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Sunday, May 23, 2004

Judges' Comments

The Closing Arguments are posted, the debate has ended, Battle Gay Marriage is ovah!

On the panel for this battle:

On the Left, Joel C of Nightmares for Sale.

On the Right, Jim D of Are You High?

And from the Center, Johnny R, a contributor at The Moderate Voice.

Let's see what the Judges have to say...

Opening Arguments:
Joel: There's some good information in the Challenger's post and the argument follows a logical path if the points are taken at face value. The reasoning for why a Constitutional amendment is needed is excellent. But I have some problems with some of the evidence put forward in support of gay marriages harming the institution of marriage. The testimony by Stanley Kurtz was not overly compelling. I think a more scientific study done by someone less perceivably biased, without affiliations to conservative organizations (or liberal organizations for that matter—just someone unbiased) would have been more compelling.
The arguments of the Iron Blogger are good and laid out logically. They follow point to point. I think more could have been done to support gay marriage, rather than just refuting the arguments for outlawing it. An opening argument that embraced the benefits of gay marriage and argued the merits of it would have been much more compelling and persuasive, I believe. The entry is good in many ways, but I think it is also a case of a missed opportunity. The rebuttals probably should have been saved for, well, the rebuttals.

Jim: The Challenger lays out his own path well, but does not attempt to remove or cut off any of his competitor's potential arguments. Very entertaining post, however he seemed to be a little snarky towards those on the other side of the fence.
The Iron Blogger leaves unanswered questions. IE: States that Civil Unions were successful in Vermont but then goes on to say this creates 2nd tier citizens. Which is it? He also just accepts the US being secular as fact w/o groundwork to prove as such. However, very straightforward, very exacting in wording and terminology.

Johnny: I thought both posts were good but frankly very very legalistic and not stylistic homeruns. The Challenger was impressive but seemed straining at points. Well thought out but his ending was very weak where he basically said changing the constitution will send a message that marriage is so important we changed the constitution to protect it. It undermined the more solid arguments he gave before.
The Iron Blogger outlined his case well using some legal points but other points as well and made his case well on the nature of the constitution. His "lead" with the questions you posed and the answer was a very good "hook." I admired the way he began his post.
First Rebuttals:
Joel: The Challenger's rebuttal starts out well enough. The problem is with the return to the argument that gay marriage weakens traditional marriage. The support for that is weak, at best.
After a mediocre opening argument, the Iron Blogger takes this debate to the next level. He takes each of The Challenger's points and strongly counters them.

Jim: Absolutely great post. The Challenger hits all the IB points and adds a few of his own. Very well written and fun to read but opening lines are too angry IMO.
The Iron Blogger answers all questions posed by the challenger previously and goes to further support his own standings. Refutes statistical analysis done by the challenger which may lead to be the most damning attack yet.

Johnny: I wasn't convinced at the outset that the Iron Blogger had written "tripe" as the Challenger says but was willing to hear the arguments. Some were better than others, but here seemed to be an underlying flaw that I could not quite figure out...until I read the end. A very very weak ending because it's not supported at all by the earlier writing on this post.
The Iron Blogger's First Rebuttal is the first post I read that made me lean heavily in a direction. Like all the others they've submitted, it veered all over the place, but the focus was much better here than on any other post.
Second Rebuttals:
Joel: The Challenger scores some points for his “untouchable” argument. IBDem mis right that the people have influence on the judges by who they elect, but The Challenger makes the good point that those judges, once installed, aren't going anywhere until they decide to, no matter what decisions they make. However, The Challenger then brings up the Kurtz study and IBDem's arguments against it and doesn't confront one of the main challenges—that civil unions may be a major cause for the decline in marriage. The snark is leaning toward snide and it's getting annoying. I have no problem with taking jabs at the opponent, but this debate is devolving and it's not making for as fun a time as it could be.
Excellent job going after The Challenger on the points he did not
address. However, IBDem also does not do a very good job of addressing the points that The Challenger DID make.

Jim: Very weak IMO when dealing with the real arguments from the IB and far too much of the sniping at the IB instead of his platform. So many holes to exploit IMO but instead The Challenger spent his time arguing the IB instead of refuting his arguments.
One plus, the Iron Blogger attacks the hole left open by the challenger RE: The Ammendment Process. Several negatives, ad hom. attacks against the challenger as well as Kurtz instead of really debating, Still so much left undebated or barely touched on by both IB and the Challenger due to the slide into attacking each other.

Johnny: I don't mind style but The Challenger starts off accusing the other guy of being dumb and lifting from an old post. Instant credibility loss (and that's how I vote when I see negative campaigning). This post, unlike his others, is written for those who already believe as he does -- people who are in his choir. He loses people like me who have mixed feelings on this issue by his approach. He'd do well to read The Christian Science Monitor a bit more.
The Iron Blogger is right about the challenger citing sources that were clearly ideological...nothing wrong with that...except they were therefore lacked some credibility on the issue. The Weekly Standard is a great magazine but we know where it is coming from before we read it. (As we do with The Nation by the way). His boldface comparison of Scandavia/US with Kurtz is excellent. The knock out punch is the Kurtz quotes.
Closing Arguments:
Joel: I like this closing argument. I'm glad The Challenger somewhat moved away from the flawed Kurtz study and instead focused on the mainstream opinion of being against gay marriage. Using quotes from high-profile Democrats was a brilliant move.
An excellent post by the Iron Blogger. Showing the many strong points that The Challenger failed to address was a great strategy. It gives a real sense of the strength of the IBDem's argument and the weakness of The Challenger's responses to many of those arguments.

Jim: Weak again. No real case is proven simply a recounting of assertions. And the first paragraph would have been better left unsaid, The Challenger really attacks the heart of his argument a lot better than he did the IB's.
Very well set up, point by point closure. My high school debate coach would be proud of the Iron Blogger. Could due without the gesturing to the judges and all in the begining though.

Johnny: The Challenger is again preaching to the CHOIR! He's making an assumption that because the other guy does not agree with him that he's accusing everyone opposed to gay marriage of being segratationists. The opening reads more like a Rush Limbaugh monologue than anything else. He is LOSING ME (as Rush does, among all radio hosts...and I like Michael Reagan by the way and even Michael Savage).
Brown nosing me with thanks won't influence my vote, but you're welcome! The Iron Blogger has a very good opening on what he said and how his opponent responded. He is not distorting it at all. He is stating fact. He is not spinning some kind of exaggeration about what his opponent believes. He is essentially going through a kind of mental checklist. Good stuff from Slate and good stuff at the end.
Well, now that we've heard from the Judges, all that remains is the Verdict, and it's coming up soon!

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