a great respect and appreciation for Sarah Palin's style. I thought her speech was amazing. As far as the "sarcasm" or "pit bull" comments go, welcome to politics in 2008. There is no difference in what the Republicans do versus what the Democrats do. It is just so unfortunate that politics has become what it is today. However, we should ALL take personal responsibility for providing the market for the obnoxious political behavior we see on both sides.

    September 4, 2008 02:13 am at 2:13 am |
  25. Crystal

    I do not think Palin will appeal to anyone with a brain. She definitely didn't appeal to me. I' am speaking as a woman from a small conservative town. She is going to have to speak about something other than her accomplishments as a mom. We know she is a mom. Okay i got that. I' am sure America got that. Hopefully now that her seventeen year old daughter is pregnant she will be for sex education in school. Instead of praising her daughters pregnancy she needs to be talking to young women about the importance of having safe sex. She is against abortion but against sex education. Does she believe in condoms? Apparently not. I wonder how many kids she will have in 4 years.

    September 4, 2008 02:13 am at 2:13 am |
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