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. Charlie

    The speeches I saw tonight from Giuliani and Sarah Palin were disgusting. The insults towards community organizers, people who actually do the groundwork to help others get out of poverty and are now helping people keep their homes, was offensive to me. Last time I checked, community organizers have a pretty good reputation: Martin Luther King, Ghandi, Jesus, etc etc.

    September 4, 2008 02:47 am at 2:47 am |
  2. Geri

    This is the first time I have ever heard CNN praise anyone but Obama. I used to be a faithful CNN watcher but after they showed all the favoritism to Obama(and they still do) I don't watch it very much. I did turn it over tonight after the speech just to see how badly they were going to treat her and boy was I surprised!!!! John McCain will talk issues Thuursday, its his place not the other peoples. I thought her speech was great and saw no anger, sarcasm, or anything but plain good rhetoric. By the way, I'm a democrat. You other nasty people need to change your attitude.

    September 4, 2008 02:48 am at 2:48 am |
  3. clive

    I.m glad i´m not a american because this is the best comedy i have ever watched. As a English man living in Germany this is the best english speaking soap that i have seen for along time.

    September 4, 2008 02:48 am at 2:48 am |
  4. Matt

    It is clear Gergen is out of touch with America as well!!!!!!!

    September 4, 2008 02:48 am at 2:48 am |
  5. LeRoy Glover

    I don;t like Republicans!!!! I;ve seen what they;ve done to the cuontry and it;s no different from the past , 1930's Hoover, 1960's Ike, Reagon, Bush 1&2. The same with McCain-Palin. I will never vote Republican!!!!! I DO NOT TRUST THEM!!!!

    September 4, 2008 02:49 am at 2:49 am |
  6. bridgette

    I rushed home because I wanted to hear her speech so disappointed I skipped a girls nite out for this. I am an independent and this made me make up my mind. I just made my first donation to Obama/Biden ticket. I think that she is just a nasty person and I don't have to hear anything else from her.

    September 4, 2008 02:50 am at 2:50 am |
  7. samantha Findley

    I don't know how anyone could have considered her speech a good one. Not one word on any of the issues, nothing but one attack after another. She probably was the worst choice McCann could have made. She never could have been vetted properly or at all because there will be lots of negatives surfacing. He has dug his own grave with this choice. The other three speakers were shameful in their attacks and also nothing was spoken about any of the important issues we need resolved. How could anyone be proud to be a Republican after that terrible negative round of speeches. We have to be more intelligent than that. We made a terrible error in judgement when we allowed Bush to serve 8 years. We are suffering on all fronts because of this inept administration. Hopefully, in time, criminal charges will be sought against them. Please, America, don't let us repeat another 4 or 8 years of this failed administration. Wake up!!!!!

    September 4, 2008 02:50 am at 2:50 am |
  8. Common Sense '08

    She read the speech that was given to her. Any high school student or college student could have performed the same way. It was acting, and I say that lightly, and very robotic. She kept pausing for cheers. She read it like a script where between each sentence it read, "pause, smile, look at the audience." This so called "bull dog" will be crushed like a "scared puppy" at the vice presidential debate. My advice to her, "take it like a man." Don't whine. Don't act like Biden is hurting your feelings and showing disrespect to you as a woman. Sorry, you were setup for defeat and will be laughed out of the auditorium. No well versed speech is going to help you don't have enough time to get well versed in foreign affairs, the economy, healthcare, etc. So much for being part of the PTA, mayor of a town of 9,000 or being an "executive administrator" of a $12m budget. Perhaps you and Campbell Brown can share the stage as commentators of CNN after the November election.

    September 4, 2008 02:50 am at 2:50 am |
  9. Ramona

    I am WOWED by the comments thus far! I too, thought she was rude, sarcastic and snide. Her body language and facial expressions were also rude and totally uncalled for. I was actually looking forward to hearing about who she is, but was greatly disappointed in her. Any hope that Hillary supporters will be swayed by her are totally out the window. The way she jabbed and attacked the Democrats was sickening and I actually think HRC supporters who were on the fence, just might be swayed into voting for Obama now. "Saracuda" crossed the line! No way would Obama EVER talk that low and dirty. He is a gentleman. I had hoped she would be a lady. Guess not! I bet there were some Republicans doing a little bit of squirming as she went ON AND ON with the nastiness. Totally uncalled for. I am proud to be an Obama/Biden supporter.

    September 4, 2008 02:50 am at 2:50 am |
  10. Val

    The republicans are at it again...divide and conquer, a republican trade mark . It usually works as they keep the empty minds in America busy hating each other. It was scary watching this separatist movement ignite their sheep by delivering blatant lies and anger.

    Who would have thought, Alaska’s has their very own Don Rickles. As a woman find Palin offensive in more than one way. Granted mistakes do happen, however how dear Palin parade her daughter in front of my teenage daughter, as an example for other teen in America. Palin appears to know no shame; the big question is should she?

    Secondly, shame on Palin for comparing her being elected with electing a Hilary Clinton. She is obviously delusional and hopeful.

    September 4, 2008 02:51 am at 2:51 am |
  11. Ek

    Obama 08

    September 4, 2008 02:51 am at 2:51 am |
  12. SO Over McPalin Already

    I am suburban America, and no, Palin did not play well at my house. I am an independent who was hoping she wouldn't be as mean-spirited and holier-than-thou as the "right" often is. She's a Republican on steroids. Elitist, exclusionary, and entitled while pretending to be "just a regular gal." All the regular folks I know are kind and decent, not fond of taking gratuitous shots and parading them as truth. When will people learn that sarcasm doesn't make you look smarter only smaller. That being "a pit bull with lipstick" is nothing to be proud of if judgment and intelligence are what is required. Bluster, tough talk, and posturing play well at the convention, but let's face it. That's what we've had for the past 8 years. And it's what put us in the war we're in now. Enough already.

    September 4, 2008 02:51 am at 2:51 am |
  13. Rev. Cliff

    That was an unbelievable speech-unbelievable in the sense that I was amazed at how negative she got, which will only reinforce the idea that she is not ready for primetime; unbelievable in the sense that it offered absolutely no constructive way in which to place hope in the yet to be disclosed vision that John McCain has for America; and unbelievable in the sense that the claim she was making that she was a reformer will not be believed in the days and weeks ahead as the details of her attempts to reform her city and her state come to light. Unbelievable!

    One other question-which hat did she have on tonight-her Republican hat or her American hat? I’m not sure, because as an American I didn’t really feel all that welcomed by her. She sure seemed more interested in having me understand what she is all about than letting me know that she is listening to what I-an American-might think about the state of our economy, our society, and our place in the world right now. But then again, as I watched as the cameras panned the crowd-I didn’t see a whole lot of people who were interested in listening to what I think-and I am an independent, just imagine how the Democrats must feel. Oh, and yes, I am from the suburbs.

    September 4, 2008 02:51 am at 2:51 am |
  14. K. Nooney

    Like many fellow Americans I thought I would look in on tonight's speech by Palin to her introduction to the American public. After last week's stunning, captivating, and uplifting speeches from the convention, I thought it only fair to give some air time to the RNC. WOW! Although she presents a very attractive exterior, she amount of venomous, vitrolic hatered she spewed tonight was nothing short of disturbing. I have never witnessed watching someone running for office that actually sneered while hurling insults like Palin did tonight. It was like watching a cage fight. It proved what I thought it would: the Republican ticket will "Pale-in" comparison to that of the Dems! This white, left-leaning, liberal Lesbian will cast my vote for Obama and Biden. God help America if McCain and Palin get voted in. I'm moving to New Zealand if that happens!

    September 4, 2008 02:51 am at 2:51 am |
  15. joe


    You are officially voting for Obama? Who cares!!!!

    September 4, 2008 02:52 am at 2:52 am |
  16. cindysvane

    It is an insult to me as a woman to think I would vote gender based not issued minded. I will not vote for McCain because of the anit abortion stand,

    September 4, 2008 02:53 am at 2:53 am |
  17. Adrienne

    She crossed a line attacking Michelle Obama.

    September 4, 2008 02:54 am at 2:54 am |
  18. LeRoy Glover

    Republicans don't GET IT.

    September 4, 2008 02:54 am at 2:54 am |
  19. Proud American

    Now the gloves come off. If Palin wants to talk tuff and wants to get in the ring with the boys dont go crying sexism or any other foul if your feelings are hurt. I have a funny feeling this so called pit bull is really a chiuaua.

    September 4, 2008 02:55 am at 2:55 am |
  20. kristina b

    if this woman becomes president somehow we are in big trouble. a month ago she didnt know what the veep DID. palin fired the wasilla head librarian for refusing to ban certain books. she wants creationism taught in schools. she stated that the war iraq, and the alaska natural gas pipeline, are the will of God. she offered nothing in the way of policy–NOTHING–in her speech. so she sold her plane on ebay and fired a chef as well as the town librarian? great. what will she and mccain do for the economy? what are the specific plans for the war in iraq? what specific policy or legislative ANYTHINGS has she done in alaksa? i have no idea. what a horrible, mean, snide person she is. what unchristian behavior, demeaning obama's wife, when i thought candidate's families were off limits.

    September 4, 2008 02:55 am at 2:55 am |
  21. Darryl

    I listened to her speech last night and found it to be empty. She did not introduce herself to America. When in office as a Mayor or Governor what are her responsibilities. She only mentioned the few that the news media has already reported. Gov. Palin had the opportunity to tell us what she stands for and didn't. Who is this Gov. Palin character? What are here personal views and what are her plans for the country? No real substance at all. Her negative attacks about other political figures is atrocious. I thought she was suppose to be above that type of politics. As an independent it's difficult for one to support a candidate like this. McCain has made the wrong choice this time. There are better and more experienced candidates than her, such as Ms. Rice.

    September 4, 2008 02:55 am at 2:55 am |
  22. Palin the new Don Rickles

    My advice for Mrs. Palin would be to go back to Alaska and cool-off.

    September 4, 2008 02:55 am at 2:55 am |
  23. Shannon

    I think that anyone who believes themselves to be a mature, responsible, parent and brings five children into the world...should also be the same parent who puts those children ahead of her/his own ambitions and makes parenting ALL five of those children their full-time job until those children are grown. This is especially true when you have a special needs infant who will need much time and attention of both parents who chose to bring him into this world. Finally, I think that a pregnant teenager shows a lack of parental supervision on the home front. Maybe mom shouldn't be off governing the mighty State of Alaska and dad working up on the North Slope. I would be pretty unhappy with my parents if I was Bristol and the whole nation was talking about my private life. Thanks, Mom.

    September 4, 2008 02:55 am at 2:55 am |
  24. Tony Armijo

    In my opinion, this speech just served to guarantee victory in New Mexico for the OBAMA/Biden ticket. Thw McCAIN/PALIN ticket is nothing more than a far right conservative candidacy, this is not the way to win our state. All I sadly say is that this campaign is going to get personal and nasty.

    September 4, 2008 02:56 am at 2:56 am |
  25. Kristina in California

    Thank You Sarah for letting us know exactly who you are...a desperate,
    bitter, anti-intellectual housewife....and apparently not a very effective communicator/parent on teh home front.
    Stick to the hockey and moose hunting, and clean up your own mess
    before you attempt to impose your backward, un-evolved ways on our nation.
    I'll keep you in my prayers.

    September 4, 2008 02:56 am at 2:56 am |
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