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. David

    I don't believe she will appeal to suburban America. Her speech was in a condesending tone, she had a number of personal attacks, and just overal nasty. This, I'm sure, was great red meat for the fanatics already on board, but to people looking at how they're going to fix the economy, how they're going to solve the health care crisis, I just don't see it happening.

    I thought some of her remarks, especially about community organizing was despicable. It's clear the McCain campaign is using the 50+.1 Karl Rove strategy, by appealing to the hard core base.

    So no, I don't think it will work. There are more Dems this year than GOPers. The 50 + .1 will not work.

    September 4, 2008 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  2. Virginian08

    Her speech was amateur in its delivery. Many of her points against Obama were nasty and below-the-belt. I'm surprised by the reaction you've had in saying she "delivered." Are you rating her as a first-time-speaker-on-the-national-scene or as, potentially, the next President of the United States? The media needs to be very careful in how it appraises this person and impacts the opinion of Americans.

    Palin is a facsimile of GW Bush: anti-science, anti-global warming action, pro-big oil and pro other extremist right wing views. For all our sakes, please be careful in how you represent her.

    September 4, 2008 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  3. astrumporta

    I thought she was so mean spirited and sarcastic, I don't see how anyone could warm to her!

    September 4, 2008 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  4. kellyfish

    She has more than rural appeal. Not many will find her cool or cold...

    September 4, 2008 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  5. Threefeathers

    History was made tonight and it was unexpected. The leftist bloggers who thought they were attacking a mere 'common' woman were them selves laid prone by a series of counter-punches that hit so hard they were floored.
    Sarah Palin gave voice to the thousands of combat veterans who have won a war that the leftists in the Democratic were desperate to lose.
    She allowed working blue collar Steelworkers the opportunity to support her husband, one of their Union leaders, as they defend their hunting, hiking, and shooting sports that the Democrats try to ignore.
    Sara Palin committed 'Obamacide' tonight and doing so saved her country.

    September 4, 2008 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  6. curtis in WI

    Her, and her party's, non-stop hatred doesn't play in the America I live in.

    September 4, 2008 12:35 am at 12:35 am |
  7. dc in buffalo, ny

    NO WAY >>>>NO HOW>>>> NEVER

    September 4, 2008 12:35 am at 12:35 am |
  8. Linda

    From the news clips all I saw was white people. RNC does not represent the America I live in that is full of black, Asian, Hispanic, and Native Americans. She does not sound like a leader. There is more to this company than rural small town america.

    September 4, 2008 12:35 am at 12:35 am |
  9. Barbara

    censoring us out does NOT stop our vote? Have the machines been fixed again?

    September 4, 2008 12:35 am at 12:35 am |
  10. stone

    McCain and Palin is a wonderful team to lead U.S.

    September 4, 2008 12:35 am at 12:35 am |
  11. donna

    She read the speech well as she should from her previous life of a sportscaster. But she was really too negative and personal for someone who has only been involved for about a week.
    Her delivery seemed forced in conviction and there was something very disturbing in the sarcastic tone.
    I gave the speech a C.

    September 4, 2008 12:35 am at 12:35 am |
  12. Winkzilla

    Gergen, I think America is in trouble. You are not looking at what is going on in depth. We have had eight years of an authoritarian administration. McCain and Palin are a continuation of Bush, Cheney and Rove. When you mix evangelicals and corporations, we have a dangerous mix to our national security. What are the moral bases for the Republican Party? They are taking us into extreme individualism. Extreme individualism is as dangerous as the extreme equality of communism. We have no balance with the Republicans. We have no national consciousness, only the dog-eat-dog mentality. This is fine if you are a top dog. Like Barack Obama said, you cannot lift yourself up by your bootstraps if you do not have any boots. We have a national interest in education and health care. Our greatest generation understood this. Nevertheless, our Republican Party is swinging further and further into the extreme forms of individualism and corrupting our moral obligations with each other. For the Republicans, you are either with us, or you are on the FBI, CIA undesirables list.

    September 4, 2008 12:35 am at 12:35 am |
  13. wilcox harri

    she did a great mistake by going after obama and his family.

    September 4, 2008 12:35 am at 12:35 am |
  14. YNotTry from VA

    I'm not sure what "red meat" is. It must mean to attack the opposition. I think many voters, outside of Rep, will find those mocking and divisive attacks unattractive. No substance...voters who vote on policies and less on identity will not fall for this.

    September 4, 2008 12:35 am at 12:35 am |
  15. Xavier

    After seeing Palin on television I have to say that it only makes me more sure to vote for Obama. This woman comes across as annoying as Fran Drescher.

    September 4, 2008 12:35 am at 12:35 am |
  16. Kay Dee

    NO WAY.....

    MAYOR OF A SMALL TOWN $20,000 a year

    GOVERNOR OF A STATE 45th IN POPULATION $75,000 a year

    VICE PRESIDENT a heart beat away from being president...



    September 4, 2008 12:35 am at 12:35 am |
  17. Sam

    Sarah Pallin had an opportunity to introduce herself. However, she, in my opinion, missed wasted one. It would have worked far better if she had focused on her successes, and the issues a typical family like hers’ faces. There was little sincerity in the speech. This is a shame but also expected given the tight lease that has been placed upon her. Often she was seen as reading a text which she did not fully comprehend. This was indeed a major disappointment for me in the political process.


    September 4, 2008 12:35 am at 12:35 am |
  18. Kristen

    I was extremely disappointed by the gutter attacks that was made. We need a government that can bring the American people together. This was shameful and I am very an independent my vote definitely goes to Obama...we can't have this type of gabage...there was nothing about the issues and economy...just war...war...war...just stop it o.k. What an insult to the community organizers who work hard for the american people, I am purely ashamed of this VP pick as a white woman.

    September 4, 2008 12:35 am at 12:35 am |
  19. carter

    What country is she from again?

    September 4, 2008 12:35 am at 12:35 am |
  20. Diane

    I am a suburban American...I live in a suburb of San Diego, CA. I am also a working mom, and a hockey mom; a soccer grandma, And to answer your question, yes, she does appeal to me...tremendously!!!

    September 4, 2008 12:35 am at 12:35 am |
  21. Cathy

    I am a woman and I live in suburban America and this woman does not have anything in common with me except gender. She does not appeal to me at all. She has been in office 19 months and is already under investigation for corruption. She will cost the taxpayers in her state $95,000 to defend her. And she can't even control her kids. She needs to go back to being a "hockey mom." I will not be fooled by John McSame! He is using this woman to try to get women voters to vote for him. Well, this is one woman that will not be fooled. She is definitely no Hillary Clinton!

    OBAMA/BIDEN 2008

    September 4, 2008 12:35 am at 12:35 am |
  22. Yes.

    I live in Minneapolis – Demville – and she has me.

    She was great. Tough, smart, fearless, funny, courageous, insightful, all of it.

    I like Obama too. But this lady is first on my list.

    September 4, 2008 12:35 am at 12:35 am |
  23. Paco

    No way does that style work anywhere that reason and common sense live. I guess I'm part of the liberal elite!

    September 4, 2008 12:35 am at 12:35 am |
  24. denverdem

    I believe Sarah Palin will appeal to a broad range of people seeking real change in Washington. Barack and Biden are just an extension of the long held liberal beliefs in Washington and as such represent no real change. Sarah Palin has demonstrated ability to effect real and meaningful change and get something done. This is one Dem who will vote for the Rep ticket with no regrets this year. Someday hopefully the Dem party will have the courage to have a candidate that is willing to fix what is broke in Washington.

    September 4, 2008 12:35 am at 12:35 am |
  25. Jack

    I thought that she was too sarcastic and trying to be too cute. She spent most of her time using Rove-Bush antics of badgering the opponent. She is not the least qualified for such a position, which makes McCain look terrible, judgment wise.

    September 4, 2008 12:35 am at 12:35 am |
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