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like alien v. predator, with WMDs

In a move that can only be described as insane, I'll be debating author Neal Pollack tomorrow night on the election, the war in Iraq and other important issues of the day. The online debate will be moderated by Dawn Olsen for Blogcritics and will be available for your perusal online soon after its conclusion at the Blogcritics site. I've never debated anyone before, except in blog comments, and a little prep work isn't out of the question. Neal is a formidable opponent. If anyone has advice for me, I'll take it.


Here's a quick summary I did a couple of months ago about the state of our findings of Iraq's WMD programs:


Feel free to use my instant leftist boilerplate to mock and confuse him.

Also, every time he starts sounding pedantic, just say "Bush lied for Oillllll."

Don't really have any advice. But I look forward to reading it after it's posted!

Do not underestimate the power of shock and awe!!

I just passed by Karl Rove down at VRWC headquarters, and he offered a few talking points. He asked me to forward them to you, so I did.

good luck!

my general all-purpose reply to Kerryite whiners is simple:

"Yeah, yeah,yeah ... look, if your guy can't beat George Bush, Karl Rove, and Evil Republicans, he doesn't deserve the job."

Sounds like Mr Pollack will trumpet the "no-ties-to-Islamic-terrorism-in-Iraq" garbage from the looks of his writings,so I suggest you double up on the following links to prepare yourself with facts reputing this ridiculous assertion.




I don't know if it'll work in this instance or not, but I think conservatives "defeat" liberals in debates most effectively by simply shutting up and letting the liberal speak. Your opponent might start out talking sensibly, presenting good points, but given enough time, he'll spin off into "Bush went AWOL" or "9/11 was rigged" or some other damn fool idea, and that'll pretty much be that.

The best way to demonstrate the idiocy of your average American liberal is to hand him a microphone.

(Again, prolly not applicable in this instance. But I contributed anyway. The important thing is that I'm meeting new people.)

The problem here is that Neal is far from an idiot. I don't think I ever debated an intelligent person before.

Hold me, I'm scared.

I don't think I ever debated an intelligent person before.


Good luck.

wow... debate 101 for geniuses! you are grounded in what you believe and why, and probably are familiar with what he believes, so that leaves demonstrating clarity and logic while dissecting his argument's lack thereof and feeding it back to him.

for your audience: consider the ethos, pathos and logos of your points; that is, how the people you want to reach view things practically and culturally (the moral aspects), what emotional response they might have to your position or choice of words and anecdotes, and the clarity (or accessibility) of your reasoning.

a few "gold quotes" put your audience in touch with sources they respect who agree with you and demonstrate that you're not thinking in a vaccuum. sources should be recognizable to a broad audience.

have a few "crucial questions" to insert into the discussion. these set the stage for clarifying your reason and your opponent's failure to see the whole issue.

anecdotes like the "gold quotes" mentioned above are virtually unimpeachable. the world is held sway by the empirical, but better so if it is valid, historically appropriate and high-profile.

you have probably gotten this kind of info, but it's my two cents from prepping conservative high-schoolers for JSA in a liberal environment (California). it never failed.

okay, then I clicked over to remind myself who this guy is. ick. maybe you should just step on it or use a can of Raid or something. the real concern is how/when he will launch the bizarro cheap-shot argument. hope you get something worthwhile said first. good luck!

Competitive shooters aren't allowed to use Valium, but you are. Staying as calm and cool as possible is key no matter how you do it; not only does it allow you to stay on-topic and spot the flaws in your opponent's argument more easily, if your opponent isn't as good at it as you are your relentless calm will make him increasingly angrier and more frustrated, and THAT will make him screw up. If he insults you or makes cheap emotionalistic shots, cheer- the more he does that and you don't, the more he discredits himself. Stay relentlessly logical no matter what inflammatory or ridiculous thing he says and you'll make him look like a tantrummy kid. Spock is your role model.

In my experience the second-biggest pitfall of real-time debates is this: one person can lie much faster than his opponent can debunk him. Make him stay on whatever topic he brings up until you've beaten it to death between you, DON'T let him play the "Yes, but what about this- (new ridiculous assertion)" game. This is much harder than it sounds. Keeping Google open, tabbed browsing, and good multitasking skills help a lot.

I personally don't like relying much on quotes. The previous commenter is right in that it scores points with the audience, but you can very easily get lost in a pointless briar patch of your authorities versus his authorities and the credibility of each. He gets much less wiggle room if you logic out the issues, though it makes a great delaying tactic if you're the one that needs some time to think. If the format of the debate allows one person to talk for a long time and then the other person, you are in serious trouble unless he's got a well-developed sense of fairness and intellectual honesty, due to the "lies are faster than truth" problem. If this is the case you're much better off attacking his position than bothering to defend your own.

I don't think I ever debated an intelligent person before.

Try a strategically-timed headbutt. :-)

Oh wait, this is an online debate. Drat.

Adding to labrat's comment about "keeping Google open", I'd suggest one better. You've got friends to call upon who can help you in the event you get stumped for a second.

Have some life-lines set up in advance, email, IM, etc., to those who will be following the debate and able to jump in in a moment of need.

You've got lots of intelligent friends. Take advantage of it.

Plus side is they will NOT be under pressure and much more likely to come up with "what you wished you'd said" on the spot.

If you think you're losing, post boobie pictures. Neal and the moderators will be too distracted to continue.

Be sure to have Arthur Chrenkoff's "Good News From Iraq" columns handy. One problem that we pro-liberation people now have is the empahsis on negative stories in MSM reports in Iraq. These stories are then used by the anti-liberation people to argue that Iraq has now become a fiasco. Be sure to cite the invidual stories in Arthur's columns and give the individual links but do not mention that you are using Arthur's columns as your source, as Neal might try to dismiss that source as biased, as if his sources were not biased in the opposite direction. Another good source is Iraqi blogs. Recent sources for these blogs can be found on Dean Esmay's site as the "Carnival of the Liberated." Finally, some of the writing and blogs of military people in Iraq will provide valuable information to help you. I can not think of a good single source for these blogs and articles off the top of my head. Hope that this helps and Good Luck!