Sunday, February 1, 2009

Emory HS: Round 3: CR Wash Aff v. Gulliver Prep Neg

Round 3: Cedar Rapids Washington v. Gulliver Prep

NEG: Gulliver Prep.

I really enjoyed this round; it confirmed my intuition that impact turn debates aren’t particularly strategic for the affirmative but make debates better by forcing clash. I consciously elected to award high points to reward intricate line by line clash that provides a useful contrast with robotically scripted and only approximately responsive rebuttals. Every debater in the room did at least one unusually smart thing, although no one was flawless.

CRWashington’s ahead on risk analysis. The 2NR neglects any comparison between the case and the disad at his peril. He escapes peril in this case, however, because there’s simply no appreciable solvency deficit to the feed-in tariff counterplan.

The affirmative assertions of a solvency deficit, generally don’t derive from evidence and have to compete with good, if underhighlighted, negative evidence. I strongly suspect that this Gipe evidence would be much better as one long card instead of several 1-2 line cards – you aren’t billing by the card here, folks. It’s good, though. It makes an explicit comparison between production tax credits and a feed-in tariff.

Paternalism and trust doctrine deficits receive the most airplay in the 2AR. However, I can’t isolate a particular piece of evidence which provides a unique (or, indeed, any) warrant for tying those concepts to a production tax credit. Washington’s evidence here provides a general link to economic self-determination, but no basis for comparison between these two mechanisms. Perhaps I’m missing something, but my reading of all the evidence leads me to believe that Gulliver really has the goods here. Washington solves many of the problems with the previously cyclical character of the production tax credit – but Gulliver’s cards incline me to believe that some of the perceptual problems can’t easily be addressed. It’s better to wipe the slate clean and start with a new mechanism entirely, given the potential sedimentation of negative investor perception. A feed-in tariff would also apparently better distribute resources within Native American communities as well, whereas production tax credits seem to accrue with the most privileged members of that community; only some have already built up enough capital to merit taxation.

This evidence evaluation compels me to two conclusions about the affirmative’s strategic choices. I’ll start from the premise that you sensed trouble here coming out of the 1NC.

First, the choice to straight impact turn in the 2AC was smart. Secondly, the choice to emphasize the case to the exclusion of deep development on the disad in the 2AR, while well executed, was suboptimal. I think you should have ditched the case vs. counterplan debate entirely. It’s served its function – you need to narrow this debate to a winnable point of offense, and the cards are more even on prolif than they are on the solvency deficit debate.

Time pressure resolves most of the impact turn debate on prolif. I don’t have a clear extension of this opaque prolif story in the 1AR. Gulliver doesn’t either. There’s even some internal controversy on this subject among the Wash debaters in the postround. Even if the argument’s in, I default to the specificity of their internal link – the Proliferation Security Initiative’s qualitatively different from the generic “proliferation control” presumed by CR Washington’s creaky old impact turns. Superior time allocation gives the 2NR space for substantive development on bounded rationality and the increased risk of accidents. I ultimately vote negative on risk of accidents outweighs the near-zero risk of a solvency deficit. Militarism might show some promise, but receives half a sentence of development as the timer expires. That explanatory gap compels me to default to the 2NR’s link explanation; proliferation probably increases militarism.

Good round overall. The crucial big-picture decisions come from the 2NR, when he intelligently elects to use the permutation to kick out of one impact turned disad (the 1AR enables this) and the 2AR, when she elects to devote the bulk of her speech to a solvency deficit on which she’s fighting at an evidentiary disadvantage.