Blog Debate Begins Tomorrow

No, nobody will be throwing any punches. We’re much too polite for that. But throughout the month of August, Owen (a ban supporter) from Boots & Sabers and I will throw around some arguments in a blog debate over the ban.

Here’s how it will work: Every Friday of this month, Jenna (who is undecided on how she’ll vote) from Right off the Shore will pose a question.

On Monday evening, in 750 words or less, I’ll post my answer here. On Tuesday evening, Owen will post his response to his blog. Later that night he’ll write a short rebuttal to my response. And I will post my rebuttal on Wednesday. We'll repeat this format for four weeks, alternating who responds first.

We’ll lay out all the ground rules tomorrow when we officially commence the debate. So stay tuned, it should make for a fun month in the blogosphere.


At 11:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why are you entering into a debate with e GOP partisan with another GOP partisan as the moderator? There's no doubt that many Republicans oppose the amendment, but there's just as little of a doubt that this entire battle is in part an electoral ploy on behalf of GOP candidates in November.

Why don't you let a Democratic partisan ask questions as well? Otherwise you're just being set up.

At 2:52 PM, Anonymous Keith said...

Ingrid, I think this is an excellent idea! The more we talk about things ACCROSS sides, the better off we are. The YES folks have a few good emotional arguments, but they mostly falter on close, fact-based, scrutiny.

Anonymous, I think it's actually better that a GOP partisan is moderating. DEMS by and large frame debate in terms of freedoms and rights. That's fine when preaching to the choir. But the undecided folks will be more persuaded, I think, by the tough, pragmatic arguments about which the GOP obsesses.

We win if a NO vote means: strong families with access to private health care and pensions, low taxation for those families, and government that stays out of our lives.

We are rendered irrelevant if a NO vote means: freedom to be me.

Do I show my partisan colors? ;-)

At 5:04 PM, Blogger Ingrid Ankerson said...

Hi Anon,

I actually asked Owen & Jenna to participate, so hopefully I haven't set myself up!

But seriously, I don't really care what political party either of them affiliate with. I just wanted to include two well-respected bloggers-- one for the ban, and one undecided-- who are smart writers and knowledgeable about the issue.

At 9:58 PM, Blogger Chris said...

Ingrid since anon is so worried about GOP people asking questions I have a very easy question you can ask any of the Yes people.

Please give me one reason that is not based on religion why gay people should not be allowed to marry?


At 10:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jenna and Owen may be "well-respected" in some quarters, but profligacy does not equal quality. Try reading Jenna's blog and find something, anything, that reaches beyond partisan invective.

You're simply playing into their Fox News game and letting them set the terms with this one-sided debate. If it was the other way around, they would be screaming bloody murder, and eventually get themselves a greater share of representation in the conversation.

I'm not worried about the GOP bloggers asking people questions, I'm worried that an organizer for FW didn't consider playing ball on something like this from bloggers of both parties. You're playing a losing game in the long run, if you think either of those bloggers have as much passion about the issue as you as they do being partisans. No matter how much FW or anybody desires, it's obvious that the amendment was brought forward with partisan electoral intentions in mind.

Keith is playing the losing game here too by conceding that the other side has "tough, pragmatic arguments," particularly on this issue. FW's arguments on the second clause in the amendment has everything to do with pragmatism, and its lazy thinking to contend otherwise.

There's no problem with GOP participation, but not to include a second questioner who will frame things from a pragmatic FW perspective is a poor idea.

I thought FW was more sophisticated than this.

At 10:44 AM, Anonymous Eleanor T. said...

Let's wait and see how the debate unfolds. If the point of this is to expose undecided voters, especially GOP, to arguments against the ban I think having Jenna moderate will serve us well. She may be more likely to ask questions that these "fair minded" undecideds have on their own minds. We could always just stay on our blog and preach to the converted, but reaching into their turf demonstrates that we care more about the issue, have the desire to debate about it, and the confidence to step up. I would certainly not assume that Republicans are united on this issue. As you said, the ban is being used as "an electoral ploy on behalf of GOP candidates in November." Yes, but along with the disgruntled atmosphere of GOP politics today, I have confidence that this will come back to bite them in the ass.

At 11:06 AM, Blogger Jenna said...

Wow, I have to say...I'm surprised at you, Anon.

I was told that I was chosen to moderate this debate because I was undecided on this issue. At this moment, I still am. I am greatly hoping that this blog debate helps me make a decision.

As a very, very conservative person, I would think that groups like Fair Wisconsin would jump at the chance to persuade people like me over--after all, I am the classicly perfect vote for the amendment--but I haven't made up my mind.

I really wish, Anon, that you were more inclusive than your comment makes you appear. Ingrid has impressed me to no end with her civility and rationality. For that matter, Owen does as well.

Sorry you couldn't too.

At 11:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This "preaching to the converted" argument is simply a strawman, as assuming I think the GOP is united on the issue. They obviously aren't.

However, "reaching into their turf" should not mean letting a single partisan be the sole questioner in this kind of debate. You certainly can and should speak to your opponents, but that doesn't mean you should let them frame the issue.

The terms of this debate as they stand just reflects poor tactical thinking on the part of FW. I hope that the amendment will come back and bite its cynical promoters in the ass, but I also think that trusing Jenna to be anything other than a calculating partisan will come back and bite FW in the ass too. This debate isn't a big deal, but it's an example of the way advocacy NGOs let their opponents define the terms of the debate.

FW usually doesn't do that, so this just seems uncharacteristically dumb.

At 11:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's no problem with you serving as a moderator, Jenna, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't be the only one.

Others would argue that your civility and rationality are usually lacking, which is why you shouldn't be the sole person asking questions in this kind of debate. If you practiced what you preached, you would admit that the very thing I'm suggesting is inclusion, ie a second moderator.

At 11:28 AM, Blogger Joshua Freker said...

Anon - I don't get what the problem is. We have nothing to hide and nothing to fear. I firmly believe we gain every time we have an open and honest debate. Reason and compassion are on our side. It's critical to get more people talking, and I'm glad that Jenna and Owen are willing to have this discussion. I also believe basic fairness for gay people will become less and less of a partisan issue.

At 11:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who said you have anything to hide or fear? I'm simply saying that you're setting poor terms for your debate.

My whole point is that I don't trust your moderator to effectively create "an open and honest debate." Nor would I if it were only a very, very liberal person.

Asking a second person to field questions, one who isn't a partisan aligned with your debate opponent, isn't a big deal.

At 11:51 AM, Blogger Ingrid Ankerson said...

Well Anon, I disagree. I'm with Eleanor T.:

She may be more likely to ask questions that these "fair minded" undecideds have on their own minds.

Assuming that Jenna can't ask fair questions on this issue because she practices GOP politics is just shallow thinking.

We'll see what happens. But thanks for the little warm-up to the debate.

At 12:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did you just skip over the part where I wrote that the GOP is obviously divided on the amendment? I'm not assuming that she can't ask fair questions because of her GOP affiliation, I'm suggesting that she won't do so considering the typical tone and ideological assumptions she adopts on her blog.

Nobody has commented on why a second questioner couldn't be added. But hey, if you want to set up a debate where the sole moderator shares partisan affiliation with your opponent for a debate over a ballot item that is clearly intended to be a GOTV wedge, that's your prerogative.

We can agree to disagree, but I now understand more clearly the recent online criticisms of self-defeating tactics practiced by civil rights advocacy organizations in electoral matters. This is a very minor but clear example.

At 2:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wouldn't go so far as to say that Jenna and Owen ar well respected in the blogosphere...

Anyway, its a neat idea and its good that you're trying new ways to get the word out.

At 2:21 PM, Anonymous Keith said...


As a fellow "very very conservative" I'm glad for your moderation!

Perhaps I should rephrase my comment about a "tough and pragmatic" GOP. Fair Wisconsin has been doing a great job, especially in recent weeks, of taking that very tone! It will win voters.

By saying these, I don't mean to imply that FW are Republicans. Most, I suspect, are not. But they realize that undecided Wisconsinites are largely unpersuaded by traditional activist civil rights language.

At 3:39 PM, Anonymous k2aggie07 said...

If Anon is allowed to imply that Jenna can't see past her "political invective" enough to be trusted to ask reasonable questions in a debate purely because of his judgement of her character, I should be just as right in implying that homosexuals can't be trusted with the weight of marriage due to my judgement of their character.

Are we four now, that someone can't play devil's advocate?

At 4:42 PM, Blogger Shane said...

That's not an apt comparison. They are both opinions based on judgments of someone's character but that's about the only similarity between the two situations.

How does judgment of character factor into whether or not someone should be allowed to marry? It obviously doesn't because people like Brittany Spears can get married. The law really says nothing about the character of people getting married.

On the other hand, judgment of character factors into whether or not you think someone will be a fair debate moderator.

At 9:56 PM, Anonymous suz said...

Anon, I don't get it. Do you think there's an undecided liberal out there blogging on this? I highly doubt it. I've been reading this blog and a lot of others for some time now. I've never seen anyone on the left half of politics say they weren't sure how they were voting on the amendment.

At one point in time I remember listening to a podcast Jenna and some other people did on the issue-- it was very good. If anyone has a link to it, you should post it. She is seriously struggling with which way to vote. Personally, I think this is THE perfect moderator.

Good luck Ingrid!


At 11:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Like I said, if FW wants to set up a debate where the moderator shares broad ideological and partisan objectives with their opponent on an issue that's serving as a classic electoral wedge, that's their prerogative.

Doesn't mean it's a good idea, though.

That's nice you think Jenna's podcast was very good. I happen to think she's a textbook example of somebody who puts partisanship over intellectual consistency.

Doesn't mean it's not a losing political game in the long run.

So what if most liberals are already opposed to the amendment? Why should FW put itself in a situation where the debate is being framed by a person who is tightly aligned with those pushing for the ban. That's just dumb politics, and whether or not FW likes it, politics is a game they're playing now.

Like I've said multiple times, the more the merrier. Nobody, let me repeat that, nobody has offered a rational much less compelling reason that a second questioner/moderater couldn't be added to this faro table.

At 2:29 AM, Blogger displaced ched head said...

A clear and seperate site would be the optimal venue for this. What blog do I have to visit to track this debate?

At 10:04 AM, Blogger Shane said...

Check later this week for a post tracking the debate and for continuing coverage as it goes on.


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