Politics & Society

Headed to NYC

Let me get on up out of here. I'm headed to MY HOMETOWN, Nueva York — the Apple, the Empire State.

We'll be there for three days of broadcasts next week. We are delighted that we will now be part of the WNYC radio family as of Monday.


Check us out from New York in the first part of the week, then back in D.C. for the rest of the week.

Now, the week in politics ...

Today, we decided to talk about the SPOUSES of presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama. This year they both happen to be wives (who are we kidding? ... they always have been). It's become an axiom that we want to know who these guys are married to.

How much do we need to know?

Let's debate this. On the one hand, we know the spouses are key players. Most married people influence each other, how could they not? So, we should know something about them, shouldn't we? On the other hand, the wife is not on the ballot, so shouldn't there be some zone of privacy?

And, on the one hand, they are significant cultural figures. Why shouldn't we take them as seriously as we do singers and actors, rappers and athletes? But, on the other hand, can't we leave them alone? ... Since life is hard enough?

What do you say? How much so you want to know and has what you knew about the spouse of a previous candidate ever affected your vote?

Second, Faith Matters. We wanted to focus on Dr. James Dobson. What do you think his bone to pick with Obama is about? Is it doctrine or politics? And, who do You think is right?

Read a copy of Obama's speech. Then, hear what Dr. Dobson has to say about it.

And, of course, the Barbershop guys. What do you think about Don Imus's recent comments about suspended NFL cornerback Adam "Pacman" Jones? Was he taken out of context? Do you care?

And, Shaq versus Kobe? Is it part of the game or enough already?
(I think you know where I come out on this, but I am still interested.)

Have a great weekend. When we talk next I'll be in the Apple. My hometown.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

About Candidates and their Spouses?

It doesn't affect my vote. I've always looked at the Candidates' policies to make my decision.

Other than on the national level of voting for Presidents, I don't know the spouses of candidates I vote for on the local and state levels. And I like it that way.

About Dr. Dobson and Sen. Obama?

I've read and said enough on this blog about faith this past week and how some folks interpret the Bible; I'm quite drained on that subject.

But I will say this, I question Dr. Dobson's timing (two years after Obama's speech) to make a public statement. Could it be Dobson sensed a shift in the base to Obama then all of a sudden makes statement on how Obama distorted the Bible?

About Imus and Pacman?

Non-issue. Obviously, Imus had no idea what a nuisance Pacman Jones was. So wrong person to talk about disparity in arrests with blacks and other races. Pacman deserved ALL his arrests.

Shaq vs. Kobe?

Shaq's "freestyle" was funny! And I will always have a soft spot for good humor. The first time I saw the video, for a split second, I missed Shaq's antics on the local news for the four years he was with the Miami Heat.

On the other hand (my serious side), I thought it was childish. Shaq is a 36 year old man and by that time, a man should put away childish things.

Besides, Kobe didn't cause Shaq's divorce as he rapped in the "freestyle." Shaq was still with his soon to be ex-wife five years after Kobe threw him under the bus - a punk move on Kobe's part.

Sent by Moji | 7:13 PM | 6-27-2008

Michel, you asked for comments following your program on Michelle Obama.
I'm a 72-year-old white guy who's enormously impressed with Michelle Obama, ever since I first saw her give a speech on C-SPAN. Oh, I wish she had said "I've never been so proud of my country...etc." instead what she actually said (which I fully understand, by the way) but which will be used against her again and again by the other party. It may seem odd to say it, but I probably have more faith in Michelle than in Barack. Although I've supported Barack for president from the start, frankly, I don't know if he'll be able to lead the country in the direction we all hope he will. But, because I have an instinctive trust in Michelle, I'm rather relying on her judgment that he really is the right man this time.

Sent by John Bevan | 10:47 AM | 6-29-2008

Hey, Michel-
Welcome home. Good show. I could really feel your reunion with a childhood friend, especially the part about leaving New York for school and never really returning. There are many native New Yorkers who, upon getting an opportunity to see another way of life, never even think about reentering the high voltage, alternating current that is New York. And then there are many others, like me, who are privileged to go away to college, and do a stint in D.C., but never seriously consider calling anywhere else home.
Welcome back, even if only to hear your own voice mixed with the sound of the city that made you, and still makes me.


Sent by Leon Wynter | 3:09 PM | 6-30-2008

"Let's debate this. On the one hand, we know the spouses are key players. Most married people influence each other, how could they not? So, we should know something about them, shouldn't we? On the other hand, the wife is not on the ballot, so shouldn't there be some zone of privacy?"

Well, not to beat a dead horse from earlier comments, but I'm clearly on the Nunya side of the spouses issue, as in, "It's nunya business." For example, this weekend I heard one listener to NPR complain about Cindy McCain being discribed by one reporter as a "frat boy's dream" and then listed all of Mrs. McCain's work with special needs children. Like Mercutio, I say a pox on both the reporter and the listener. What the spouses and the families do is nobody's business.

I felt this way even before I could vote. During the 1980 President Carter said this golden words: "I asked my daughter Amy what's the most important issue in this campaign. She told me, 'nuclear power.'"

Only 16 years old, I screamed at the TV --as if I yelled loud enough, he could hear me on the other side of the camera-- "I don't care what Amy thinks! She's not running for president!"

I just wonder if I'm the only one who thinks this way or if I'm the only one who's brave enough or foolish enough to chime in against the din of celebrity journalism dressed in the sheep's clothing of political coverage.

I feel sorry for political journalists who are assigned to interview the candidate's spouses. If they have an ounce of integrity, they must feel dirty asking such inane questions as, "What's their favorite movie?" But, of course, I feel even dirtier knowing their favorite movie as a result of such interviews.

That's my point of view. As the second cousin of the former president of Ireland, Rosemary Scallon, who, to this day, refuses all interviews regarding my cousin, go ahead and flame away.

Sent by Matthew C. Scallon | 4:47 PM | 6-30-2008