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. Deborah

    I am an Independent but have decided after hearing the speeches tonight that I will cast my vote for the Democrats. The Republican Convention has been nasty, insulting, and without any substance. The chant of America First is very painful to hear - we all love our country, the Republicans don't have a corner on that. I think that it is petty that no one ever says Barrack Obama's name - more than petty, disrespectful. He is the Democratic Presidential Candidate for the Presidency of the United States of America and deserves to be called by his name. I could go on and on but suffice it to say that this 56 year old white woman originally from Bucks County, PA now living in rural MD made her decision this evening. I have decided to vote for the party which with all its flaws does appear to be taking the high road and keeping this race about issues.

    September 4, 2008 12:40 am at 12:40 am |
  2. Barbara

    Didn't ROVE do a good job of teaching his protege how to write speeches?

    SHEEP – Republicans are SHEEP

    September 4, 2008 12:40 am at 12:40 am |
  3. The Same Man

    Appealing? -Yes! Similar to a Saturday Night Live skit!

    September 4, 2008 12:40 am at 12:40 am |
  4. Jesse from Maryland

    Besides the 20,000 people that were at the convention, and the 9,000 people from her own town. I believe that Palin has no support. Face it she is no Hillary Clinton. I am glad they are investigation her for ethics violations. She has the commissioner of police fired for not firing her sister state trooper husband who was divorcing her. Palin also has an alcoholic husband who obviously has to be drunk to deal with her shrill voice, not to mention Palin's teen daughter is running around her high school sleeping with boys unprotected. I wonder how much they had to pay that guy to say he is her daughters baby father.

    September 4, 2008 12:40 am at 12:40 am |
  5. BK

    I thought it was a great speech. The Republicans only said what everyone has been questioning the media about for over 19 months. That they have refused to discuss. Thumbs up to Gov. Palin!

    September 4, 2008 12:40 am at 12:40 am |
  6. Susan

    Ms. Palin's mean spirited attack on Obama and democrats left me cold. She was way too combative for my taste.

    September 4, 2008 12:40 am at 12:40 am |
  7. Matthew, PA

    As far as I'm concerned, she has appeal in big city America.

    September 4, 2008 12:40 am at 12:40 am |
  8. sandy knafelc

    I am from Denver, am an Independent, -a mom. I think your coverage of both conventions is amazing. I have made up my mind.

    After the Democratic Convention I felt "hopeful." I felt like America might be able to pull herself out of this mess and stand as a proud member of world community.

    After the speeches of tonight at the Republican Convention I am depressed about the nasty "shrill" tone of the party.

    I hope that we Americans won't crumble to this negative rhetoric for another term and I hope it won't set the tone for the rest of the year. I think I want to hide my head if I have to listen to this any more!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I believe in education, culture, and hopefulness!!!

    I can't live in a country that is this nasty!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I don't think I can take any more of this so will probably keep the TV off for the next four years if the Republican Party does "WIN." If this is winning I think we all lose!!!

    September 4, 2008 12:40 am at 12:40 am |
  9. Rekha Sharma-Crawford

    I really tried to be open minded at the start of Gov. Palin's speach, but that only lasted a few minutes. First, I think she came across as condescending. I think the Republican Party demeans the office of VP when they refer to their VP nominee as a "hot chick". Can you imagine a male nominee ever being refered in that way?!

    BTW, Gov. Palin is running for VP of the USA NOT Alaska. Remember when the Republicans made a huge issue about Obama not wearing the flag pin? Looks like the Republicans flip flop on this issue too.

    Come on America...we're smarter than falling for this "politics as usual" nonsense .

    September 4, 2008 12:40 am at 12:40 am |
  10. Anonymous

    Cool , this sad caricature of a bright young woman is not cool she is the school yard bully want to be who hasn't learned that toughness is not powerful. Power is the ability to make ones point without breaking a sweat or stirring up oposition

    September 4, 2008 12:40 am at 12:40 am |
  11. Ramsi Hashash

    I can only say I believe Mc Cain made a good pick when he chose Palin. He would have had more supporters if he would have announced that pick just after it was clear that Hillary would not beat Obama. Of course at that time Mc Cain had no clue that he would pick her. Now however he has to face the challenges that he tried to find a republican replacement for Hillary and no matter who he or Palin will say that will be the perception of 85% of the Hillary supporters and some 35% of the republican voters.

    The Mc Cain-Pailn ticket and the Obama-Biden ticket will ensure that the next 8 weeks will be very event full. Having said this I also believe that now as we have seen yesterday the gloves are coming off especially on the republican side like Thompson and (R) Liebermann.

    Having said this I still believe that the Obama-Biden ticket will win in November by some 8 to 10 percentage points.

    That is of course as long as no one have a skeleton in the closet.

    September 4, 2008 12:40 am at 12:40 am |
  12. Cathy

    As a Mom myself, I was touched with the scene of her family and this hockey Mom reminded me of my days as a basketball Mom. Then I remembered how stark the differences are in her positions, on the issues that matter to me.

    September 4, 2008 12:41 am at 12:41 am |
  13. Tawanda

    No, I don't think she will do well. After hearing her speech tonight, Mrs. Palin can only reach a bar full of men where she's just trying to be one the guys. and the center of attention. She was rude and very dispectful. I wonder what the evangical group think of her. I am a woman and her speech made me sick to my stomach.

    September 4, 2008 12:41 am at 12:41 am |
  14. Larry

    Its clear she gave a well delivered speech, not written by her if i mind. But she distorted alot of peoples records including her own and basically the whole speech was negative and empty of ideas.

    September 4, 2008 12:41 am at 12:41 am |
  15. T. Denise

    I was turned off by the Republican speakers tonite..... they (including Sarah) came across as nasty, devisive, ugly, hateful and very negative. In my opinion, they went overboard on the negativity and didn't address any new or critical issues. They didn't even acknowledge that the Republicans are the ones that put us in this fine mess the country is facing. What arrogance!! Do they really think Americans are that stupid??? Poor sarah is just a puppet..... to the point that her speech included reiterations of earlier speeches by other speakers. What a joke!!!!

    September 4, 2008 12:41 am at 12:41 am |
  16. Judywillis

    I'll be 69 years old on the 10th, in all my days I have never seen our country so bad off ,and heard such nasty speeces from the party that caused all the trouble,and they want 4 more years, this is more big oil . It is DRILL, DRILL, DRILL,

    September 4, 2008 12:41 am at 12:41 am |
  17. Elivin Gueston II

    Gov Palin is hardcore...I like her...very fiery.
    But, i don't think her speech won over those whom she needed to convince.
    Now while she definitely knows how to throw red meat...she must consider, some undecideds are vegetarians (if not vegan) ...

    September 4, 2008 12:41 am at 12:41 am |
  18. Brenda

    I am offended by the use of the word shrill. Here is the definition:# having or producing a high, thin, piercing tone; high-pitched
    # characterized or accompanied by shrill sounds
    # unrestrained and irritatingly insistent
    If that had been used about a man there would have been hell to pay.

    September 4, 2008 12:41 am at 12:41 am |
  19. Michael Prigoff

    As always, your instincts are on the money, David. Not just abortion, but issues like her support of teaching creationism, attempts at book banning (not to mention her hypocritical position on earmarks (she's against them, except when they're for Wasilla or Alaska!) will not play well in the suburbs.

    The meanness of tonight's speakers, including Palin herself, is also not what the voters are looking for this year. While it certainly energized the convention delegates, it was a clear mistake in this environment.

    September 4, 2008 12:41 am at 12:41 am |
  20. Bert

    RUN Obama RUN.............

    September 4, 2008 12:41 am at 12:41 am |
  21. Amanda

    How dare she make it seem as though being a community organizer is a substanderd job. Obama gets a law degree from harvard and instead of going on to a big law firm, he takes a job making ten thousand a year and lives in a small apartment in the hood. Why you ask? To help people. Palin be careful, and remeber you opened the door and invited him in, the gloves are off. I have no respect for such angry bantering.

    September 4, 2008 12:41 am at 12:41 am |
  22. Alison

    In response to Ms Palin being nominated by her party, I am frankly shocked. It looks like a very lazy way to win the Presidency for the Republicans. I am sure she will appeal to some; so did GWB. His presidency shows what happens when people put their "personal beliefs" ahead of what is right for ALL of the people of this country and what happens when the leader's will takes precedence over the people's will; ie Iraq, Oil, energy, natural resources. She is so not qualified; she knows it too. Hopefully, we will be wiser when choosing our next president. I cannot believe that this country would vote Republican after what they have done to us!

    September 4, 2008 12:41 am at 12:41 am |
  23. Jayjay

    Judging from a lot of the other comments here, I'd say she's got the Democrats scared to death! Go get 'em, Sarah! You've got my vote!

    September 4, 2008 12:41 am at 12:41 am |
  24. Chris

    I'm just confused. Why exactly does this person help us put our country first - what exactly is she offering us for the next four years? I mean, she seem nice. But her "slaps" to opposition seemed a little silly, I thought. And, to be honest, as a suburbanite, I get a little hung up on her BA in journalism - I mean...really? I don't have a neighbor for blocks that doesn't have a BA.

    September 4, 2008 12:42 am at 12:42 am |
  25. NTurner

    Gov. Palin finally said what many Democrats were too polite to mention about Barack Obama.

    After days of nasty, hateful attacks about her family, her small town, and her experience, Palin was well within her rights to come back with body blows against Obama, the teflon candidate.

    Palin was spot-on. Harry Reid describing her as "shrill" is just a continuation of the sexist "code" used against Hillary Clinton by some so-called "progressives" that culminated in the lackluster choice of Biden as Obama's VP choice.

    Roland Martin should take care giving in-kind advice to Obama implying Palin slighted community organizers. It could resurrect revelations about how Obama took credit for others organizing deeds, and remind folks how he used & discarded others to get to the top.

    September 4, 2008 12:42 am at 12:42 am |
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