NDT 2000 Final Round Ballots
Affirmative: Iowa, Andy Peterson & Andy Ryan
Negative: Emory, Steven Bailey and Kamal Ghali
3-2 for the Aff.
(I do not have all the ballots yet and will add them as received)
Mike Hester, Director of Debate, State University of West Georgia
Two things would have made this round better:
1) Kamal going for the CP and case instead of T
2) Slappey taking pictures and crying on everyone.
that said, it was my honor and privilege to judge the last debate in the careers of four people who've done more to show me and the westga debaters how it's really done than i've been able to in my coaching (i.e., we talk after getting beat down by either of these two teams - "well, did you get their cites?...")
before i explain how i voted on T, i want to note that this round was a very good debate - given that 'new aff' rounds can easily dissolve into chaotic attempts by the neg to find an applicable arg. the CP was particularly inventive, and, based on Iowa's 2ac args, something that could have been exploited by the 2nr.
as for T, i vote aff based on the following three aff claims:
1) "all USAID programs are justified as promoting econ development." This argument was 2ac #1 (goals are not exclusive), #3(neg distinction is arbitrary), and #4(no ground lost). the 1ar answers emory's args about how iowa's budget counterinterp is unlimiting by noting that every item in the budget is defended by the USAID as promoting economic devt. the fact that both iowa's ev showing their plan aid is funded out of DA accounts and emory's ev about DA being for econ devt are from the same source (USAID webpage) seems to prove that emory's distinction between 'being in the budget' and 'being primarily for the purpose of econ devt' is a false one. there is never an example of any item that has ever been in a USAID budget that was NOT justified as "promoting econ devt." the items mentioned in emory's ev are claimed as absurd (like the airport in MN), but it's not clear that the USAID didn't defend that airport as being for economic reasons, especially in light of emory's own ev about how the USAID uses DA for economic development. In other words, the 1nc and 2ac interps seem functionally equivalent on some level - the USAID does DA for econ devt and defends its budget items as being for that purpose; examples of weird items in past budgets don't really refute this process.
the impact of this assessment is that the only part of the violation still standing after this distinction is broken down is "1ac must have an economy advantage for neg ground."
2)"this should be a link debate, not a T debate." 2ac #4(no ground lost) is extended by 1ar to answer emory's claim that they lose the ability to run args against econ devt (e.eg., the Devt K). 1ar extends #4 and says "this is a link debate, USAID ev proves neg can just read the budget as econ links. we're stuck with USAID good. better for education." The essential issue as i see it is "does the 1ac have to claim an economy advantage to be topical?" both 1nr and 2nr say "generic econ ground is better/good" but never warrant why that ground should be conceded in the 1ac rather than debated out, whereas 2ac/1ar explictly reject the interp of 1nc b/c it would preclude debates about non-economic areas of DA and b/c it limits the ground in an 'arbitrary' way.
this also where the crux of the debate could have been better developed by both sides. Emory is defending an interp that advantage ground is critical. iowa is defending an interp that plan ground is key, judge. when 2ac says "overlimits - we can't talk about health cases", emory should be more explicit in pointing out that there interp does not really limit out ANY plan action, so long as the 1ac claims an economy advantage. in theory, all of the abusive examples of budget items that emory lists to discredit the budget counterinterp would be topical according to emory's own interp, as long as aff defended such actions as promoting econ devt. that's why i find iowa's debate about arbitrariness so persuasive. Although iowa could have debated the plan ground vs. adv ground better, they do engage emory about the arbitrariness of the lines drawn by the 1nc violation.
3) "moving goalposts". 2ac #3 & #4 both speak to this issue. ultimately, iowa is way ahead on two key args - First, emory's interp is not grounded in anything other than their attempt to find ground. my #1 above explains how iowa wins the "econ goal distinct from budget category" debate. They are not distinct goals. emory says "budget category" is unlimiting, but iowa points out that everything in the budget is defended as being for
economic development. Second, the comparison of interpretive impacts on ground is decidedly in favor of iowa. 2ar correctly notes that the arbitrary nature of the 1nc violation flips back any ground issues. The c-x dialogically examined the moving goalposts arg: "How is it determined if the 'primary purpose' is to 'promote economic development'? "whose intent is being ascertained?" "Can a plan have multiple goals?"
emory's claim was that the political process screws up DA budgets, which end up including all sorts of wacky pork spending. iowa responds, and i agree, that while the PROCESS by which items are placed in the DA budget is 'arbitrary', the actual budgets (past and present) still provide the basis for an interp that is LESS arbitrary than emory's - which requires a debate about either A)did the aff have the INTENTION of running this case so as to primarily promote economic development or B)did the solvency authors INTEND to advocate the plan action 'primarily for the purpose of economic development'? as political as the budget process may be, the budget list is always clear - either the item has been funded as DA or it has not.
Decisions revolving around 'theory' debates are always tough, b/c the line between what is and ain't a 'new' argument are much harder to draw. Emory had a strategy that succeeded in persuading two of the five judges: make the 1nc violation as comprehensive as possible and then argue that rebuttal arguments by the aff are new and that the 2ac failed to effectively address the preempts. from my perspective however, the fact that the 1nc correctly predicted what the 2ac couterinterp would be only means the debate over interps starts earlier - NOT that the debate has been foreclosed. the 2ac covers the debate satisfactorily - refuting the distinctiveness of the inc interp (2ac #1), providing a counterinterp (2ac #2), dejustifying the 1nc interp as arbitrary(#4) and overlimiting(#5), and defending the counterinterp as being adequate for ground(#4). the 1nr defends the 1nc and refutes the 2ac and the game is on. i have no problem drawing a line from 2ac-to-1ar-to-2ar arguments, which is the one of two overview criteria provided in the 2nr. the other is "Don't let iowa say there case is big." that was never a claim of the aff, so it became moot as a way of delimiting 2ar arguments.
i vote aff b/c i'm more certain of why the 1nc interp would be bad for debate(it's arbitrary and not grounded in actual USAID programs of which health cases are a core area of action), than why aff interp is bad(for me emory loses it's claim that a budget category standard is impossible to debate).
as for uganda corruption, there's just not enough development in 2nr for this to be a winning strategy. in fact, the time spent on this in the 2nr would have been much more valuable if used to compare the aff and neg interps on T. this decision, and the decision not to go for the CP and the dropped case args read by the 2nc on the CP, were the only real mistakes by emory.
did La. high schools win every tournament in the mid 90's? based on the pleasure i've had judging kamal, andy ryan, and steven, i find it hard tobelieve that anyone outside of the Bayou had any success during their careers.
as for andy peterson, i have doubts about his loyalty to our country - he did spend a year in Formosa, for goodness' sakes.