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. Winston

    I don't think Palin will appeal to suburban America or America period. Our country has serious economic issues due to an unjust war in Iraq and the republican party. She proved tonight that she fall in line with all the other republicans as not caring about the American people and playing dirty politics. This convention is a disgrace! I never sceen a campaign where personal attack mean so much and the American people mean so little.

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

    Is this speech really the best the GOP could do? The GOP convention crowd certainly loved it, but nasty sarcasm surely is not the way to lure independent voters. This seems like the Karl Rove strategy for Bush's 2004 election, but I think too many Republicans have died while too many Democrats have reached voting age for this to work again.

    September 4, 2008 02:25 am at 2:25 am |
  3. Karla

    Okay, CNN.....ignore all of my posts....

    you're OFF one of my favs. websites,

    OFF my favorite channel on XM radio...

    maybe i'll switch to POTUS 08 on XM radio..........................

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

    Same old republican tricks,but it wont work.
    Not this time.
    The delegates they look so old.
    That era is over.

    Obama now has my vote

    September 4, 2008 02:26 am at 2:26 am |
  5. BK

    I didn't hear anybody complaing when this womans whole family was being attacked by the media since last Friday. I didn't hear anybody complaing when Obama and Biden were attacking McCain at the Dems. convention last week. I didn't hear anybody complain for the last 19 months when the media promoted Obama and trashed Clinton.
    Congratulations to the RNC for standing up to the media. The DNC didn't stand up not once for Clinton. They just let her get thrown under the bus.

    September 4, 2008 02:26 am at 2:26 am |
  6. No way!!

    Her speech absolutely inspired me!!! 🙂 I get paid on Friday and I am giving my whole check to the Obama-Biden campaign because there is no way that this woman who was on a tirade should be in office, I am afraid for my children's future with this nutcake. On another note I have never been so disappoited with a convention that is so one dimentional. I cannot believe the amount of hatred that this group has toward anything that is nolt like them. Have 2 question to the GOP- why do you all say things like Barack is a "Muslim" like it's a bad thing when there is a large percent of Arab- Americans that are practicing Muslims and also Republicans? Is being a Muslim wrong in this so called "free country"?

    September 4, 2008 02:27 am at 2:27 am |
  7. shauna

    I thought she came off like a real firecracker, and some people will be attracted to that. I even think she is, and will be proven to be in the ethics investigation in Alaska, genuinely righteous by her own definition of right. But like many Republicans, that definition is far too narrow for the common good. Apparently, the value of the fetus has eclisped all of the other Christian virtues- chastity, modesty, gentility, humility, poverty, charity, mean nothing in comparison to what someone does with an unplanned or challenging pregnancy.

    She might be someone you'd like talking tough to your enemies or firing up the troops for battle. And lucky for her, the Republican administration has left her many people around the world itching for a fight. But is she who you want to represent your country when your trying to make friends, make the peace, and win the hearts and minds? Obama has apparently won those hearts and minds all over Europe and in Africa already, judging by the crowds that turn out to offer him their good faith.

    Oh yeah, faith. That's another Christian value that seems to fallen by the wayside. I don't believe anyone spoke tonight in good faith, about anything.

    September 4, 2008 02:27 am at 2:27 am |
  8. meriyen

    Oh,Rnc is in big trouble! if anybody see what I have seen? republican have a very bad night ! Just think about waiting to here palin speech and suddenly she took the stage and get straight for nasty talk ,about barak and joseph biden,you can see she holding her lip (pit bull) is coming oh god a bad approach, she turn me off right away. she was so cold! she have nothing that biden have nothing! she is one of the same old politics, more the same!!!

    September 4, 2008 02:27 am at 2:27 am |
  9. nl

    As a matter of fact, as a suburban American...and a woman, I am very excited to have Palin on the ticket! should be shaking in your spiffy loafers by now. I hope you were able to see Palin's speech as you looked down your Ivy-League nose!

    September 4, 2008 02:27 am at 2:27 am |
  10. randy buist

    I can hope that she doesn't appeal to suburban voters.

    Her experience and politics make her an expert at nothing besides being a mom. The McCain decision shows a lack of wisdom, and her narrow minded, small state politics add little to our country's need for real wisdom as we hope to move forward.

    Small town Alaska isn't the same as suburban America – or so we can hope.

    September 4, 2008 02:28 am at 2:28 am |
  11. Hussein Means Handsome

    She comes across as a female Rove/Cheney and as Mr. Obama said: Eight is enough.

    September 4, 2008 02:28 am at 2:28 am |
  12. Andy

    It is to early to tell if moderates and suburbanites will like her, but the right is going to LOVE her. It also going to be hard for the Obama camp to compare McCain/Palin to Bush/Cheney dispite the fact that they are from the same party. These two are a pair of mavericks.

    Palin impressed me tonight actually. She needs to be careful of attacking the media, however. A lot of networks are biased toward Obama and they always love to dig up dirt, but they have a lot of influence and she needs to get on well with more than just the Fox news people. Still, even MSNBC seemed to like her tonight.

    September 4, 2008 02:28 am at 2:28 am |
  13. Carmen Cameron

    I think she should go hunting with Dick Cheney.

    September 4, 2008 02:28 am at 2:28 am |
  14. braggingrights

    This woman is a snake!! which can bite anyone anytime!

    September 4, 2008 02:28 am at 2:28 am |
  15. Shelley

    I watched her speech with a group of suburban, moderate long-time loyal Republicans. Nearly all were put off by her negative and empty speech. When I mentioned Gov. Palin's stance on social issue being to the right of Sen. McCain's, including her stated opinions on reproductive rights and adding creationism to science curricula, many were surprised (since news of her family has kept the media from mentioning her stance on actual issues). I was surprised by how many of my friends declared that they will either find another candidate to vote for (whether that's Obama or Barr or whoever, I did not ask) or said they may now sit out this election. Quite a few are very disappointed in McCain for picking a running mate so far to the right of where McCain used to stand.

    September 4, 2008 02:28 am at 2:28 am |
  16. k williams

    scaring folks to vote for you isnt reform. just so rove. and it's maccain that said he' different than bush, but i could'nt tell by her speech. god bless her dysfunctional faimily though.

    September 4, 2008 02:29 am at 2:29 am |
  17. Tyler Durden

    Palin reminds me of every soccer mom that ever cut me off as they let their SUV stray into my lane while they chatted away on their cell phone on their way to the newly opened Panera Bread co. That's suburbia in a nutshell. Suburbia is full of women that want to raise their children in a small town atmosphere while benefiting from the economic engine of the big city. This is a stupid question that seems to be posed so that CNN can collect negative comments from obama supporters pretending they live in that god awful cultural black hole known as suburbia.

    September 4, 2008 02:30 am at 2:30 am |
  18. AVR

    Suburban America care about Issues. She offered none. She offers reform, but I don't recall any big scandals in Washington.

    I think she will appeal to the 30% of Americans who think George Bush is doing a good job

    September 4, 2008 02:30 am at 2:30 am |
  19. Suburban Mom

    Palin was amazing tonight! I was hoping McCain would pick her, and honestly surprised he did. I was hoping she could perform well in the national spotlight, and she really delivered! Beyond my wildest dreams, and now I can't wait to see her debate Biden. She's a great role model for my daughter, and as a fellow mother of a wonderful child with special needs, I'll be voting for her and McCain this fall!

    September 4, 2008 02:30 am at 2:30 am |
  20. Chris

    I'm hoping that, as Joe Klein has said, that the media lives up to their obligation to bring unbiased and complete information to the American people. This election is, IMHO, going to be determined by the quality of the press.

    It is imperative for the candidates to held accountable to spin, half-truths and out and out distortions by the media.

    Without the diligence that was shown in the Watergate era we may never be able to have an honest debate about the candidates and the issues that face this country.


    September 4, 2008 02:30 am at 2:30 am |
  21. Peter (CA)

    Lots of rhetoric, no solutions.

    The Republicans got nothing to fix this mess the country is in. Time to make the change.

    September 4, 2008 02:31 am at 2:31 am |
  22. Hannah

    Many people are against affirmative action but we have a case here of just that. They need to get a quota done so they put a person in their who is not as qualified as other people in the party. Or you could look at like this there are other women who are more qualified within the party but they chose the one who was pretty and had an interesting personal story over a woman with excellent economic and foreign policy experience. As a woman, I find this highly offensive along with the buttons many of the men were wearing in the audience. Seems like an audience out of touch with the struggles of the real woman.

    September 4, 2008 02:31 am at 2:31 am |
  23. Martha

    I am an Independent who watched Sarah Palin's speech with genuine curiousity and was extremely disappointed. I noticed quite a contrast between the DNC and RNC speeches in general. After the dem speeches, particularly Obama's, I felt elevated. But after Palin's, I actually felt depressed. I found Palin's speech rather "small" –high schoolish.

    What was even more depressing was watching the CNN reporters' commentary: Is this behavior the kind we, Americans seek in a stateswoman? No.

    Secondly, to Campbell: You cannot say that a woman brings a "certain something" and then say that she should be treated the same as men. The discussion regarding the Reid "shrill" comment was consistant with my opinion of Palin's speech.

    I stopped supporting Hillary the moment she started doing two things: making reference to the "good old boys club" and complaining about the media. If a woman is truly tough, worthy of aspiring this level of leadership, she doesn't complain. She keeps her feelings within her circle, but never ever complain in public. She attacks if she has to, but she does so with elegance –worthy of the position she seeks fill. And, smiling is not enough; even teenage girls can do that.

    September 4, 2008 02:31 am at 2:31 am |
  24. alix777

    I was personally offended when republican pundits said her speech was "reminiscent of Ronald Reagan"...

    Ronald Reagan, agree with his policies or not (which mostly I didn't), was a good man and put American before himself. I think he would be angry to see what his party has become since he left office. It has become the party of greed, tyranny, and apathy. Its like Nixon reincarnated.

    Sarah Palin was the biggest mistake McCain made in this campaign. He should never have kow-towed to Karl Rove. But whatever, he already flipped his positions on abortion, torture and civil liberties...

    September 4, 2008 02:31 am at 2:31 am |
  25. nl

    These topics (pregnant daughter, "shrill voice") would not of been an issue with a male candidate. So you women who stand behind the good 'ole boys (Obama camp) that are nit-picking Palin, wake up and smell the coffee sisters!

    September 4, 2008 02:31 am at 2:31 am |
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