Phi Beta Cons

Thoughts on the Presidential Debate

Some commentators on the second presidential debate are suggesting that the confrontational style of the night — the fierce exchanges and interruptions and talking over each other — may have turned off voters, especially undecided voters, and especially women. I guess these commentators have never had dinner with an Italian-American family. Seriously, though, there is a perfectly good way to see the sparks in the debate other than whether they fired up the base or turned people off. That is, that the format is very tight on time, that the candidates are charged up and eager, even desperate, to get out their ideas and correct misconceptions, and so get a little excited and push back and break in where they can. I think voters are capable of realizing that. Unless several decades of the cultivation of sensitivity in education, K–16, has created a cohort of cupcake Americans and women who cringe at a slightly raised voice or any kind of forceful challenge.  

The question during the debate from the college student about whether there will be a job for him when he graduates in 2014 raises an interesting point. As is well known, college graduates right now are having trouble finding good jobs, and yet we continue to allow college graduates from other countries to immigrate here, legally, and even illegally. (Mayor Bloomberg actually advised in a public forum that anyone wishing to come to American illegally should avoid the dangerous desert and just fly in and overstay their visas, shaming himself and making a mockery of the idea of the rule of law.) Be that as it may, sometimes those who support mass immigration but realize the problems in our current policies, Romney among them, suggest that we should choose more educated people. But we have many unemployed educated people here right now, and educated immigrants bring increased competition for scarce jobs. Certain STEM and computer areas are filled with immigrants, leaving native Americans behind.    

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