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. Karen - Missouri

    I've got news for you. she does NOT appeal to rural Americans, not to most women, not to even more men,

    She's arrogant and can't deliver a speech any better than McCain. Put the teleprompter closer so she doesn't have to stop.

    It was obviously written for the woman who just weeks ago "doesn't know what a VP does".

    Her "jokes" are as silly as McCain's insulting one.s.

    She's not anti-elitist...that's just Republican propoganda. she's like those hockey moms or die hard parents who cause problems at the kids games. Her roots are NOTHING compared to Joe Bidens.

    Besides, she and her husband don't care about the lower states...just Alaska with that Alaska Independent Party.

    She says she refuses pork barrel spending, but takes the money anyway and distributes it.

    do you really think we don't have TV and computers in rural America?????

    September 4, 2008 12:38 am at 12:38 am |
  2. L.M.

    I wouldn't know I'm not a suburbanite but I can tell you that the RNC has not spoken about turning this economy around! They laughed at community activists! How dare they! It's a horrific thought of the cowboy good ole boy network of McCain got in office!

    September 4, 2008 12:38 am at 12:38 am |
  3. L Henson

    She connected with me. I thought she was intelligent and very well spoken. I have been watching CNN and trying to figure out what your position is. Do you lean toward the left or toward the right? I believe you lean left. But regardless of your politics, I find it offensive the attacks aimed at Mrs. Palin. The media attacks her ability to balance her family and her job. Shame on you. Do you ask the same of the men? Why don't you focus on the issues? I personally want to know what the plans are for each party. How will they fix the problems with America? As a side note, I don't know who Paul is, but I think he needs to crawl back under the rock he popped out from under.

    September 4, 2008 12:38 am at 12:38 am |
  4. Diane Dagenais Turbide

    Good evening,

    woman in politic is in need for a change!

    macho speech giveng by a woman! This is where there is a big difference in today's realities for younger generations by not having to be macho to be heard at work and or in politics! I truly believe in my differences and at not changing them to face this world but at reaching out to other differences to emerge with them as a more complex individual that can live with all her differences! Life is more challenging this way!

    If there is one principle I believe in living in these uncertain times is to learn to live with your own differences standing equally side by side with others' people differences. It is our differences that makes us much stronger and unites at the end!

    It is our unchangeable or fixated uniqueness that separates us from others and unfortunately makes life a little more boring at the end for all of us!

    Wonder if she can even pronounce his name! Lack of respect!
    You know there is a principle out there that exist : how you talk about someone when the person is not in front of does that same person talks about you when you are not there....not a way to unite people. A total lack of judgment from McCain at choosing an attack dog like it was mentioned! What happens at the end is seeing too much is like a wife who nags too much! You turn a deaf ear! And we turn the page to a much better quiet and yet stronger united days!

    September 4, 2008 12:38 am at 12:38 am |
  5. Jack

    I thought that her comments were too sarcastic, and she was trying to be too cute. I would give her a C-.

    September 4, 2008 12:38 am at 12:38 am |
  6. Don Longfellow

    I think you're confusing suburbia with midtown Manhattan. If Sarah Palin plays well in small town America for the reasons you listed, she will likely play well in suburbia where soccer moms and PTA members outnumber elitists.

    September 4, 2008 12:38 am at 12:38 am |
  7. J&J

    Palin nice!!!!

    September 4, 2008 12:38 am at 12:38 am |
  8. Lynne, Alaska

    The rest of America will soon know what most Alaskans know – Sarah Palin belongs on Jerry Springer's greatest hits.

    September 4, 2008 12:38 am at 12:38 am |
  9. Dannah in Kentucky

    When the liberal news and Obama campaign dish it out, they now know they had better know how to take it too! Sarah Palin is a barracuda! You go girl! I am a woman and a democrat voting for the American ticket of McCain-Palin. It is the vote for America!

    September 4, 2008 12:38 am at 12:38 am |
  10. Samuel in Florida

    America already doesn't have the stomach for attack politics, but to have it coming from a woman with children, makes it a little bit worse. You can call it sexism if you want but it's so easy for people to see her as an "angry trashy woman"… c'mon Gergen, you know that's how it plays in the Suburbs and Rural areas.

    All my message get stuck in moderation.

    September 4, 2008 12:38 am at 12:38 am |
  11. Woman on the rag!

    Palin has about as much appeal as a cold sore.

    September 4, 2008 12:38 am at 12:38 am |
  12. ek

    If you are illiterate, mis-guided right wing, religious blue collar, she may appeal to them. Hopefully, the 75% of America that believe in the right to choose, will relize what this mentally challenged individual means to America. What up, if you want personal rights, this would is not less of an extremist then the far right wing party she represents.

    McCain and Palin are not an alternative to what America stands for constitutionally.

    September 4, 2008 12:38 am at 12:38 am |
  13. ASW

    David - She leaves me cold on a number of issues aside from her style. The issues in no particular order are:

    * Abortion
    * Environment
    * Trust (think saying one thing, but doing another [i.e. bridge to nowhere])
    * Religion
    * War

    I see Ms. Palin as being very dangerous. More George W. Bush than Dan Quayle.

    September 4, 2008 12:38 am at 12:38 am |
  14. Nina-Florida

    No way, No how, No McCain, No Palin!!!

    September 4, 2008 12:38 am at 12:38 am |
  15. Cheri

    Sarah Palin came across as being very mean spirited. I thought her speech went on to much about her family and didn't have much substance on the issues.

    September 4, 2008 12:38 am at 12:38 am |
  16. In public? No way

    First, let me be clear that my vote does not matter. I am a white, 43 year old, straight male in California. Socially liberal, fiscally conservative. Pollsters consider that I will vote republican and Obama will win whether I vote or not.
    Second, I am an independent and have been considering voting for McCain because he has strayed from the traditional right wing of the republican party of religious conservatism, buying of the farm lobby and the military industrial complex. Unfortunately, Palin’s speech moves his campaign into the heart of that territory.
    If the hard core party members are now “energized” and eager to support McCain when before they were tepid, you will lose the independent voters like myself. But since most of us live in blue states, who cares?

    September 4, 2008 12:39 am at 12:39 am |
  17. Ashu Rathor

    Her style is that of dirty old mean politics. Old style mudslinging a very typical of a small town politician. Are we saying subarbia will get impressed by a pitbull? I think they are smarter then that and would rather chain the pitbull then let him/her run amock. I think they have seen pibull politics in last 8 years.

    September 4, 2008 12:39 am at 12:39 am |
  18. Jack

    I can't get any more moderate than that without lying!

    September 4, 2008 12:39 am at 12:39 am |
  19. Tamara

    I am a stay-at-home suburban mother who found Gov. Palin a terrifying step backwards for this country, I immediately went on-line and donated a hefty sum to the Obama campaign. I am from a blue-collar, small town family, not all of us are as stupid as Republicans would like to believe, some of us actually look at how party policies would impact this country before casting a vote.

    September 4, 2008 12:39 am at 12:39 am |
  20. John

    I tuned into the Republican Convention with an open mind, but I came away disgusted and apalled. It's the same old Republican party - the same old hypocrisy. The speeches were of even less substance than the accuse Obama's of being - unless you consider their personal attacks substance, because their convention was chalk full of ugly, condescending attacks.

    The Republicans have really lost their way. They have been lost for a long time though. Now it seems they've pulled John McCain down with them. He used to be better than this.

    September 4, 2008 12:39 am at 12:39 am |
  21. Kay Kay

    She seems extremely negative, and for all her reasons for why Obama shouldn't be president, I was hoping for some reasons why she should be VP. As a suburban independent mom I found her to be pretty unlikeable in this speech. That sort of snyde arrogance is really unattractive to me. A little humility would have gone farther. I haven't seen any record of accomplishments, and only keep hearing she was governor. There are lots of governors and mayors, I want results.

    September 4, 2008 12:39 am at 12:39 am |
  22. Ana

    I am disappointed in so many ways with Sarah Palin – she says she's a feminist but she wants all girls to have the choices her daughter had – abstinence or teenage pregnancy and a shot-gun wedding – she says she's above politics as usual but goes after Obama personally and attacks him for being a community organizer when he could have had any number of lucrative jobs and lies about his legislative record – she uses her children and their lives when it benefits her but says they are off-limits to others – she claims she is a reformer and against corruption but she sought earmarks and is under investigation herself for a possible misuse of power – she has zero foreign policy experience or military leadership experience but seems to feel she is ready to take over for McCain should circumstances require it – the whole situation is frightening! Add to that – she's downright mean and sarcastic.

    September 4, 2008 12:39 am at 12:39 am |
  23. ssb

    This speech was more of the same attacks. How does one stand there and mock Obama for helping a community get back on there feet after losing their homes and jobs. Sarah Palin you are not a reformer you are a disgrace to all women!

    September 4, 2008 12:39 am at 12:39 am |
  24. Independent

    I found her speech rather dreary and quite boring. I think she will have some serious difficulty debating with Biden come October 2, 2008. I was completely not impressed with her.

    September 4, 2008 12:39 am at 12:39 am |
  25. Marcia Elgersma

    yes, I think Sarah Palin will appeal to suburban America. She has the same concerns and issues regarding family, finances, challenges in life and frustrations with "the system". I think suburbia will resonate with her track record as mayor and govenor in being able to do something about those shared concerns and her stated intent to bring that ability to Washington.

    September 4, 2008 12:39 am at 12:39 am |
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