[eDebate] Vote Domestic in 2008 a primary debate...

scott odekirk odekirk.scott
Thu Apr 24 13:11:54 CDT 2008

To be honest I usually pray that the topic process fails as badly as
possible, this is not to say that I do not appreciate the work that so many,
far more committed to the community than I, volunteer for the game, thanks
to Gordon and all of the contributors . However this year there seems to be
some very interesting areas that deserve some attention.

Though I initially supported Russia when I spoke with Calum at the end of
the year (I too share an aesthetic appreciation of Russia) I am now quite
sure that we should have a domestic topic, beyond that I know that there are
others who are more interested in the domestic areas however if we do not
start to develop a coalition for one or two of the domestic areas they will
not have a chance against Russia.

First a point about "the K ground:" K people are going to talk about cool K
arguments no matter how you craft the topic. There are infinite access
points to innovative K strats that are not based on the solvency mechanism
of the topic or even its area. Sorry but the topic process is not that
crucial to K folks doing K business. Anybody surprised that not too many
"radical K hippies" have posted about next year's topic?

Ok, the same is true of the "avert nuclear destruction with fiat" crowd:
people even figured out how to get to overnight nuclear war scenarios on the
legal topic for god's sake. We have seen these cases a lot (thankfully now I
even judge some of these teams): a plan is presented the substantive
solvency of which is largely irrelevant in light of the three perception
based nuclear war scenarios it averts. People read realism good advantages
against K teams while running a neoliberal internationalist plan simply
because the only advantages they claim seem to be realist, a war with iran,
leadership, etc.

And, we know how these two crowds are going to fight each other: "we don't
want to talk about this, framework!" this applies to both the devoted K
folks and the devoted Big Boom Fiat folks, the K people just call theirs a
"ballot framing." No topic can get rid of this debate, and many of you
lovely judges who have judged Idaho State all year have watched us in some
of these circumstances (you know who you are? MBK, Olney, Strange, Hester,
etc) the question is: will we make a topic that turns every K strat into
this type of strat? Will the topic turn every straight up strat into a Big
Boom Fiat strat?

The Russia topic produces too many of these two-ships passing in the night
scenarios because it makes nuclear extinction the mundane advantage
scenario, sure perception based nuclear scenarios can be quite beautifully
executed but this is the part of debate (not unlike "crazy ks") doesn't
challenge us to consider the other diverse ranges in which impact debates
could happen, perhaps on one of the proposed domestic topics we might be
able to debate whether individual rights trump the collective good, or maybe
the threat of disease outbreak versus freedom. It is pretty clear as one
reads the Russia topic paper (which I have) that this topic will make the
persistent and inflexible elements of debate the heart of the topic. Like it
or not debate is a game of impacts and no matter how well we argue for
morality, or oppression, or value to life judge, nuclear extinction is king
of all impacts. Knowing this, K debaters will choose Ks that ask questions
which precede or make irrelevant the evaluation of the advantage areas at
all (i.e. frame the aff our of the round). This will not change because as
the Russia proponents make very obvious "nuclear war is just the most
awesome-est impact ever dude!"

Perhaps it is time to test our calculative skills out on a different set of
questions. We too often focus on saving the world from destruction, but what
are we saving it for, the domestic topics offer a unique opportunity to
investigate fresh terrains of policy that will allow policy folks to
evaluate new types of plans not based solely on the demonstration of
international leadership and international perceptions, perhaps we should
have a debate about what the superior social model is. The nuclear
extinction impact debate is played out and don't worry, it isn't going to go
away. What should we do about health care? How should we change labor laws
in light of the changing economy? What the hell should we do about
education? Are these questions really outside the scope of a cool policy
topic for everybody's senior year?

People are going to get what they want out of every topic, and many of us
have already decided which set of impacts we'll be entering into the
discussion next year, admit it, there are just a certain set of impacts you
feel more comfortable centering the debate around, and frankly I do this a
ton, but while looking at the topic papers and I realized that the legal
topic was sweet, it was sandwiched between two topics which had two opposite
sounding terms: "pressure" and "constructive-engagement." These terms ended
up producing the same types of affs (along with the same type of debate
described above) complete with strong perception based war impacts as the
center impacts of the topic, but, there was the legal topic, remember that?
When all of the K teams were pretty topical, I mean at least they affirmed
in a petty straight forward way, remember that? We could even do better? the
domestic areas will inspire some new fresh debates about policies we should

Vote Domestic in 2008

Ok if you are down with a domestic topic, lets have a quick primary, we have
to get behind our dream ticket (maybe even a settled top 2) if we can so
that it can stand a chance against the weapons and Russia votes?

Health Care, Education, or Labor anyone?

Scott Odekirk
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