Second presidential debate at The Apollo

A not-so-great cell phone pic of Christina Greer moderating the debate discussion at The Apollo.

I got to watch the second presidential debate at the world famous Apollo Theater in Harlem tonight. It was my first time there.

It’s a lot smaller than it looks on television, but it’s a sight to be seen. Especially the outdoor sign. It’s so bright!

One of Fordham’s political science professors, Christina Greer, was asked to moderate a panel discussion before and after the debate. The panel included Esther Armah (WBAI-FM), Herb Boyd (The New York Amsterdam News), Michael Brendan Dougherty (The American Conservative), Mark Riley (WWRL 1600 AM), William Tucker [The American Spectator], and Armstrong Williams (SiriusXM’s The Power).

My colleague Janet will blog about the discussion, which touched on several topics, but a comment by Dougherty of The American Conservative stayed with me. When asked what will the candidates NOT talk about tonight, he predicted they’d avoid: the unemployment of black males; the war on drugs, which leads to the incarceration of an overwhelming amount of black males; the use of drones, civil liberties and guns.

Well, he was wrong on guns, since it came up in a town hall question. Too bad neither candidate came up with a real solution or promised to get real “tough” on guns since we know there are a lot of people in this country who would lose their minds if you dared threaten the 2nd Amendment or the gun industry.

But, Dougherty was dead on about all the other things he predicted they’d avoid. Yet I am not surprised.

I’ll admit it–I’m a pessimist (let’s all be thankful I’m not a politician running the country). But I just can’t see ALL or even most of America demanding that the unemployment or incarceration of black males come up at the dinner table, let alone in a national discussion.

And did you notice none of tonight’s questions directly dealt with the poor or the disabled? Many people jumped on Mitt Romney for his 47% comment. But sometimes I wonder why most of us–the middle class that is so often mentioned in campaign stump speeches and debates–go right along ignoring issues that are not personally affecting us. (And are they not affecting us in the long run?)


Peggy Noonan: ‘We are a big, complicated nation. And we are human beings. We are people.’

Peggy Noonan (a Republican) in the Wall Street Journal on Romney’s recent flubs:

I wrote recently of an imagined rural Ohio woman sitting on her porch, watching the campaign go by. She’s 60, she identifies as conservative, she likes guns, she thinks the culture has gone crazy. She doesn’t like Obama. Romney looks OK. She’s worried about the national debt and what it will mean to her children. But she’s having a hard time, things are tight for her right now, she’s on partial disability, and her husband is a vet and he gets help, and her mother receives Social Security.

“She’s worked hard and paid into the system for years. Her husband fought for his country.

“And she’s watching this whole election and thinking.You can win her vote if you give her faith in your fairness and wisdom. But not if you label her and dismiss her.”

Read more here.