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. Hillary Supporter

    This speech was a joke written by Bush's speech writer. Where all the policy issues? It was nothing but scare tactics and attacks.

    September 4, 2008 12:36 am at 12:36 am |
  2. Mort

    Not to me. This VP choice was McCain at his finest pandering.

    September 4, 2008 12:36 am at 12:36 am |
  3. Donna May

    I have truly found a new friend, that I can be proud to call her a hero!!!!
    I my self also have a down syndrome son.He's 31 now. They are only given to some one that can handle lifes challanges. She will change this great nation of america. Her and John Mcain will lead this nation
    in the right direction. I was impressed with Hillary,I've thought hard
    about Obamba,But I truly know my choice is Sarah and John!!!!!

    Yes us small town people also have Big town thought's. Sara were
    neighbor's. Michigan love's you BOTH...

    God Bless you both.
    Donna May

    September 4, 2008 12:36 am at 12:36 am |
  4. red ryder

    I disagree, I think sarah appeals to ALL COMMON SENSE Americans who care about our coutry's future! She has real basic values. Those values that our country was found on by our forefathers. SHE will make a GREAT VP of the UNITED STATES WITH PRES. McCANN.

    September 4, 2008 12:36 am at 12:36 am |
  5. Kona

    I've always liked you, because you're a pretty fair journalist, you're even-keeled, and your even-handed in your feedback. But, for you to think Palin "delivers" is a stretch. She may have delivered what the convention goers wanted, which is red meat and words from someone they think represents them and their views. However, in the end this this type of scorched earth leadership is not leadership, it's weakness. It does not address our tough challenges, it does not illuminate our commonalities, it does not enlighten us.

    All it does is play on our fears and create a wedge where there isn't one, or expand the differences we share. That's sad, and I wish you would speak to this, because deep down I know you see it that way. I know you saw this type of approach fail for Senator Clinton, someone you know well and admire. It failed for her David, and it's going to fail for the Republicans as well.

    Most people in this country are tired of failed leadership. Call it a desire for change, a plea for improved living conditions, a yearning for something new, a movement. Call it whatever you want, but this is where the majority of our country's collective energy resides. At the end of the day that is where we are headed as a nation. I know you're trying to be fair, but I hope it doesn't keep you from being fully honest about what you're seeing.


    September 4, 2008 12:36 am at 12:36 am |
  6. angela

    Sarah will relate to voters of all backgrounds not just small town America.

    If the liberal media hounds dont back off her and her family soon, she will get he sympathy of ALL voters except the liberal left.

    She will be the 1st woman VP!

    September 4, 2008 12:36 am at 12:36 am |
  7. Tony Grubb

    I'm sorry but Republicans in general won't appeal to suburban people, especially if you noticed that most of the people in the audience were old, white, country rednecks. We saw maybe 3 or 4 African Americans and 1 or 2 Hispanics. Certainly no gay or lesbian people and nil on the Asians. Hardly any young people seem to be excited about McCain. This is the makeup of suburban America. They are the party of rural America.

    September 4, 2008 12:36 am at 12:36 am |
  8. Ifzal

    Way to Go GOP ! you practically handed it over to Obama today- How dare JewLani call Muslims terrorist? isn't the RIGHT WING terrorist as well- How come he didn't mention Tim McVeigh, Una Bomber, or how about Eric Robert Rudolph who calls himself a born again christian and bombed abortion clinic. Divide and Rule is GOP policy. not gonna work this time
    Obama/Biden 08'

    September 4, 2008 12:36 am at 12:36 am |
  9. LANCE






    September 4, 2008 12:36 am at 12:36 am |
  10. Kam (from Michigan)

    I can't see her playing extremely well in rural America either. Are rural American's that condescending? Are rural American's that closed minded? Are rural Americans willing to let someone in government they've never met continue scaring them into doing as they're told and not asking questions? I consider myself an independent, but when I see the republicans acting like this, I can not in good conscience vote for them. As hot as Sarah Palin is, she just turns me off.

    September 4, 2008 12:36 am at 12:36 am |
  11. Pitbull hockey mom!

    I see no appeal whatsoever! Her comment about the difference between a hockey mom and a pitbull is lipstick, will somebody please give her a tube a lipstick or a dog biscuit?! Sarah Palin is about as appealing to be the vp of these United States as a tick on a horses behind. Nothing of substance was said tonight! A Dubya triplet!

    September 4, 2008 12:36 am at 12:36 am |
  12. Ann

    I've always liked McCain – a lot. But this choice of Palin stopped me in my tracts in my support of him. I thought I'll wait and see – her speech tonight has made the decision for me. Her inexperience, unprofessionalism, and "barracuda" persona shone through. She reminded me of a 6th grade "mean girl" pact leader. There was nothing substantive, nothing that told me anything about how she will govern this nation should McCain, 72 with a questionable health history, die in office. I pray that she'll be dropped because of all the "vetting" that is going on through the media, and McCain will be allowed to do a do-over.

    September 4, 2008 12:36 am at 12:36 am |
  13. Ricky gop 4 dnc

    lol wow no she didnt…that speech only "rocked " in that hall but ever blog every thing i've read about every speech that was given by the GOP was negative, hatefull, boring and america is tired of it…why isnt anyone talking about what those 3 GOP were talking about on the open mic? because that is real and the truth…

    September 4, 2008 12:36 am at 12:36 am |
  14. UCLAdy04

    Most of us are not from small towns and do not live in small towns, so are we the enemy of this nation? Give me a break. She is a mean-spirited, vindictive politician and her time is almost up. The Dem's convention was about uniting this country and making everyone feel welcome in the party...the RNC is about denigrating anyone who is not a Republican. They are doing a bang-up job of alienating the other 65% of the country.

    September 4, 2008 12:37 am at 12:37 am |
  15. Judy

    I am a suburban wife and mother. Her speech was a breath of fresh air. It cut through the talk, and explained what the talk will mean to us as citizens. Higher taxes from someone who has no executive leadership experience and has never written a law; who reaches out to other countries while telling Americans they are not proud of their country until now.

    I don't see what is wrong with being "anti-elitist" ... shouldn't everyone? An elitist attitude is not the kind of attitude we should look for in our President. We need someone who has shown strength and stood up to terrorists; someone who is not afraid to stand up to anyone .. even his own party.

    She is the perfect running mate for him; she stood up to politicians in her party on behalf of the citizens. She's not afraid to be direct and tell us what we need to know. She had every right to be combative after being criticized all week for nothing of substance.

    Please know that supporting life is not a "staunch" position that will make voters "cool if not cold." I will never understand how protecting life would bother so many people. Everyone I know in the city where I live is pro-life ... life is not a choice; it is a gift. Snuff it out, and it is gone.

    This, to me, is "cool if not cold."


    (I hope you print conservative viewpoints)

    September 4, 2008 12:37 am at 12:37 am |
  16. Ruth Maria Adria

    She's great! Electrifying!

    September 4, 2008 12:37 am at 12:37 am |
  17. James

    As an former Democrat turned Independent, I can tell you with certainty that Palin will appeal big time to suburban moderates. Like many others I'm pro choice, but this is not a trigger issue for me. In other words, I don't base my vote on this one issue alone and neither do most Americans.

    For whatever reason, the political pundits seem to want to spin her as a far right wing fringe candidate, but she doesn't come across this way at all. As a matter of fact Palin seems quite main stream and very straight laced – the kind of person many moderates can vote for.

    September 4, 2008 12:37 am at 12:37 am |
  18. Susan Enholm

    Sara is perfect! She will sink John McCsomething into the mire, Burn the books. Don't tell your kid about birth control. Kill beautiful animals. Think the world was created in seven days. Oh, sure. She's smart.

    September 4, 2008 12:37 am at 12:37 am |
  19. jason

    The only people she will resonate with are those already planning to vote Republican

    September 4, 2008 12:37 am at 12:37 am |
  20. GW

    Only if they buy the newest Republican mantra: "executive experience." Mr. Gergen, could you please lead a discussion at some point on this nonsense of "executive experience"? Why is it that the experience of "a decider" as President Bush might say, should in any way be considered more valid than those in legislative roles? Does this mean that no man or woman in congress or senate can ever be as experienced as any governor or mayor?

    The rhetoric I saw tonight makes me believe that we have the crudest and most partisan political culture in the West. What a disgrace.

    September 4, 2008 12:37 am at 12:37 am |
  21. francee

    NO! She and her party offered nothing to the people in the form of solutions. Everybody is hurting and we are sick and tired of the negative politics that divide and get nothing done. As a former Hillary supporter, and I supporter Hillary to the bitter end, this women will not get my vote. Her bitter and sarcastic remarks to Obama do nothing to help people get jobs or fix the economy.

    September 4, 2008 12:37 am at 12:37 am |
  22. Alex

    After watching her speech I went from open minding to disliking her. Offering nothing of substance, she tried to conver this by going on the attack and distorting obama's positionto the point of fabrication.
    The tone was completly negative. She didn't do show any understanding on foreign policy and the economy which is what she needed to do.
    All she had to offer was a nice background which everyone knew, and a negative attack on her opponents. Which is not what I'm looking for when electing some who would be next in line for the presidency.

    September 4, 2008 12:37 am at 12:37 am |
  23. Jonathan Samuels

    I find her belief that creationism should be taught in schools scary. Is it just me but didn't the current administration abuse thier power a little bit? Is it just me that they picked a vp CURRENTLY under investigation for abusing power? Her opposition to abortion even in the cases of incest and rape is pretty far right as well. I'm republican and i'll be voting Obama/Biden.

    I'm sorry but aware, thoughtful Americans will most likely vote for Obama.

    September 4, 2008 12:37 am at 12:37 am |
  24. Maureen

    I think she's a redneck idiot whose riding a wave. One that will end up on the shore a flat nothing. And McCain and her are cut from the same dirty cloth as Bush. Good Riddence to all three and onward any upward for Barack Obama............

    September 4, 2008 12:37 am at 12:37 am |
  25. Marty, FL

    Palin appeals to the far right of the Republican base, but the ideology may do little to attract independents in this country who want a change from the past eight years. Factcheck will reveal many distortions Palin mentioned in the speech this evening (i.e. support for the bridge to nowhere before being against it, lobbyist ties, Obama's tax cuts for the majority of Americans, etc.).

    September 4, 2008 12:37 am at 12:37 am |
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