Freddy at Sylvia’s

You can’t blame the Ferrer campaign for latching on to this fight over debating at the Apollo. It’s the first solid punch Freddy’s landed on Mike for a while.

But Freddy’s preparatory breakfast with Charlie Rangel, Virginia Fields, and Billy Thompson up at Sylvia’s this morning did offer a clue as to why, quietly, many Democrats are wondering how much this line of attack actually helps.

The problems, one of which the Times gets at today, are two: the debate debate hasn’t, yet, been clearly attached to any substantive attack on the Mayor. And in the absence of anything but the process, what you’re really talking about is race.

Charlie Rangel, never shy of racial politics, defended them this morning, Politicker intern David Greenhouse reports:

“There’s nothing wrong with racial politics as long as it’s positive.”

Virginia, too, saw a broader, and also purely ethnic theme in the debate debate:

“We know that the Apollo … has become the place where political activities are very important to people of color in this city, so coming there every candidate would understand issues important to people of color in this city are going to be raised,” she said. “That’s to be expected, and that’s where I think the arrogance comes in. So it’s more than just whether it’s Harlem or whether it’s blacks, it is a state of mind, it is more than just a place on 125th Street, it is bigger than that, and I think [Mike] made a critical mistake.”

(Freddy’s response to Virginia: “I’m glad I don’t have to debate against you anymore.”)

In any case, beyond the welcome arrival of chicken-suit guy, where does the debate-debate go from here?

UPDATE: Or perhaps The Politicker is overthinking this. Robert George’s take is that the Mayor is being an idiot. And TimesSelect hostage Joyce Purnick has something to say on the subject as well, but it’s unlinkable. Freddy at Sylvia’s