Blog Debate: Question 1

The groundrules and the first question of this debate are now posted at Right off the Shore.

I'll post my response here in 750 words or less on Monday at 5pm.


At 1:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought "gay marriage amendment" was an inaccurate and incomplete description, FW, one that you encourage your supporters not to use.

Looks like things are being framed against the FW perspective right off the bat in this debate, though that's hardly a surprise given the terms you established for it.

Look at Charlie Sykes' condescending comments. To him, "civility" means the terms of the debate are being set by his ideological ally. He may come out against the amendment in the end, but he's approaching the issue in a coy way that just screams political positioning for November, something likely to be unhelpful for those working against the amendment, not to mention broader civil rights.

Please think these things through more in the future.

At 1:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We're rooting for you, Ingrid! Go get 'em!

At 2:04 PM, Anonymous Keith said...

I agree that calling it the "gay marriage" amendment sets the wrong tone.

However, note that the question is framed in terms of the EFFECT it will have on Wisconsin. Fact is, there is no effect to gay marriage, since that is already illegal here.

And, to make the point, the question specifically required the debaters to address the SECOND SENTENCE.

Relatively balanced. Let's hope that Ingrid and what's-his-name keep that spirit. Go get 'em!

At 10:07 PM, Anonymous Suz said...

Seriously Anon, get over yourself. Everyone calls this the "marriage amendment" even though that's obviously not what it should be called.

I've even seen a lot of people on the NO side calling it this just because they don't know better. Newspapers call it this all the time. This doesn't put Ingrid at a disadvantage at all!

Why are you so skeptical? Why can't you just get behind this campaign and this debate?

I just read Owen's post about how HE's at a disadvantage, and I think he's right. I don't know how to make the link, but here it is:

And anyway, don't you think it's good that Ingrid will be able to post her arguements no matter what the question is?

The NO side has such better arguments anyway. I'm looking forward to watching this debate unfold!

At 10:10 PM, Anonymous suz said...

One more thing I forgot to say: I bet usually people who are moderators for this type of issue are on our side. I saw the debate last year between the two marriage guys (Wolfson someone and someone from Focus on the Family) and the moderator was obviously a liberal.

I bet it's hard to find undecided moderators.

I'm going to start commenting more.. this is fun!

At 11:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If Owen think's he's has time and motivation disadvantage because his opponent is a paid advocay staff, he's right. That has absolutely no bearing, however, on the fact that the organization of the debate favors those pushing the amendment via its selection of its sole moderator. I'll say it again: the amendment is in large part a political wedge issue intended to drive GOTV efforts for statewide GOP candidates, all of whom are in support of the amendment. By setting up a debate where the moderator is a partisan in tight alignment with these candidates (not to mention the debate opponent), FW is placing itself at a disadvantage in terms of defining the debate.

It's dumb, and it's a reflection of the current political pathology that places superficial civility over basic notions of fairness. Seriously, read Jenna's or Owen's constant comments about their political opponents and tell me, anybody, that their invocations of "hippies", "socialists", "communists", or whatever archaic label du jour they select has any relation to sincere civility.

I bet it's hard to find undecided moderators too. FW should have tried harder.

At 9:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

what is GOTV ?

At 9:41 AM, Blogger Ingrid Ankerson said...

GOTV = Get out the vote

At 10:47 AM, Anonymous suz said...

Ok, I can kind of see where you're going, Anon. I think you're arguing that by asking two GOP's to participate it's like saying FW supports their GOP beliefs and/or candidates?

You've made it abundantly clear that your main concern here is that there is only one moderator. Personally, I think it's fine since Jenna's so clearly undecided. I also think it's a smart move by FW to reach out to Republicans-- isn't this where they're going to find enough NO voters to tip the scales this November? And I think Jenna's question was VERY fair.

I'm no political expert. But I do follow the news closely and vote in every election. I think this ban is a VERY different thing than voting for a candidate. I know it's a partisan ploy to drive conservatives to the poll. Everyone knows this! I think it's smart that they're reaching to the very group of people who are expected to vote YES and helping them see why this ban is bad-- and in many ways goes against what Republicans believe in.

Defeating this will show Republicans that this wedge issue is spent. That it's time to stop putting gays in the crossfire.

Please don't tell me again you think they should have found a second moderator. I wonder though-- are you a political expert or something? Why are you going as Anonymous? What blog do you write for?

And then lets stop arguing. This kind of bickering is exactly why Democrats are getting pulled under the riptide of Right-wing politics.

At 12:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

No, I'm not arguing that at all, I'm saying that FW made a poor decision to set up a debate where their chosen moderator is very closely aligned in ideology, politics, (lack of) civility, and short term electoral objective with their opponent. I applaud FW's efforts to reach out to Republicans, but to invite a political operative (Jenna is a College Republican, a high profile blogger and a party activist who just met the president) to solely frame the debate is pretty thoughtless.

Her question wasn't fair at all in that its first few words inaccurately characterized the amendment. And sorry, I'm not a partisan Democrat or political expert or whatever. But I am behind this campaign, hence the criticism. The riptide of right-wing politics isn't drowning our freedoms and livelihoods because we bicker, it's doing so because those persons and organizations who are supposed experts give cede ground to their opponents because they're afraid of being called incivil or some other such working the ref-style silliness. Just like FW did here.

And yes, FW should have, still should find a second moderator.

At 8:03 AM, Anonymous Keith said...

I think it's a bit funny that everyone assumes that the amendment will work to GOTV for Republican-leaning folks, i.e. folks who support the ban.

Supporters of the ban have no stake in this at all.

Opponents have everything at stake, namely, our families' financial well-being and stability.

If the amendment gets out anyone's vote, it will be people with a stake in the fight, i.e. OPPONENTS of the ban. And opponents tend to be Democrat-leaning.

At 11:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yep, FW is getting played. What has the moderator said in the past about the gay marriage amendment, no the Defense of Marriage Act, no whatever they're calling it these days?

The moderator wrote: "However, in Texas, voters chose to protect the sanctity of marriage and voted to constitutionally ban gay marriage. They have become the 19th state to do so, and Wisconsin should follow in their footsteps. This does, however, counter a vote in Maine to leave a law in place regarding discrimination against gays, transsexuals, and transvestites". (source)

That's not enough for you? Here's more.

The moderator wrote that an interview with Juliane Appling of the FRI-WI "is an excellent overview of the truth behind the constitutional proposal to ban same-sex marriage". (source)

The moderator criticized "anti-Defense of Marriage folks" for opposing the amendment when it was still in the Legislature. (source)

If you want to hear it right from the moderator's mouth, she talks about the amendment in a podcast where she invokes insurance fraud and a slippery slope argument as reasons for supporting it.

Listen to the whole thing.The best quote: "If we start approving of acts that were deviant at one time, where's it going to stop? What's going to stop anyone twenty years from now from saying that incest is wrong?" (source)

Case Closed.

FW, you need a second moderator for this debate to be anything more than a sham.

At 12:55 PM, Blogger Todd said...


You're ascribing too much importance to the moderator. In a television setting, sure, the questions matter immensely. Here, with time to think and draft, the bias of a question (if any) provides a useful opportunity to stage one's argument.

I take Jenna at her word that she's undecided. I agree that the quotations you use above show that, in the past, she favored the ban. But it's precisely because people like Jenna are reading the language of this amendment, thinking twice about what previously may have been an easy "yes," and remaining undecided that we're going to win in November. The direction for undecideds time and again has been towards a "no" vote.

Finally, I'm not so sure a Republican who favors the ban for merely partisan, GOTV purposes cares one way or the other about the actual vote. Heck, if it goes down this time, yet nevertheless turns Republican voters out to the polls, then partisans have the advantage of putting forward a scaled back version in 2008 -- yet again bringing those voters to the polls.

Ultimately, however, you make a mountain out of a molehill. And by referring to Ingrid and others there by such needless terms as "dumb" you demonstrate why they're making the calls on this campaign and you're not.

At 6:46 PM, Anonymous Caution! said...

I agree with Anon.
Don't splinter the community, Todd, by attacks from within.
Dumb is not all that strong a word, and besides it referred to a decision, not to Ingrid.

I agree with Anon. The happy shiny approach works will allies, volunteers and in the church communities you visit. Don't let it soften you to this fight though.

Why is it so wrong to ask for a balanced panel -- one of theirs, one of ours. One non-decided "very very conservative" and one non-decided "very very liberal". (Yes there are undecided liberals. Too bad you couldn't have found someone in the age demographics represented by the grandparents and parents featured here before. Someone Democratic and liberal, yet still not all gung ho, but perhaps reluctantly supporting the amendment.) Your last line about how "they" are in charge is weak. We all have something to lose here.

Setting up an imbalanced debate, just because you are convinced you are convinced of the goodness of others, or because you are going to win it, is silly. Especially if you've read Jenna's blog and how that young mind works. (no offense).

Please be more cautious in future plans; some people have more to lose here than others, so it's not just about you.

At 7:00 PM, Blogger Jenna said...

I really don't want to get into this, but I'm just going to respond to Anon's quotes he found from me.

First of all--wow. You got a lot of time on your hands.

Second, Todd, I believe, was exactly right. At one time, I was fully in support of this ban. Now I'm not. Not by any means. A lot of things have happened that have made me rethink my position. And now I'm not so sure. This blog debate is a chance for me to make up my mind fully. And, anon, I'm assuming you are against it--this is your opportunity to persuade me. I would think you would rather do that then spend your time flinging personal attacks against me.

As for the podcast, those are reasons I am still undecided. Why didn't you quote any of the reasons I gave for voting against the ban? I believe I said: It's none of the government's business. I believe I said that: If the government were trying to intervene in my life that much, to that degree, I wouldn't be too happy about it either, by any means.

Why didn't you include those quotes???

I realize you are attempting to portray me as a hardline partisan--and I'm not going to deny that I am a conservative.

But that doesn't mean I have already made up my mind about the amendment, and am "pretending" to be undecided in order to attack Ingrid or FW from within. That's ridiculous.

And "caution," I can't understand why you are going to discriminate or assume things about me based on my age--I thought we were all anti-discrimination by now?

At 9:11 PM, Blogger David Schowengerdt said...


Yes, wow, there sure is a lot of activity going on here. Way too much for me to digest right now. But, I do believe that you are honestly considering this issue in a profound way, and that's great.

All I can add is that I married my partner two years ago in Canada, and it was most amazing experience of my life. It's brought me a sense of security, stability and spirituality that I could not have had otherwise, and it's brought both of us closer to our families. But regardless of how wonderful it's been in many respects, I have anxiety each and every day due to a sense of emotional and legal vulnerability. It's so hard knowing that my spouse is not my next of kin and vice versa. All of this takes a toll on me at work and with those that I love, and I long for the day when I can just focus on all the wonderful things that are a part of being married to the person I intend to spend the rest of my life with.

At 9:13 PM, Anonymous caution! said...

Plus, Anon. is absolutely right about Republicans using this to get out the vote for Gov. Green.

That's why it was purposely planned to go through the Leg. when it did (instead of earlier) and timed specifically for the governor's election. Anon. may not be a poltico, but maybe a professor or a wiser older owl.

Please please, even if it is your nature to be friendly and trusting, don't give anything away. Argue this thing as if lives depended on it, they do -- and beware of those who seem to be tolerable and might even agree to your face to vote no. Anon. is right. Get more serious about winning, and don't let them fix this thing anymore than they have already. It's a constitutional amendment, and some dogs don't change all that easy. Better no publicity than publicity that protects the sanctity, etc etc. A nice Yes is still a yes.

At 9:17 PM, Anonymous caution! said...

"First of all--wow. You got a lot of time on your hands."

We've got a lot at risk here to fight for, Jenna. It's not just a career stepping stone, something we can put on our resumes as a high-profile debate. Please agree to a second moderator.

A constitutional amendment is long term. It takes the decision making away from future voters. Courts will be asked to interpret that second sentence.

Leave it to the people to govern themselves in years to come and vote against this amendment now. It's democracy to leave things to the people and out of courtrooms.

At 9:19 PM, Anonymous caution! said...

"I would think you would rather do that then spend your time flinging personal attacks against me."

He quoted your own words and was very civil. That is not an "attack".

The words used in this debate will subtly influence. Beware.

At 9:23 PM, Anonymous caution! said...

"I can't understand why you are going to discriminate or assume things about me based on my age--I thought we were all anti-discrimination by now?"

Please explain, using my words, how I "discriminated against you".

I read your blog, and your views on many topics seem young to me. Anon.'s view seemed a bit more seasoned. That is not discrimination in any way.

It is also not hostile to object to the one moderator setup based on your vouching for your own open-mindedness, and disclaiming words you wrote earlier. How about taking them down if you no longer believe in what you wrote about sanctitity, etc.?

At 9:53 PM, Anonymous pat said...

I agree with anon and caution!, Fair Wisconsin, and ask that you consider adding a second (liberal) moderator to your discussion. Wake the hell up!

Here's hoping that Tuesday's CT primary will show the namby-pamby libs out there that the core of the Democratic party is sick to death of their leaders cow-towing to conservatives in a naïve attept to be 'fair and balanced,' or 'open'. How many times do we have to be stabbed in the back before we learn to not turn our backs in the first place?

I grew up in a very conservative area of the state and can say with absolute certainty that this failure/passage of this amendment will not hinge on whether a conservative who lives in Madison changes her mind (gasp!) but on how you approach the selling of your argument. Referring to this proposed law as the 'gay marriage amendment' is not only a tell on Jenna's part, but it's also a calculated ploy used by the right to sway the vote in their favor.

To the more small-minded Wisconsin residents, this amendment is about one thing and one thing only: HOMOSEXUALITY. It's a dirty, dirty word out in the sticks, and that kind of attitude is not something you're going to change before this vote.

Get rid of Jenna or better yet choose a counter-weight to her. Change the debate from 'fair' to 'individual rights.' Republicans don't care about fairness, it's not in their nature.

This is not a high school debate class. So I'm sorry, Todd, if I do not share your view about how anon is 'making a mountain out of a molehill.' The framing of the debate is going to affect the outcome of it. That outcome will affect the vote. And that vote will affect MY family. So I take it seriously and I'm glad other people are as well.

And Jenna, you seem to think that once you step in to liberal cyberspace that you will be surrounded by people who will accept you for who you are, or other such nonsense. I read your blog when I need a good laugh and I know where you really stand and how you will vote once the metaphorical curtains are drawn.

I am only to happy to criticize you and 'discriminate against' you because you regularly employ the same tactics with others.

At 10:17 PM, Blogger Todd said...

There is no "outcome" here, except in the impressions each individual reader takes from Ingrid and Owen's responses. There is no jury. There is no winner and loser.

There is only an opportunity for each side to present its case.

The responses are 750 words. The question provides a starting point for discussion. The effectiveness will come in the case -- the arguments and the evidence -- and will not hinge on the question itself.

At 10:49 PM, Anonymous pat said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 10:06 AM, Blogger Ingrid Ankerson said...

The spirited discussion is fun, but direct attacks on anyone do not belong here. I'm going to moderate comments for a while.

I would also like to remind everyone that Fair Wisconsin is a non-partisan organization. It's true that this ban made it to the ballot for partisan reasons, but let's step back for a minute and look at the participants as individuals, not as party representatives. One of us is for the ban, one of us against it, and one is undecided.


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